Hundreds gather in Davie to demand changes in condo laws

By Joe Kollin 
Staff Writer 
Posted October 29, 2003 


DAVIE · From the condominium board that forced a 77-year-old woman out of the apartment she owned because she owed the association 4 cents to those that spend owners' money with impunity, a state task force heard hundreds of reasons Tuesday why state condo laws need to be rewritten.


Although the noisiest in the audience of about 400 were demanding the House Select Committee on Condominium Governance change the laws, the public hearing at Bailey Hall at the Broward Community College Campus in Davie also included veteran condo directors who argued they aren't needed. What is needed, they insist, is condo owners willing to serve as directors and stop complaining about everything their boards do.

Committee Chairman Julio Robaina, R-Miami, said the eight members will meet elsewhere in the state, including Orlando, Jacksonville and Naples, review comments from condo residents with state lawyers, and decide what should be changed. It will report to House Speaker Johnnie Byrd, and recommendations will go to the full House early next year.

Keith Taylor, from left, and Karen Augustus, both of Pembroke Isles, and Philip Castronova and Jean Winters of Boca Raton attend a hearing conducted by the House Select Committee on Condominium Association Governance.

House committee members, who met for the first time in Miami last month, said they have been hearing nothing but "horror stories" about condominiums. Members promised action.

"We'll make sure the [condo] owner can have the state on their side and not have to seek their own legal counsel," said Rep. Juan Zapata, R-Miami.

Condo residents asked the committee to outlaw condo assessments based on the size of the apartment rather than equal cost for each owner; asked for a law to make community association managers more accountable to owners; and asked to give the state Bureau of Condominiums more authority to resolve disputes without making all owners in an association pay for the mistakes of their directors.