Web site aims to educate Florida

condo owners about their rights


Article Courtesy of the Sun Sentinel

By Joe Kollin
Posted December 6, 2005


Condo owners and directors who want to ask a question, file a complaint or learn their rights and responsibilities can now do it on the Internet.

Florida Condo Ombudsman Virgil Rizzo on Monday unveiled a Web site to help him and his staff interact with the more than 4.4 million Floridians living in 1.1 million condo units.
The state created the office of ombudsman last year to help mediate disputes between owners and boards, educate owners and directors and make recommendations to the governor and Legislature for new state laws. The office handled about 11,000 requests and complaints during the first nine months of this year.

The Web site is designed only for condo owners and won't help residents in communities governed by homeowners associations. Although problems are similar in both, the state has refused to provide a similar source for the associations.

Rizzo said the Web site is still in early development and "every day, additions are being made."

Jan Bergemann of Deland, president of Cyber Citizens for Justice, sees the Web site as an inexpensive but effective way of helping owners and board members.

Cyber Citizens is a statewide organization that led the fight last year to get the state to create the office of ombudsman.

Rizzo has been steadily increasing the services his office offers. Earlier this year he obtained a Broward County phone number so residents wouldn't have to call long-distance to Tallahassee; opened an office in Fort Lauderdale to help residents in the tri-county area; and hired a Spanish-speaking employee.