We have all heard the environmentalists’ cry about the Dead Sea shrinking. Water levels are falling at an average rate of three feet per year due to evaporation and human diversion of tributaries. The opposite conundrum – sea level rise – is not occurring quite as rapidly but is equally as concerning.
Community association law is an area of practice that has experienced considerable growth in the past few years. As a result, many unqualified lawyers are jumping on the community association bandwagon. Therefore, your board should do its homework before hiring an attorney.
Whether you know it or not, the roads traveling through your subdivision are likely easements created for the purpose of providing ingress/egress access to public streets. And whether you know it or not, those easements may also benefit neighboring properties, giving them access through your subdivision to a point of entry on a public road.
While solar panels are often considered unsightly, they are a renewable energy device. For an individual home, they must be permitted by a homeowners association. However, they can be regulated. The relevant statute regarding solar panels is Section 163.04, Florida Statutes, which provides that no ordinances or laws can prohibit “the installation of solar collectors, clotheslines, or other energy devices based on renewable resources.” The Statute is not limited in it
Every director who sits on the board of a homeowners association gets a voice in the operations of the association. The questions I receive are more about how that voice is exercised through a vote. For instance, some directors travel quite a bit, whether for work or play is irrelevant. The directors however are entitled to notice of the board meetings and can participate by telephone, casting their vote via phone at the time of the meeting. But what about voting by proxy in an HOA, is that allowed? No, the Homeowners’ Association Act specifically prohibits a director from voting via proxy on matters that come before the board. Similar prohibitions exist in the Florida Condominium Act and the Florida Cooperative Act, so it is important to keep this in mind.
Special assessments happen. The unfortunate reality is that during the life of a condominium building some unexpected expenses are going to arise and the association must take steps to fulfill its obligations to the membership. If the operating budget cannot handle these expenses, and there is not a funded reserve account which can dray the cost, then it is likely that a special assessment will need to be levied.
I have previously written a few articles for our Community Update about the website requirement for condominiums operating at least 150 units. Just recently, I represented a condominium that was being investigated by the Division of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), for among other things, failing to have a website.