Becker & Poliakoff

Florida Co-Op Attorney

Each Florida co-op attorney at Becker is prepared to represent cooperative developers, management companies, boards, and other clients statewide. 

In Florida, the cooperative ownership structure is far less typical than other forms of common ownership housing. This is due to a variety of factors, some of which are more relevant to cooperative developers, management companies, and boards than others. At Becker, we are well-versed in all forms of common ownership housing, including condominiums and cooperatives. We represent developers and management companies across the Sunshine State, and our Florida co-op attorneys work closely with each of our clients.

Is your company in the process of exploring a co-op development opportunity? Have you encountered problems during the development process? Do you need legal counsel for establishing a cooperative entity? Do you need legal counsel for managing a co-op on an ongoing basis? If so, we can help.

About Becker | A Florida Co-Op Law Firm with Decades of Experience

Established in 1973, our firm has worked with cooperatives and other community and housing associations since the beginning. Our lawyers are intimately familiar with Florida’s co-op laws – in large part because they helped create them. We have guided numerous developers through the process of establishing cooperatives, from land acquisition through the sale of shares, and we have helped developers, management companies, boards, and other clients resolve disputes in cases that set precedents and shaped the common law in our clients’ favor.

We have the largest dedicated team of board-certified attorneys in condominium and planned development law in Florida, and many of our Florida co-op attorneys are active in legislative and industry leadership activities. If you build, convert, or manage co-ops, we know your business. We can help you protect it, and we can help you drive it forward.

Our Legal Services for Florida Cooperatives

We provide comprehensive, full-service legal representation for Florida cooperative developers, management companies, boards, and other clients. The services that a Florida co-op attorney at our firm can provide include:

  • Land Acquisition, Development, and Construction – We assist co-op developers with real estate financing, due diligence, development planning, contract negotiations, and construction management.
  • Compliance with Chapter 719 of the Florida Statutes – Chapter 719 is the primary source of legal authority governing cooperatives in Florida. We help our clients establish, document, and maintain compliance.
  • General Legal and Regulatory Compliance – We assist our co-op clients with general legal and regulatory compliance as well. This includes compliance with all pertinent local, state and federal laws, rules, regulations, and decisions.
  • Formation and Structuring of the Co-Op Corporation – Proper formation and structuring of the co-op corporation is essential to successful cooperative management. Our Florida co-op attorneys bring centuries of combined experience to the table.
  • Drafting Proprietary Leases and Occupancy Agreements – Our attorneys also rely on their significant experience to draft custom-tailored proprietary leases and occupancy agreements for our clients. We assist with negotiations, amendments, and enforcement efforts as well.
  • Selling Cooperative Shares – There are several legal issues to be addressed before selling cooperative shares. We help make sure our clients are ready, and then we provide ongoing advice and representation as needed.
  • Dealing with Lenders, Insurers, and Others – Due to the unique nature of cooperatives, purchasers often run into issues with their lenders and insurers. By familiarizing themselves with these issues and the ways they can be overcome, developers and management companies can help speed up closing times and maximize the profitability of their properties.
  • Board-Related Issues – Filling board vacancies, dealing with allegations of fiduciary misconduct and other board-related issues are common challenges in the co-op sphere. With our attorneys’ extensive experience in co-op law, we are uniquely positioned to help our clients overcome these challenges when they arise.
  • Resolving Disputes with Co-Op Owners – Disputes with co-op owners can involve a wide range of issues. From disputes involving common expenses to disputes involving owners’ rights to modify the interior of their individual units, we help our clients work to resolve all types of owner-related disputes as efficiently as possible.
  • In-House Counsel Services – With the myriad legal issues co-op developers, management companies and boards can face on a daily basis, many of our cooperative clients have opted for our outsourced in-house counsel services. We offer custom-tailored in-house counsel solutions that are designed to comprehensively and cost-effectively meet our clients’ legal needs.

FAQs: Understanding the Complexities and Limitations of Florida’s Co-Op Laws

Are proprietary leases and occupancy agreements both available as options for cooperatives in Florida?

Yes. While other states have more regulations around the types of rights cooperatives must offer their shareholders, Florida’s co-op law is relatively relaxed in this regard. In Florida, co-ops can offer proprietary leases or occupancy agreements depending on how they prefer to structure and manage the relationship with individual shareholders.

Are there steps cooperatives can take to make it easier for potential shareholders to obtain financing and insurance?

Yes. There are steps cooperatives can – and generally should – take to remove barriers for prospective shareholders. For example, in many cases, lenders will require a “recognition agreement” before extending a loan for a co-op share purchase. So, by having a standard recognition agreement on hand, co-ops can help facilitate financed sales. Understanding underwriters’ requirements for co-op insurance and having the necessary documentation readily available can be helpful as well.

What options are available for enforcing cooperative shareholders’ financial and other obligations?

While there are various options for enforcing cooperative shareholders’ obligations (i.e., liens and collection actions), care must be taken to ensure compliance with Chapter 719 when pursuing enforcement. Statutory violations can potentially have serious consequences, but they can also be easily avoided with forethought and planning. If you have questions about enforcing cooperative shareholders’ obligations, we encourage you to contact us for more information before taking action.

Speak with a Florida Co-Op Attorney at Becker

Contact us to schedule an appointment with a Florida co-op attorney at Becker today.