Condo owners face separate issues, different sets of rules

Article Courtesy of the Sun Sentinel

By Joe Kollin

Published January 29, 2006


Condominium owners have separate issues from single-family homeowners. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Q: Can you move forward with your unit repairs if the overall building is still being fixed?
A. Yes, as long as there is no interference or overlap with the association's contractors, says Florida Condominium Ombudsman Virgil Rizzo.

Q. How can you check on your building's repairs without incurring the disfavor of the board?

A: The board is obligated to keep unit owners posted, and it should not discourage requests for information unless members cannot really answer questions because of their lack of knowledge, according to Rizzo.

Q: What recourse do you have if you're dissatisfied with the association's assessments for repairs?

A: Only what is provided for in each association's declarations. A majority of owners can recall the directors and replace them, Rizzo says.

Q: Why can't my association get a grant from FEMA to fix the roof and other commonly owned property?

A: Associations were only eligible for Small Business Administration low-interest loans. Individuals were eligible for grants from FEMA. Both agencies have extended their deadlines for applications to Jan. 31.

Q: Should my board begin assessing me a little more each month so we will have money in the bank for the next emergency?

A: That's up to a majority of your neighbors. According to state law, every board must maintain a reserve unless, by majority vote every year, owners agree to waive it. If you want a reserve, don't vote against it, or don't even put the question on the ballot, Rizzo says. If you don't want to maintain a rainy-day fund, put the question on the ballot and vote to waive it.