Article Courtesy of
The Sun Marco Sun-Times
By Maury Dailey
December 22, 2004
condominium lifestyle in Florida is extremely popular. But sometimes there's
trouble in paradise. Gov. Bush recently set up an ombudsman position to
address conflicts between condominium owners and condominium boards.
It's easy to see why condominiums are in such high
demand. You can live in a condominium and go away on a trip or go north after
season by just locking your door and walking away. The condo association,
through its manager, takes care of maintaining common areas like the
landscaping, parking lot and pool areas. It also offers the possibility to use
the condominium as a rental investment. No wonder condominiums are so popular
in vacation areas.
But along with all of that popularity putting owners
together with varying backgrounds can cause a variety of issues. Sometimes new
condominium owners believe that those most fit to serve on the condominium
board of directors are those that stay here year round. It seems to make sense
for meetings and follow-up on building issues. But those "locals"
sometimes make changes to the condo rules and regulations to fit their
interests and not necessarily the interests of the rest of the condo owners.
Many of the condo owners are unwilling to question what
their board does since they're unwilling to get involved themselves. So
certain issues get addressed that can end up costing a lot of money and
impacting everyone. Landscape expenses can grow. Adding more plant material
that needs maintenance adds to the budget. Sometimes security or added
security systems are instituted. Rules and regulations can get changed like
rules on using the pool.
Another area addressed by new condominium boards is
rental policies. Many condominium buyers initially purchase a condominium as a
rental investment. They use the condominium themselves for the first several
years of ownership and rent out their property when they're not using it.
Eventually, they usually take their condominium out of a rental program and
use it exclusively for themselves.
Sometimes there are conflicts that arise between a
condominium board and an owner. The condominium manager plays an important
role as peacemaker and peacekeeper. But sometimes more is needed.
That's why Gov. Bush recently tapped Virgil Rizzo. Rizzo
is a retired attorney and doctor from Fort Lauderdale. He's Florida's first
condominium ombudsman. He will be based in Tallahassee but will also have an
office in South Florida due to the number of condos down here. It'll take
several weeks to get set up. But since the first announcement of his position,
he's been swamped with phone calls.
Until his office gets set up, condominium boards and
owners can contact the Division of Florida Land Sales, Condominiums and Mobile
Homes at their toll free number of (800)226-9101. Of course, calling
Tallahassee for help can be a long stretch. But if you're not making progress
through your board, now you have a new route to solve a problem.
Condominium living is still a great option for the
lifestyle of many people. Ask your professional Realtor on our paradise coast
for additional information about condominiums.
look forward to seeing you around our island paradise.
was the 2003 vice president of the Florida Association of Realtors, SW Florida
Region. He was the 2003 Realtor of the Year and the 2002 President of the
Marco Island Area Association of Realtors. He is the broker/owner of Sunrise
Realty of Florida. You can direct questions and comments to him at [email protected]