Courtesy of The Sun Sentinel
Published May 2, 2007
Owners at Pine
Ridge at Delray Beach, as at many other condo and homeowner association
communities, weren't allowed to put up hurricane shutters until 48 hours
before a storm was expected to hit, and had to remove them 48 hours after
At Pine Ridge, a community of 224 single-family houses, many owners didn't
like the rule. It was a chore for residents in the over-55 community to
repeatedly put them up and take them down. And many snowbirds wanted to
leave their shutters up all summer.
Instead of standing in their way, the board recently changed the rule,
allowing shutters to be installed at the start of hurricane season and
left in place until the end.
"Sensible and logical," is how the board's treasurer, Kenneth
Goldberg, described the change.
Most of the 50,000 or so association boards in Florida are indeed sensible
and logical. They comprise owners who step up to the plate to take care of
Why do they volunteer to go to all that trouble?
"To protect my own investment and keep it on par," said Larry
Lemelbaum, 79, vice president of his 109-unit Golden Raintree townhouse
association in Coconut Creek. He was president of the community for 12
years and president of the master association, which is responsible for
5,307 units, for 14 years.
"Because I like my building. This is my home and I want it to be the
kind of place where I can invite people," said Dr. Daniel J. Mason.
The retired physician has been president of the 209-unit Country Club
Tower of Coral Springs for 16 years.
"To impact change we decided to become part of the process,"
said Richard S. Herman, president of the 48-apartment Burgundy A
Association in Kings Point, Delray Beach. He and his wife, Judy, ran for
the board at the same time three years ago and both got elected. She is
It definitely isn't an easy job, directors say:
"I've been threatened [with abuse] when we sent out notices such as
to remove a commercial vehicle, remove a boat from the driveway or to
power-clean a roof," said Rhonda Montoya Hasan, 42, treasurer of her
20-unit homeowner association in Davie and a prosecutor for the city of
"You shouldn't have to compel people to do the right thing and
maintain their property according to the rules they promised to obey when
they bought, but you have to with some individuals," she added.
Said Neal Gary Rosensweig, 50, president of his 12-unit Hollywood condo
and also a condo lawyer: "I became the enemy and slanderous things
were said about me. It's something you have to deal with. You have to put
up with the malcontents, but there is no one else to do it."
As you can see, directors aren't all ogres.
Q. Readers in condo and homeowner
associations in Fort Lauderdale, Delray Beach and Lauderdale Lakes ask if
directors can accept any kind of payment. Separately, several readers ask
if board members and community association managers can take anything of
value from those who sell goods or services to the association.
We asked Michael J. Gelfand, chairman of the Palm Beach County Bar
Association's Community Association Law Committee.
A. Just like in the "real" corporate world, neither the Florida
Condominium Act nor the Homeowners' Act prohibit associations from paying
directors, he said. However, another law provides that if a community has
50 units or a budget exceeding $100,000, a paid director must have a state
community association manager's license.
Frequently a community's documents limit spending, he said. Some forbid
payment while others limit the type of work for which a director can be
"No one answer fits all communities," he said.
On the second question, vendors generally can't provide free goods or
services to a condo director or manager unless it is in connection with
trade fairs or education programs, he said. No similar restriction exists
for homeowner associations, but the Florida Administrative Code does set
standards of professionalism that managers must obey, such as requiring
honesty in their dealings, he said.
Gelfand said his answers should not be considered legal advice and he
suggested readers needing more information contact their attorneys.