Q: I am in the process of getting property insurance for my condominium unit. My insurance company will not issue a policy until they review the master insurance policy that the association has in place for the buildings. I called the management company for a copy of the policy, but they have not sent it to me. I thought I had a legal right to this information (L.S., via e-mail)
A: The Florida Condominium Act requires the association to maintain certain records and documents as part of the “official records” of the corporation. The association’s current insurance policies are part of the “official records.”
The official records of the association must be made available to a unit owner within ten (10) working days after receipt of a written request to the board or its designee, which would normally include the community association manager. Therefore, a phone call is not legally sufficient.
If you submit a written request to review the current insurance policies, the association must make them available for inspection and, if you choose, copying. The association can also make its records available via the internet, but that is an optional procedure under current law.
The law does not require the association to mail out official records, you (or your designated representative) must “come to the records” unless the association makes them available by internet or engages in records policies more liberal than mandated by the statute, which many do.
Q: I own a lot and home in a community that has a number of amenities, including a golf course and clubhouse. As owners in the community, we have to be members of both the association and of the golf club. Recently, I had an argument with one of the employees of the association at the clubhouse. While I admit that I was in the wrong, I have received a letter from the association advising me that they plan on holding a “hearing” concerning the incident and intend to suspend my rights to use the facilities, including the golf course, for some period of time. I own part of the golf course, they cannot prevent me from using it, can they? (J.G., via e-mail)
A: In all likelihood, yes.
It sounds like you live in a “bundled” community where the membership in the association includes use rights in the golf course. The community is most likely governed by Chapter 720 of the Florida Statutes, known as the Florida Homeowners’ Association Act.
The Act permits an association to impose common facility use right suspensions against owners and their tenants, guests, and invitees. The association may suspend those rights for a “reasonable” period of time for the failure to comply with any provision of the association’s governing documents, which include the rules and regulations.
The association must follow the appropriate process for imposing the suspension which includes written notice of a hearing before an impartial committee. Such notice must be provided at least fourteen (14) days in advance of the hearing. The letter you received may be your statutorily required notice of the hearing where the issue of your suspension will be considered. If the committee votes to approve the suspension, the association may then impose it. The committee can also essentially veto the suspension.
I can’t say whether your conduct with an employee violated the rules, though most communities with golf, dining, or other extensive recreational facilities have rules of this nature for presumably obvious reasons. As to your technical legal question, you don’t really “own” part of the golf course (legal title is probably held by the association), though that would not make a legal difference because the condominium laws (where title to common property is usually held directly by the owners) also have the same type of suspension procedure available.