Q: How much can a condominium association charge to review and approve a lease application received from a proposed annual renter? Can the same fee be charged for a seasonal renter? G.F.
A: Section 718.112(2)(i) of the Condominium Act states that no transfer fee shall be made by an association or its agent (e.g. management company) in connection with the sale, mortgage, lease, sublease, or other transfer of a unit unless the association is required to approve such transfer and a fee for such approval is provided for in the declaration, articles of incorporation, or bylaws. This statute goes on to state that a transfer fee must be preset and may not exceed $100 per applicant and a husband/wife or parent/dependent child is considered one applicant. If the lease is a renewal with the same lessee then the association cannot impose another transfer fee.
Most association governing documents that authorize transfer approval fees make no distinction between annual renters and seasonal renters. If the governing documents do make a distinction between the transfer fees charged to annual renters and seasonal renters then the monetary amounts contained in the governing documents should be followed (as long as the monetary cap referenced above is not exceeded).
Q: My Naples homeowners association is in a dispute with our landscaping company. The landscaping company ultimately filed suit against the association in Orange County court in Orlando? Don’t they have to file the lawsuit in Collier County court since that is where the association is located? T.K.
A: The terms of the landscaping contract may, and most contracts do, set forth the “venue” for adjudication of disputes (the County where lawsuits will be heard). If the contract calls for the venue to be Orange County then the landscaping company can file the lawsuit there even though it is nearly 200 miles from your community.
Every community association should closely review any contract it plans to sign so that the board is aware of provisions contained therein, including venue. My typical advice is to insist that venue be the county in which the community is located. Having to fight a legal battle in a courtroom far away can make an already difficult situation more burdensome for a variety of obvious reasons including the need to travel and retain local counsel who may not have a relationship with your association.
Q: One of the directors on the board at my condominium association is very rude and disruptive at board meetings. Nothing gets done because of the chaos he causes. How do we get him recalled? P.T.
A: Section 718.112(2)(j) of Florida Condominium Act states that any member of the board may be recalled and removed from office with or without cause by a vote or agreement in writing by a majority of the voting interests. There are specific provisions governing the recall process outlined in the Condominium Act and the Florida Administrative Code and the Division of Florida Condominiums has promulgated forms which are available on line and which must be used when pursuing a recall. These requirements should be closely reviewed by the persons pursuing the recall and the directors who are the subject of the recall effort.
Attorney David G. Muller is a shareholder with the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff, P.A., Naples (www.beckerlawyers.com). The information provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The publication of this column does not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader and Becker & Poliakoff, P.A. or any of our attorneys. Readers should not act or refrain from acting based upon the information contained in this article without first contacting an attorney, if you have questions about any of the issues raised herein. The hiring of an attorney is a decision that should not be based solely on advertisements or this column.
This article originally appeared in the Naples Daily News.