Spanish-speaking aide answers queries

at condo ombudsman's office


Article Courtesy of the Sun Sentinel

By Joe Kollin
Posted November 9 2005


Residents can now get their condo questions answered in Spanish.

Florida Condominium Ombudsman Virgil Rizzo has hired a bilingual assistant for his South Florida office because "we found that some people are more comfortable speaking Spanish, and we don't want to exclude them," he said. "We welcome all calls."

The state created Rizzo's office last year to mediate disputes, monitor elections, answer questions, and educate condo owners and directors.

Rizzo in September opened his first office outside Tallahassee in the North Broward Regional Service Center at 1400 W. Commercial Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale. It deals with owners in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties.

The office phone number is 954-202-3234.

Even when he only had a Tallahassee office and long-distance telephone number, his office received about 4,000 calls during the three months ending June 30, according to his quarterly report.

The office can also be reached by e-mail at [email protected]

Rizzo, a retired Fort Lauderdale physician and attorney, said his staff tries to respond to each call within 24 hours. The office by law only deals with condo associations. Legislators next year said they will try to provide a similar service for residents in homeowner associations, where the issues are often the same.