by the Florida Legislature in 2004, the Condominium Advisory Council consists
seven members. The implementing legislation, Chapter 2004-345, Laws of
that two members shall be appointed by the President of the Senate, two
by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and three members by the
At least one member appointed by the Governor is to represent timeshare
The members are appointed for two year terms, except that one of the
initially appointed by the Governor, the President of the Senate and the
of the House of Representatives shall each serve one year terms. The
of the Division of Florida Land Sales, Condominiums, and Mobile Homes
as an ex officio nonvoting member. The Council is located within the Division
purposes. Carol Windham, Government Analyst I, serves as
support staff for the Council.
Council meets at the call of the chair and the vice chair and such other
officers as it
deem advisable. A majority of the Council constitutes a quorum and action may
by a vote of a majority of the voting members who are present at a meeting
is a quorum.
functions of the Advisory Council are to:
Receive, from the public, input regarding issues of concern with respect to
and recommendations for changes in condominium law. The issues that
the Council shall consider include, but are not limited to, the rights and
of the unit owners in relation to the rights and responsibilities of the
Review, evaluate, and advise the Division concerning revisions and adoption of
Recommend improvements, if needed, in the education programs offered by the
ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS
ADAMS, Attorney -- Appointed by the Speaker of the House
ANDREW, Attorney – Appointed by the Governor
COCHRAN, Director, Division of Florida Land Sales,
and Mobile Homes (ex officio)
DUNBAR, Attorney – Appointed by the Senate President
FOWNER, CAM – Appointed by the Speaker of the House
GEISLER, Consumer Advocate – Appointed by the Governor
GOTTLIEB, Consumer Advocate – Appointed by the Governor
WEAN, Attorney – Appointed by the Senate President
Adams served as Council Chair during 2005. Mr. Dunbar will serve as Chair
Mr. Andrew will serve as Vice Chair during 2006. Two former members also
during 2005; Tom Sparks, CAM, who was appointed by the Speaker of the
and Mark Benson, CAM, who was appointed by the Senate President and
as Vice Chair during 2005.
with its charge to gather public input, the Council conducted eight public
throughout Florida between January 6, 2005, and December 6, 2005. There
three meetings conducted in Tallahassee, one in Panama City, one in Orlando,
in Dania, one in Miami, and one in Ft. Myers. The meetings in Panama City,
and Ft. Myers had the fewest attendees while the meetings in Miami and Dania
the most attendance with approximately 85 and 75 attendees respectively. The
number of attendees at the meetings was approximately 186. The Council also
from Division staff, and reviewed documents provided by the Division, and the
including the Division’s regular quarterly report to the Legislature which
by law in the 2003 session.
and large the majority of the public input indicates that there are no unique
issues regarding condominium living or the quality of life in this type of
Indeed, the concerns expressed by the public do not differ substantially
those expressed to the 1991 Condominium Study Commission created by the
Legislature or to the 1996 Division of Florida Land Sales, Condominiums and
Homes Study, commissioned by the 1995 Legislature. Consistent with the
of Florida Land Sales, Condominiums and Mobile Homes quarterly report to the
public testimony from unit owners generally dealt with issues involved with
condominium living. Those who voiced complaints generally had issues with
way their elections were conducted, access to records, problems working with
of directors, or financial issues. However, these complaints viewed in their
not suggest to the Council, as a general matter, that there are serious
to the quality of condominium living in Florida. Indeed, as a matter of
over 19,000 residential condominium associations, there will always be those
who didn’t get access to records in a timely manner, an election which
or a board that doesn’t do a good job managing the condominium’s fiscal
However, the Council believes such occurrences are the exception and not the
Moreover, as one might logically conclude, the bulk of these concerns emanate
Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach Counties, where most of Florida’s
population is located.
importantly, in the context of the Council’s receipt of the foregoing public
and subsequent discussion, the Council has identified eleven specific
some of which will require legislative action. The most important of
concern enhancement of educational opportunities for unit owners and board
the role of the Ombudsman, post turnover jurisdiction of condominiums, and
board powers. In sum, the Division needs to expand educational
and request necessary appropriations if warranted. The legislature needs
clarify the role of the Ombudsman and emphasize his or her role as a neutral
than an enforcer of condominium law, and provide specific powers rather than
“all powers necessary” language of the present law. In the aftermath of
of unprecedented hurricane seasons, boards need specific statutory emergency
to deal with such disasters. Finally, as a matter of policy, the Legislature
consider the continued advisability of having the state involved at all in
to day operations of a residential condominium, regarding non-financial
the condominium comes under the control of a duly elected unit owner board of
Existing resources within the Division’s Bureau of Compliance could be
in providing education and alternative dispute resolution instead of
Having both parties present in a proceeding under the supervision of a
or arbitrator to argue the merits of their claims offers a much better
customer satisfaction than the more coercive investigative approach which
Division in the position of policeman, judge, and jury.
Council has taken a position on the following provisions of the laws governing
Additionally the Council determined that it should comment on current
proposals that did not originate in the Council.
Emergency Board Powers
The Council finds that in times of catastrophic emergency, the current
the Condominium Act are inadequate to guide board members and unit owners.
The Council recommends that emergency powers include the ability to use
reserves for purposes other they were than intended if so authorized in the
The Council recommends approval of emergency powers legislation as attached.
Duties of Directors
The Council finds that the current provisions of the Condominium Act are
to provide volunteer board members with guidance regarding the standards
which they must carry out their duties.
The Council recommends amending chapter 718, F.S. to more clearly reflect the
of directors as attached.
The Council finds that substantial concerns have been expressed regarding
reserves in both the conversion and non-conversion settings, and that further
study is required.
Division Educational Programs
The Council finds that existing educational opportunities are good, but
limited in the
current framework. The Council recommends that the Division and the Ombudsman
explore opportunities to significantly expand their educational mission.
The Council recommends that the Division be granted authority to review and
education and training programs for board members and unit owners that
are offered by providers, that the Division shall maintain a current list of
programs, and make the list available in a reasonable and cost effective
The Council recommends that DBPR official communications to an association
be officially noted in the minutes during the association’s next board
The Council finds that some of the State Attorneys may not have procedures in
place to handle criminal complaints relating to the unique nature of the operation
The Council encourages pilot programs such as that recommended by
Robaina, and if any specific legislative recommendations are made,
the Council will review them at such time.
The Council finds that current termination provisions in section 718.117, F.S.,
in many cases when a termination is appropriate or imminent.
The Council finds that it supports the legislation to be filed by Senator
Goodlette in 2006.
Maintenance and Defective Construction
The Council finds that the lack of maintenance or defective construction in
has created significant financial hardships for some unit owners, and
the Council intends to further review and develop meaningful suggestions for
Notice of Liens / Foreclosures
The Council recommends legislation to provide that associations must give a
of delinquency in assessments before a lien can be filed.
The Council opposes the Siplin Bill, SB 586.
Office of the Ombudsman
The Council finds that the statutory structure for the Office of the Ombudsman
clarity and needs further refinement to specify clearly the duties that the
The Council finds that the statutory structure does not adequately coordinate
and responsibilities of the Ombudsman with other portions of the Act nor
provide due process for individual unit owners and boards in condominium
The Council finds that it should consider legislation to provide coordination
concerning the duties and responsibilities of the Ombudsman with other portions
of the Act, provide appropriate due process for parties affected by the
a process to protect the rights of unit owners, boards of
affected by the Act.
The Council finds that the Ombudsman’s recommended changes to the Act do
provide coordination or clarity with other portions of the Act and do not
appropriate due process to protect the rights of individual unit owners,
directors and other parties affected by the Act.
Post Turnover Jurisdiction Issues
The Council finds that the current model of addressing disputes between unit
and their boards in the post turnover setting, which primarily relies on the
of Compliance, is ineffective and needs to be replaced with alternative
of dispute resolution.
for the Division concerning revisions and adoption of rules
The Council finds that it should undertake a future review of the resolution
other rules, including election rules.
for improvements in the education programs offered by the
The Council finds that Division should prepare educational program and/or
how associations should deal with catastrophic events.
comments were received at the meetings conducted on May 14, 2005, June 25,
August 6, 2005, September 7, 2005, and December 5, 2005. The comments
been topically organized and presented along with an indication as to the
background and the date at which the comments were presented.
Smith 5/14/05, condominium manager. Commented on Section 718.113(2)(a)
material alterations; stated that he can not get a definition of material or
alteration and feels the law should be clarified.
Duffau, 6/25/05, (submitted written document to Council). Unit owner at All
Hotel Condominium; 106 units. In August of 2004, after repair of water tower
her unit, large pieces of concrete fell from her ceiling. She determined that
structural problems that board was aware of; permits had been issued by the
but no work was ever done. Wants to force board to take appropriate repair
Iozzi, 6/25/05, Unit owner, 85 units. Felt that the issue she keeps hearing
of buildings not being maintained. Her building has termites; building was
years ago but association did not keep up contract. Stated that local health
should be involved in condominium regulation.
Delgado, 6/25/05, speaking for Lucy Marin (Submitted written document to
Unit owners at Sunset Villas Phase III Condominium, 440 units. Stated that
association started a project without sharing information to owners; they have
with both the quality of work and the change in paint color, they feel the
material alteration which requires approval of unit owners; there was no vote
Steive, 9/7/05, unit owner at Baker Towers in Hollywood Beach, 36 units.
on Senator Geller’s comments on terminating a condominium. He has not
able to live in his unit since June of 2002. Parts of apartment have been
to water intrusion and mold. Complaints to his board went unheeded; he
action in 1999. The case has been in civil court but progress is slow.
gave testimony to his board regarding rebar repair; longer time to repair
deterioration. Needs to be a grievance process for complaints to be heard
and solutions administered quickly. Legislature needs to develop maintenance
and educational requirements. Stated that it is incumbent upon Council to
reserves and maintenance.
Taylor, 5/14/05, property manager. Spoke regarding Rep. Robaina’s
that he worked to defeat the bill. Felt the bill gave no consideration to
occupied condos, such as resort condos in Panhandle. Also critical of proposed
foreclosure rule and board term limits.
Toledo, 6/25/05, Condominium in Kendall, 783 units. Asked questions of the
regarding assessments, for example, how many assessments are allowed
one year. Mr. Toledo also asked if assessments could be used to pay other
discussed a past election recall.
Perez, 6/25/05, Miramar Gardens HOA in Dade County, 550 homes. Stated
there are 150 foreclosures in her community; she is in foreclosure for not
She purposely permitted herself to go into foreclosure so she could go to
her dispute with the association.
Sanchez, 6/25/05, (Submitted written document to the Council) Mr. Sanchez
concern regarding Council members who represent associations. Stated
everyone knows that there are tremendous problems except the Division, who
that they only receive a handful of complaints. Spoke against predatory
– properties are sold without the owner even being aware, no judicial
Mommano, 9/7/05, President of Island Club Association, 20 units in Ft
association is member of CALL. Stated that she was very active in last
legislative session regarding proposed condominium legislation. She is
about differences between small and large condominium associations;
associations could not operate if term limits were imposed. Urged Council to
before recommending term limits. She Stated that it is very important for
to be paid on time; asked that the Council not limit ability of board to go
people who don’t pay assessments. Also asked Council to make simplified
for condominium law to help associations who self manage and asked for
DeBoest, 12/5/05, local attorney. Discussed SB 586 by Senator Siplin
He has filed 500 foreclosures in the last 10 years, only one of which
to court and was foreclosed. He felt this is an anti-association bill, and
effect on small associations. He felt that the current process is working well
the bill would make it very difficult for associations to collect delinquent
He felt that association actions do not get to the attorney until the unit
has been contacted numerous times.
of Administration / Management
Cox, 5/14/05, CAM, unit owner and board member from Ft Walton Beach. Stated
she does not agree with recent proposed legislation; felt that items proposed
should be in condo documents rather than in the law – for example,
for owner to live in unit 6 months of year in order to qualify to run for
Education should not be mandatory via the law, but in documents. Related
of two complaints filed with Division against her association; stated that one
good experience but other appeared to be unresolved.
Carlisle, 5/14/05, unit owner. Stated that she agreed with fighting
owner occupancy in order to run for board. Posed questions regarding
to determine proper replacement value for condominium.
Willie, 5/14/05, president of association in Panama City Beach. Asked that
be careful regarding making any recommendations for term limits and
for board members to be owner occupied. Felt it would make difficult to
good board members in resort condos.
Joyce Starr, 6/25/05, (submitted written document to Council) Member of board
Vida Condominium Association, 155 units. Wanted to discuss problem of
condo owners’ rights; board abuses arbitration procedures. Asked Council to
more effective means of protection against misconduct of board members; abuse
fiduciary duties, misuse of condo funds; assure that board members are
of DBPR arbitration procedures by associations. Dr. Starr is involved in
her association regarding pet dispute.
Cespades, 6/25/05, Unit owner in Windshire Condominium; 387 units. Mr.
stated that his board is made up of tyrants who do whatever they want.
recently applied for 1.4 million loan to patch building (5 year loan); felt
loan is outrageous and he does not know where the money goes.
Libman, 6/25/05, (Submitted written document to Council) Unit owner at Jade
Association, 916 units. Stated that the property is not being kept up to its
Mr. Libman bought a new car and used a loaner from the dealer; parked in
assigned space; got a pass since loaner had no ID. Association told him he had
$5; Mr. Libman refused to pay to use his own space and his car was then towed
damaged. Suggested that Council come up with a rule that has some teeth
board members – “once they come into power, it’s impossible to get them
Harris, 6/25/05, (through interpreter, Karen Borgenheimer). Unit owner and
member at Grenard Park Club Condominiums; treasurer there for 5 years.
that board members should first look to their condominium documents; her
has achieved very good communication with all owners; when the board
helpless” regarding the laws, they go to DBPR for guidance. Stated that she
in this meeting how board members abuse their positions, but felt that her
and board are well governed. Unit owners and boards can make the laws
Hubbell, 6/25/05, Monarch Lakes in Miramar, an HOA with 2,200 homeowners.
that HOAs share lot of same problems as condos; specifically, the board and
companies. Stated that many homeowners are unhappy with
company and the same president as when board was first formed (5 yrs).
Hubbell reported violations to management company; nothing happened because
told him that they were forming violations committee. Stated that no homeowner
notified about election of board.
Nato, unit owner, 9/7/05. Stated that he needs to file a complaint. Asked if
a limit to assessments that a board can make in one year. Also asked if
agenda at monthly meetings can be passed. Also had questions regarding board
attendance at meetings, recall of boards; stated that decisions regarding
should be left to unit owners, not the state. Received assistance from
from Bureau of Compliance regarding filing a complaint.
Shaw, unit owner, 9/7/05. Has experienced problems with “nuclear family”
trying to tell unit owners who can live in their units. Fiancée or niece, for
cannot stay in units. Suggested legislation that prohibits condominiums or
associations from telling people who can live in their homes (as long as it
not create a problem in terms of living conditions). Also stated that he
legislation suggested by Dr Rizzo that would allow action to be taken against
Torres, 9/7/05, unit owner in West Kendall for 3˝ years. Stated that she
her unit with a roof on patio that previous owner had installed; roof was
and falling apart so she repaired. Stated that when she went to sell her unit,
would not qualify new buyers until she fixed violations, such as painting the
of the fence and removing unapproved patio roof. Stated that she was never
of these violations until she tried to close on sale of her unit. Association
in escrow for violations at closing; she can’t get her money until she
Gusberg, 9/7/05, unit owner. Stated that the president of her board doesn’t
unit owners. If the president doesn’t like a certain topic of discussion,
Believes boards should be tested, licensed and regulated by the state;
condominium documents relieve the directors of any financial responsibility.
state should pass a law to hold directors responsible. Stated that 2.5 million
been spent to repair elevators in her building, but elevators still don’t
look good or
properly. The board found that a current member stole $100,000 from
their attorney said it was best not to do anything about it, as it would be
Ettus, 9/7/05, unit owner at Avante Garde Condominiums in Hallandale Beach;
units. Stated that everyone making public input has horror stories but states
are no remedies. He faces constant assessments; association insists on
a seawall that should be repaired instead, which would save the association
Cited documents that state no assessments over a certain percentage can be
without unit owner votes; board instead is going to break up assessment into
assessments to avoid vote. Board has also stated that it made a mistake and
assessing $100 extra each month to “catch up”. Stated that he ran for
owners stated that they voted for him but board told him that he did not get
when he asked to see the votes he was denied.
Ingles, 9/7/05, unit owner. Described her association's board ordering work
contracts. Owners did not think repaving the parking lot was necessary and
did it anyway. Did not have signed contract for work to be done; special
and held money for four months. Asked board why they couldn’t use
for sealing parking lot.
Brady, 5/14/05, unit owner in condominium converted from apartments. Suggested
to law that would require rules & regulations to be in place prior to
Jallele, 6/25/05, Southgrove Plaza, 43 units. Stated that educating the board
work. After education, the board does whatever it wants. Stated that the
not resolved her case.
Blanco, 6/25/05, unit owner in Village of Kings Creek; 1067 units. Felt there
of enforcement by DBPR. Stated that based on his own experience, the Division
educational letters, warning letters, and Division ignores emails trying to
Gallagher, 8/6/05 (submitted written document to Council) HOA member and
of CCFJ. Has conducted a recall and felt it was easy enough for a layman to
Felt that education will only go so far and asked for more oversight of boards
protection of homeowners.
Wean, 8/6/05, attorney. Suggested revisions to 718.110(13), F.S.; felt that
to rentals” is too broad; problems with secret vote for unit owner consent.
expansion of the emergency powers provisions in the Condominium Act.
that the atmosphere in the Division regarding investigations has changed for
but did not like current method of the investigator conducting an
calls. Also discussed issue of selective/arbitrary enforcement; asked Council
legislative changes regarding this issue. Against mandatory education.
Charrick, 9/7/05, unit owner in Delray Beach, past president of board. Has had
problems at his condominium with financial issues. Does not agree with how
718 is enforced; has made complaints with DBPR; 15 complaints have been
but nothing has been done except issuing warning letters. Directors took
for other than intended use; spent without authorization of unit owners.
complaints filed regarding collection of monthly maintenance fees, access to
unit owners denied right to speak at meetings, association's failure to
report. Stated that Division takes too long for resolution; called the
number on today's date and it rang for an hour with no answer.
Hanna, 9/7/05, unit owner at Hallmark condominium, 375 units in Hollywood. In
of 2004, a unit owner was refused access to roster of unit owners. Dispute
regarding the release of email addresses. Filed a compliant with DPBR; felt
at Division has been competent and helpful. Stated that he later filed a
and won; association has filed an appeal in court. Felt there is no incentive
association to comply with the law. Case still in court; association stated
continue to appeal. Felt there should be no statutory cap on damages as long
are not provided.
Robaina discussed Mr. Hanna’s issue regarding access to records and
Council what should happen to attorneys who give advice to associations that
the law. Stated that the current law is without teeth; attorneys say “DPBR
power, do what you want, don’t listen to the Ombudsman.” Stated that he is
with Member Cochran regarding giving Division more authority. Described a
tomorrow in Miami Beach of local municipalities who are developing a
ordinance to create requirements for licensing of all property management
in their city. Discussed the pilot state attorneys' program to address
in condominiums. Local police departments' economic crimes Division can
people to be trained and deal with condominium criminal complaints. Asked
to recommend funding for pilot program.
Geller stated that attorneys sometimes give advice that is not followed. Asked
Council to look at reserves under current law; would like statutory reserves
be waived. If there are no reserves, unit owners will find they are being
assessed. Buildings are being improperly maintained. Regarding
a Hurricane Andrew damaged condominium took 8 years to be dissolved.
not support term limits; views condominiums as mini-local governments.
elections; if election is properly run, then results must be abided by. If the
are not fair and unit owners cannot organize, that is a problem. He passed
to give election challenges a priority. Stated that we must make sure that
are conducted in a fair and honest manner. Heard many people complain that
is violating law, violating documents and nothing can be done. Not sure he
with increasing fines – because unit owners are the ones who will pay. Does
making it easy to fine individual board members – because it would then be
to find people to serve on boards.
Hickey, 9/7/05, asked questions regarding purpose of the Council; asked that
recommend changes in statute to add teeth to enforcement. Board not
bylaws regarding assessments. Asked for penalties for directors knowingly
bylaws. Also asked if homeowners' associations can be combined into current
Melvin, 5/14/05, Lobbyist for Cyber Citizens for Justice. Discussed the Office
Ombudsman and was very supportive of the functions of that office. Stated that
education of officers and unit owners creates most problems. Suggested the
with community colleges to offer educational programs.
Sparks, 5/14/05, brought up CAI’s condominium classes and solicited
from any audience members who have attended courses: Geraldine
said she had attended class several times and thought they were excellent,
should attend. Bart Kennedy felt classes were invaluable and also felt the
and interaction with others is invaluable. J.L. Franklin thought classes were
Laurie Smith complimented Ray Neuman of Becker Poliakoff as a CAI instructor.
also praised Peter Dunbar’s book, “Condominium Concepts” and stated that
given to each new board member at her condo.
Kitchen, 8/6/05, unit owner and member of the Board of the Space Coast
Association (SCCA). Made comments regarding lack of communication
unit owners and associations; suggested that associations join a website
he is involved with as an easy way to disseminate information to unit owners
Charles, 8/6/05, President of SCCA. Stated that SCCA currently has over 250
representing 18,000 units. Felt that some problems are caused by
unit owners and others are easily solved by tools that are available in
law, such as the recall process. Discussed association’s responsibility to
for disasters and subsequent repairs. Stated that a Division CD-Rom of
material would be helpful to unit owners; CAI courses are good but should
expanded. Against mandatory education for board members.
Melvin, 8/6/05, Lobbyist for Cyber Citizens for Justice (CCFJ). Expressed CCFJ’s
for greater education for board members and unit owners. Requested expanding
duties to include HOAs. CCFJ would like to see a website where questions
posted as an ongoing Q&A. Also discussed Panhandle Area Education
which sells receivers ($90) to any group or association; the association can
receive educational programs on a 24-hour basis. CCFJ has a group studying
issues in order to come up with suggestions for additional subject matter.
Cook, 12/5/05, unit owner. Asked for more education for board members, has
the Ombudsman and filed a complaint with the Division. He was complimentary
Investigator Jeff Ewaldt. He stated that many owners are not Florida residents
not involved, more education is also needed for unit owners. He stated that
are worthwhile, and the Division should update the budget and reserve manual
address common elements and limited common elements. He indicated that
do not attract educated board members. He also felt that CAMS should
directly to the association and should advise only.
Jordan, 12/5/05, board member at Seven Lakes Association, Inc. Stated that
Council was doing a great job of zeroing in on the problems. He stated that he
of the CAI courses and then ran for the board. He indicated that the CAI
very good, and that he went to Tallahassee for session last year. He felt that
year as a board member is a learning experience and was worried about term
could not imagine one year term limits. He also stated that they shouldn’t
problems cause legislative changes.
Scott, 5/14/05, former condominium manager, retired. Suggested change to
718 regarding voting by proxy. Expressed concern that proxies that are not
count as a “no” vote, instead of not counting at all. Felt that required
should be based on actual votes, not membership interests. Suggested
in law regarding required 100% approval for termination; would like to see a
percentage. Member Dunbar commented that there has been legislation to
to 80% vote or decision by a judge; did not pass but will be attempted again.
Prakash, 6/25/05, Treasurer of board for 5 years in Kendall at Heron at
units. Addressed role of Ombudsman; requested that Ombudsman be held
for his actions. Dr. Rizzo asked that the ballots for their election be sent
office instead of the management company. The board felt this was
decided not to comply. The Ombudsman then sent out letter to all unit owners
that the board refused to send him the ballots and this created a clear
of impropriety. Felt that concept of Ombudsman is great but if office runs
it will destroy concept of unpaid mini-governments.
Gonzalez, 6/25/05, unit owner, 98 units. Stated that she felt the function of
and the Ombudsman is to encourage owners to be educated. She has
several CAI courses and felt they there were excellent; but thought that they
not reach many people. Ms. Gonzalez asked that more education and materials be
Martinez, 6/25/05, (Submitted written document to Council) Unit owner. Mr.
stated that Division is useless. His building had 15 violations; felt the
is good but his office needs more money. Mr. Martinez expressed
regarding election process; felt there should be a tougher process to ensure
unit owners are filling out ballots. In his condominium, board members filled
Fields, 6/25/05, stated that he had questions about the recall provisions in
Code that the Council should address. For example, the rule does not
how the ballot should handled - oral or written ballot, and does not state who
charge of written ballots after vote – who tallies, etc.
Henry, 6/25/05, Pelican Point at Villages HOA, 456 homes, President for 8
also master association for 8 years. Lives in HOA, not a condominium, but came
meeting because he felt that the laws are going to be changed. Stated that
and Jan Bergmann only bring up bad issues, not good associations without
Disagreed with 1 year term limits; felt that nothing would get done because
need to retrain new members.
Ballard, 9/7/05, unit owner in small association, 25 units. Thinks the
dishonest and corrupt. The same 3 directors have been elected the last 5 years
they are majority unit owners and vote for themselves. One person owns 16
and votes himself as president.
Gottlieb, 9/7/05, read written comments submitted by Gail Sharpe from Heron
Hammocks; Ms. Sharpe thanked the legislature for creating the Office of the
and thanked Representative Robaina for new laws. Ombudsman
election monitoring at her association.
Peterson, 9/7/05, (Submitted written materials to Council) CPA whose practice
two condo associations and four homeowners associations; former auditor.
that Council not think of CPAs as the legislature has in the past; CPAs are
Stated that in her experience, an audit does not help the owners of an
Requests that Council look into legislation that takes decision-making
of type of independent evaluation away from owners. Discussed her
for alternatives to mandated audits or reviews; also suggested that CPAs
help boards with their reserve funding, insurance premiums and coverage.
Robaina commented on Ms. Peterson’s remarks on audits and
Stated that his legislation was in response to boards that waive audits or do
themselves. Also, felt that state attorneys offices need audits in order to
their criminal cases.
Adams stated that an audit can create a false sense of security that funds are
stolen and asked what Ms. Peterson would recommend. Ms. Peterson stated that
should obtain "special purpose" audits for the state attorney to
items; similar to a forensic audit.
Jordan, 5/14/05, unit owner. Clarified purpose of Council and requested that
and other documents contain the Council’s email address and other contact
Obregon, 6/25/05, (Submitted written document to Council). Unit owner in three
communities; does not want to give actual names. Felt that during legislative
the average person cannot go to lobby in Tallahassee, but the special
their lobbyists. Current laws are not efficient to protect condominium owners.
Cofield, 6/25/05, unit owner at Venetian Condominium; 340 residential units,
units. Three member board, made up of two commercial members and one
member. The association owns seven commercial units, so the remaining
commercial units control the building. Counsel for the association has advised
documents take precedence over the statute. Asked if his documents are
by statute because of their date – they were created in 1994. Member
suggested that Mr. Cofield file a request for a declaratory statement from the
regarding the documents/statutes.
Sullivan, 6/25/05, unit owner at Castle Beach Club; 573 units. Stated that she
about condominium laws. Ms. Sullivan asked who appointed the Council
stated that she wanted to believe that Council will be doing something. She
met with the building inspector regarding fire hazards in her building for
the building has been in receivership for over a year. No communication
agencies; different entities knew about the problem over the years. Ms.
stated that unit owners don’t find out about problems, fines, county
Garvin; 6/25/05, unit owner at Bay Vista Condominium, 27 units. At last board
requested mediation regarding disputed fees and was told no. Asked if the
was put into place so that he could go to mediation. Chair Adams stated that
not the purpose of this Council; however, the law provides that the issue of
subject to mediation or arbitration.
Cupina, 8/6/05, unit owner in association with 145 units; member of SCCA.
in a dispute with condo association. Has current complaint with Division;
that it be mandatory for association to notify unit owners of any complaint.
that arbitration is too expensive for many unit owners to pursue.
Barry, 9/7/05, new president of small association; 12 units. Asked how to
set of original condominium documents. Asked if it would be important to
documents from 1965. Asked how to obtain updates on condominium law.
Von Walde, 12/5/05, unit owner in association with 81 units. Stated that
should be mandatory and that half of the damage from hurricane was not
by insurance. He felt that it would be a good idea to vest boards with
take emergency action. He indicated that the foreclosure bill was a bad idea
be a burden on everyone else to pay. He was also opposed to residency
for board members, and felt that mandatory board education was a bad
as no one will serve.
Pritchett, 5/14/05, would like to see HOAs governed by the Division. Stated
feels there is no recourse for owners other than court. (Member Cochran made
regarding the Division’s HOA Mediation and Arbitration Program).
Sajdak, 9/7/05, CAM, manages two homeowners’ associations totaling 1300
also Supreme Court certified mediator. Stated that she was under the
that Council was making proposals regarding other types of associations.
that mediation is a useful tool; unfortunately, state was ill prepared for new
association mediation program. She has submitted petitions and has
waiting since May or June for a mediator to be assigned; process is not
Asked Council to survey more homeowners and condominium owners
of a disgruntled minority who does not understand the law. Felt that majority
want to live in their communities as the rules state; also asked for help in
Good, 5/14/05, unit owner at Villa del Sol, 87 units. Described history of his
as adversarial; hoped that the Ombudsman can assist when his office is
prepared and organized. Stated that the staff in the Ombudsman's Office couldn’t
his questions. Asked that the Office of the Ombudsman mission be more
defined and that the Ombudsman gain the knowledge to answer unit owner
Described problems at his association regarding post-hurricane repair
association did not have plan to repair roofs. He is still working to get
regarding insurance of association; stated that association did not take
the storm to protect damaged units from further water damage. Unit owner (Mr.
father) does have insurance for unit not covered by association’s master
Dunbar recommended that Mr. Good contact the Treasurer’s storm line for
with his insurance company.
Zeligman, 9/7/05, unit owner at Wynmoor Condominiums in Coconut Creek,
residents. Stated that he is an advocate for animals. Felt that many residents
afraid to speak out against their associations regarding changing pet rules;
was told to get rid of her two animals even though she was a long time
Described problems regarding vague documents with regards to pet
and penalties regarding violating pet rules. Asked Council to change pet
and the way pet owners are treated.
Genser, 9/7/05, Lakes of Carriage Hills in Tamarac, 530 units. Stated that she
experienced problems regarding pet issues; felt that many senior residents do
to sign petitions or support changes to rules; many are afraid of losing pets
hide their pets. She believes that the Americans with Disabilities Act already
animals as “emotional support”; felt that many people do not know their
Geinser, 6/25/05, does not want to mention her condominium’s name; she is
a group called “Citizens for Pets in Condos”. Described her suggestions
laws allowing for pets in condos; prosecute unit owners who fail to clean up,
or disturb the peace in other ways.
Honey, 5/14/05, stated that her association is having problems deciding on
reserve funding. She feels the reserves should be increased as the condo is
The majority of unit owners have voted to waive. Suggestion from Council that
owners could set aside private funds to cover any future special assessments.
from Public Officials
Robaina, 6/25/05, requested
consideration of the Council regarding
Condominium conversions; new laws that govern local municipalities regarding
– firewalls, building codes, and how the developer turns conversion over
Regulation of property management companies.
The Office of the Ombudsman; asked for a way to clarify his duties and give
additional responsibilities and teeth; would also like to see cooperation
Give the Division power to fine people.
Unit owners need more mediation; felt mediation is not popular with law firms
way to resolve problems.
Satellite office in Ft Lauderdale for the Ombudsman.
Recommendations for emergency evacuation procedures for condominiums.
Conflicts of board members doing business with family members.
Recalls; boards and/or law firms that try to block recalls.
Possible conflict of interest between DBPR employees and law firms.
Education; CAI provides a good product; but asked Council to find
Support for pilot program with state attorneys for pursuing criminal
Better regulation of CAMs.
Sovereign immunity of board members; no immunity if someone maliciously uses
Foreclosures; asked Council for suggestions regarding predatory foreclosures.
Law firms that protect boards and harass unit owners.
Asked that members not allow their positions to carry out personal agendas.
response to question from Chair Adams, that he has seen no evidence of
agendas on the Council.
Rizzo’s Proposed Changes to Chapter 718
Donahue, the Ombudsman’s Administrative Assistant attended the May 14,
meeting and answered questions from the Council regarding the Office of the
The Council also discussed the recommendations from the Ombudsman
had the following comments:
his suggested requirement that proposed amendments to documents be sent
certified mail to all unit owners; Member Dunbar stated that there are unit
can not receive certified mail (out of country, for example) and that people
during the day often can’t pick up certified mail. Member Sparks pointed out
that would be involved for the association. Member Gottlieb stated that it was
the Ombudsman’s suggestion to take away association’s ability to waive
reporting, member Dunbar indicated that this would not be sensitive to smaller
the recommendations for reconstruction of condominium: Member Dunbar
concern that association be held to 60 days timeline following a disaster, and
Ombudsman’s suggestion includes requirement to hire an architect.
the recommendation for unit owner inquiries, response sent via certified mail:
Dunbar pointed out again that not all unit owners live in the United States
able to receive certified mail. Discussion ensued regarding limitation on
owner inquiries. Chair Adams stated that this limitation was put into the
of unit owners disrupting operations of community in abusing requests. Ms.
stated that the Ombudsman would address this issue.
the recommendation for Board meetings required that “No action shall be
without unit owner vote. Member Dunbar indicated that this limits the
to operate the association.
the recommendation for requiring special assessment notices include “cost
member Dunbar pointed out that often meetings are held to decide
bids for projects, so no cost would be finalized for the notice. Member
idea, but poorly worded.
the recommendation for term limits and holding offices: Member Sparks
that term limits “throws” good officers away. Member Dunbar suggested
to read “consecutive” terms, otherwise would create problems for smaller
– who would serve on board of 4 of 5 unit communities? This would force
communities to hire directors.
the recommendation to eliminate the right to opt out of the statutes regarding
election process: Member Dunbar stated that this would penalize smaller
Chair Adams stated that some communities opt out of statute yet
comply in their documents.
the recommendation for unit owners’ right to vote on items at annual
Ms. Donahue stated that this is an avenue to get items on agenda by unit
Member Dunbar stated that could be a productive method for unit owners.
the recommendation to remove the vote to provide no reserves: Chair
asked Ms. Donahue why the Ombudsman would make this recommendation.
Donahue did not know. Member Dunbar stated that not all communities are the
the recommendation to add the term “basic” to statutory provisions
cable tv: Chair Adams expressed concern over the differing definition of
cable, depending on the provider. Member Dunbar stated that this could
eliminate the “community” channel used by some associations to post their
the recommendation to eliminate the requirement that payments are applied
attorney’s fees first: Member Andrew expressed concern of association’s
attorney to assist in debt collection if attorney is paid last.
the recommendation that liens should not be filed until after 30 days of unit
being served: Chair Adams stated that the idea merits further discussion;
if someone does not accept service then time and additional costs will accrue.
instead to state after certified mail to last known address. Member Dunbar
again that not every unit owner has ability to receive certified mail, but
idea of providing notice to last known address.
the recommendation that would remove automatic renewal of contracts:
Adams stated that he thought it was a good idea.
the recommendation to section 718.5012, FS, that the Division defer to the
findings: Chair Adams expressed concern regarding due process.
Andrew stated that the Council needs clarification as to whether the
is offering legal advice or not; and if so, the Council needs to address the
issue involved. Asked if it is appropriate for the Ombudsman to be offering
STANDARDS FOR OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS:
1. Paragraph (a) of ss. 718.111(1) is amended to read as follows:
The operation of the condominium shall be by the association, which must be a
corporation for profit or a Florida corporation not for profit. However, any
which was in existence on January 1, 1977, need not be incorporated. The
of units shall be shareholders or members of the association. The officers and
of the association have a fiduciary relationship to the unit owners as set
s.718.1122. It is the intent of the Legislature that nothing in this paragraph
as providing for or removing a requirement of a fiduciary relationship between
manager employed by the association and the unit owners. An officer, director,
may not solicit, offer to accept, or accept any thing or service of value for
consideration has not been provided for his or her own benefit or that of his
family, from any person providing or proposing to provide goods or services
the association. Any such officer, director, or manager who knowingly so
to accept, or accepts any thing or service of value is subject to a civil
to s. 718.501(1)(d). However, this paragraph does not prohibit an officer,
or manager from accepting services or items received in connection with trade
or education programs. An association may operate more than one condominium.
2. s. 718.1122 is created to read as follows and existing paragraphs are
An officer or director shall discharge his or her duties as an officer or
director in the
manner, including his or her duties as a member of a committee:
In good faith;
With the care an ordinarily prudent person in a like position would exercise
In a manner he or she reasonably believes to be in the best interests of the
In discharging his or her duties, he or she may rely on information, opinions,
or statements, including financial statements and other financial data, if
or presented by:
One or more officers or employees of the corporation whom the officer or
believes to be reliable and competent in the matters presented;
Legal counsel, public accountants, agencies having jurisdiction of the subject
or other persons as to matters the officer or director reasonably believes are
the persons' professional or expert competence; or
A committee of or appointed by the board of directors of which he or she is
if the officer or director reasonably believes the committee merits his or her
An officer or director is not acting in good faith if he or she has knowledge
the matter in question that makes reliance otherwise permitted by paragraph
An officer or director is not liable for any action taken as a officer or
director, or any
to take any action, if he or she performed the duties of his or her office in
with this section.
An officer or director is not personally liable for monetary damages to any
statement, vote, decision, or failure to take an action by an officer or
The officer or director breached or failed to perform his or her duties as an
The officer's or director's breach of, or failure to perform, his or her
A violation of the criminal law, unless the officer or director had reasonable
his or her conduct was lawful or had no reasonable cause to believe his or her
was unlawful. A judgment or other final adjudication against an officer or
in any criminal proceeding for violation of the criminal law estops that
from contesting the fact that his or her breach, or failure to perform,
violation of the criminal law, but does not estop the officer or director from
he or she had reasonable cause to believe that his or her conduct was lawful
reasonable cause to believe that his or her conduct was unlawful;
A transaction from which the officer or director derived an improper personal
directly or indirectly; or
Recklessness or an act or omission which was committed in bad faith or with
purpose or in a manner exhibiting wanton and willful disregard of human
safety, or property.
For the purposes of this section, the term:
means the acting, or omission to act, in conscious disregard of a risk:
Known, or so obvious that it should have been known, to the officer or
Known to the officer or director, or so obvious that it should have been
known, to be
great as to make it highly probable that harm would follow from such action or
APPROVAL OF EDUCATION PROVIDERS AND PROGRAMS:
(1) (j) of Section 718.501 is amended to read as follows:
The Division shall provide training programs for condominium association
members and unit owners. The Division shall have the authority to review and
education and training programs for board members and unit owners offered
providers and shall maintain a current list of approved programs and providers
make such list available to board members and unit owners in a reasonable and
page 1, line 15, through page 4, line 104,
from the bill all of said lines and insert:
1. Section 718.1265, Florida Statutes, is created to read:
Association emergency powers. –
To the extent allowed by law and unless specifically prohibited by the
the articles, or the bylaws of an association, the association may, in
to a state of emergency declared in accordance with s. 252.36(2) or a
evacuation order issued by civil or law enforcement authorities, for the
which the condominium is located, exercise the power to:
Conduct board meetings and membership meetings with notice given as is
Such notice may be given in any practicable manner, including publication,
U.S. Mail, the Internet, public service announcements, conspicuous posting on
condominium property or an other means the board deems reasonable under the
Notice of board decisions may be communicated as provided in this
Cancel and reschedule any association meeting;
Name as assistant officers persons who are not directors, which assistant
shall have the same authority as the executive officers to whom they are
during the state of emergency, to accommodate the incapacity or unavailability
any officer of the association;
Relocate the principal office or designate alternative principal offices.
Enter into agreements with local counties and municipalities to assist
and municipalities with debris removal.
Consistent with the standards of s. 617.0830:
Implement a disaster plan, including, but not limited to shutting down or off
electricity, water, sewer, security systems, or air conditioners;
Declare any portion of the condominium property unavailable for entry or
by unit owners, family members, tenants, guests, agents, or invitees in order
protect the health, safety, or welfare of such persons;
Order the evacuation of the condominium property in the event of a
evacuation order in the locale in which the condominium is located. Should
unit owner or other occupant of a condominium fail or refuse to evacuate the
property upon such an order, the association shall be immune from
or injury to persons or property arising from such failure or refusal.
Determine whether the condominium property can be safely inhabited or
However, such determination is not conclusive as to any determination of
pursuant to the declaration.
To the extent allowed by law and unless specifically prohibited by the
the articles, or the bylaws of an association, and consistent with the
of s. 617.0830, the association may, in response to damage caused by an
for which a state of emergency is declared in accordance with s. 252.36(2) in
in which the condominium is located, exercise the power to:
Mitigate further damage, including taking action to contract for the removal
debris, to prevent or mitigate the spread of fungus, including but not limited
mildew, by removing and disposing of wet drywall, insulation, carpet,
fixtures on or within the condominium property, even if the unit owner is
the declaration or law to insure or replace those fixtures and to remove
from a unit;
Contract, on behalf of unit owners with unit owners responsible for
the association, for items or services for which the owners are otherwise
but which may be necessary to prevent further damage. Without limitation,
items or services may include the drying of units, boarding of broken windows
and replacement of damaged air conditioners or air handlers to provide climate
in the units or other portions of the property;
Levy special assessments; or
Borrow money and pledge association assets as collateral to fund
repairs and carry out the duties of the association when operating funds are
without unit owner approval. This paragraph does not limit the general
of the association to borrow money, subject to such restrictions as are
in the declaration, articles, or bylaws.
The special powers authorized under this section by the association shall
limited to that time reasonably necessary to protect the health, safety and
association, the unit owners, their family members, tenants, guests, agents or
and reasonably necessary to mitigate further damage and make emergency
new subsection 718.112(2)(f)5. is created to read:
addition to reserves required by this section, the association may establish a
category for uninsured casualty losses, based upon such formula as to the
new paragraph (e) in subsection 718,112(2)(m)(3) to read:
OPTIONAL PROVISIONS.--The bylaws as originally recorded or as amended under
procedures provided therein may provide for the following:
A method of adopting and amending administrative rules and regulations
details of the operation and use of the common elements.
Restrictions on and requirements for the use, maintenance, and appearance of
and the use of the common elements.
Provisions for giving notice by electronic transmission in a manner authorized
of meetings of the board of directors and committees and of annual and
meetings of the members.
A method for allowing the use of existing reserve funds to meet the expenses
to declared emergencies pursuant to section 718.1265.
e) Other provisions which are not inconsistent with this chapter or with the
as may be desired.