Finally, Florida has condo rules that make sense

Article Courtesy of The Sun Sentinel


Published May 2, 2008 


It's sad that Big Brother has to prescribe a code so people in condominium and homeowner associations will know how to be neighborly. But, indeed, that's what it has come to.

The House and Senate have approved legislation detailing best practices for condo and HOA boards. The bills are chock-full of sensible rules and guidelines, and Gov. Charlie Crist would be right to sign them into law, as expected.

The legislation culminates years' worth of attempts by Tallahassee to deal with sordid disputes between associations and their residents. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board opposed previous attempts because the antidotes offered in Tallahassee would have resulted in more mayhem.


This session's bills, however, contain features that make sense. Management companies hired by condo groups would have to be licensed, co-owners of a unit would not be able to serve on the same board and directors accused of embezzling money would be suspended from their boards. For HOA boards, a House-approved bill would require new directors to read the association's rules within 30 days of taking office and, settling a flinty dispute, both the House and Senate have OK'd legislation designating size specifications for flags flown by residents.

Pretty practical and sensible stuff. You're probably wondering why such guidelines weren't on the books in the first place.

Remember, we're talking about condo and HOA boards here. No further explanations needed.

Lawmakers sponsoring and advocating these bills, including Rep. Julio Robaina, R-Miami, said they addressed many complaints raised by residents at hearings earlier this year.

No one doubts there's a problem with condo and HOA board governance. There have been too many instances of overzealous boards, and too many examples of residents who should never have moved to a board-governed community in the first place.

Until people make smarter decisions about where they move to, those disputes will continue to emerge. Perhaps these new rules will improve governance in the meantime.

BOTTOM LINE: The legislation includes many sensible rules.