Condominium By laws Are Important. Don’t Ignore them.

Why Is It Important to Know Condominium By laws?

Condominium By Laws

Photo By Daniel Oines

Condominium living provides numerous advantages that appeal to an increasing number of homeowners. The concept of condominium ownership has been present in Florida over several decades. However, the complex legal necessities are frequently unfamiliar to most condominium owners and purchasers. The term condominium is a type of property ownership where a ‘unit’ is exclusively owned by an individual and the common elements are jointly owned by all unit owners residing in the condominium. This is not to be confused with co-ops. Co-ops are mostly found up north but do exist in Florida as well. Co-ops are not bound by Condominium By laws but more on specific corporate rules as you are essentially buying a share of a company.

What are Condominium Laws?

The Florida Condominium Act has been created to benefit all the parties associated in the process of buying, owning and selling condos. Chapter 718 of Florida Statutes, also referred as the Condominium Act, along with corresponding administrative laws found in Florida Administrative Code, Chapters 61B-15 through 61B-24 are the foundation of pertinent condominium ownership related information that a purchaser must be aware of. The development of a condominium is a lengthy and technical process. The buyer, in addition to the investment considerations, must also keep in mind the significance of the condo documents that at the minimum include the Declaration of Condominium, articles on Incorporation of the Condominium Association, as well as the Condominium By laws of the association. The term Condominium By laws is often used incorrectly as the Declaration of Condominium. The Condominium By laws are merely one item included in the Declaration of Condominium.

The Advantages of Condominium By laws

The Chapter 718.112 of the Florida Statutes highlights at length the different condominium by laws. The buyer must thoroughly examine these by laws. Carelessness may result in preventable complications in the long term. There are quite a few reasons a prospective buyer must inspect the documents and by laws. The most important is that rules and by laws create a level playing field for every owner at the condominium. It precisely outlines the individual as well as undivided ownership of the property whether common elements including recreational facilities and other amenities or the individual ‘unit’. Thus, these laws are vital in indicating the point of possession each owner can exert in the property. While you may not think they are important when buying, when something goes wrong, this is what everyone will be referencing.

Condominium Laws Highlight Responsibilities and Restrictions of Unit Owners

Although a condominium provides various advantages to purchasing a single family home, it also enumerates responsibilities and restrictions that come with condominium ownership.

The financial responsibilities include operational and maintenance costs of the condominium. These costs are financed through the collection of assessments by the condominium association. Each unit owner pays assessment for his share of the common expenditures in accordance to the percentages or proportions laid down in the Declaration of Condominium. The assessment to the unit owner varies depending on the level of services and amenities being provided in that particular condominium. These assessments are often monthly or quarterly and sometimes necessary in specific cases of emergencies.

On the other hand, restrictions on the uses of both the common elements and individual units help in preserving the best interest of all unit owners. Since, every condominium association stipulates its own set of condo documents, an owner can determine specific restrictions only by reviewing those documents.

Investment in a real estate requires an understanding of the market and property evaluation. Property purchase is a huge financial investment with intricate legalities involved in the process. If you are planning to purchase a condominium in Florida, understanding the laws is imperative and familiarity with the legal processes will help you avoid untoward complications in future. If you can’t be bothered to take the time to read the Condominium By laws then have an attorney review them for you.

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Condo Document Rules and their Significance

What are Condo Document Rules?

Condo Document Rules

Photo by Dan Brady

The State of Florida currently is the ‘home’ of millions of condominium units. The explosion in the regional real estate market has given a boost to this ever-increasing realty category. Thanks to this development that has been coupled with Florida’s much sought-after sunny beaches, golf courses, and pristine weather – Florida has been experiencing a major expansion in condominiums.

What Constitute Condominium Documents?

In this State, a condominium is created by filing and subsequent recording of the Declaration of Condominium. This Declaration is the statutorily declared document of the condominium creation. This document is more than simply a contract that spells out the obligations and rights of the parties involved. The Declaration precisely sets forth all the limits and extent of use and enjoyment of the real property and the individual user’s interest therein. The Florida condominiums are governed by the important ‘Condominium Documents’ that generally refers to the Declaration of Condominium, Rules and Regulations, Bylaws, and other significant documents.

The condo document rules are created specifically at the time when the property gets submitted to the State as condominium type of ownership. Condominiums in Florida are also administered by applicable Florida laws apart from the condo document rules. Particularly, the Chapter 718 of the Florida Statutes deals with the governance and operation of condominiums. Numerous condominium documents have been created in the last few decades which are constantly amended and updated by the Associations.  Many of these original Condo Document Rules though are outdated documents as they do not incorporate the various powers and limitations provided in the Florida Statutes’ Chapter 718.

How Can You Obtain Condo Document Rules?

Obtaining condominium documents when you require them for your various property related transactions is not easy. It is always a good idea to keep your personal documents handy. Instead of chasing down different unresponsive agents, management companies, associations, or sellers for the necessary documents, using a single reliable resource is a plausible solution for your condominium document rules. Florida Condominium Association Declarations as well as Amendments are important to be aware of. Typically, the Florida Condominium document rules include a set of Condominium Association Bylaws also incorporating one copy of the budget from when the association was created. An extensive list of the Frequently Asked Questions about the Condominium Association, the building’s architectural drawings and layout of all the units, as well as Rules and Regulations are frequently included as part of the Condominium Documents.

However, to guarantee 100% completion of the set of condo documents you receive, it is vital that you cross check with the Association. There are instances when associations keep extra documents and addendums that have not been properly filed. Additionally the budgets may change every year. Hence, it is recommended that the association be contacted to obtain an updated budget and necessary documents.

Maintain a digital as well as hard copy of all the recorded condo documents from your Association in addition to the available amendments of the documents. Staying informed and updated with essential condominium documentation will ensure and effortless real estate transaction.  To search for your condo docs click here.

 

 

Condo Rules aren’t the Final Say

Condo Rules Aren't the Final SayHere in Florida, there is a requirement with each transfer of property to provide a new purchaser with a copy of the condo rules to review prior to being bound by a contract.  This requirement is actually a great policy in place to protect purchasers but few condo buyers are actually take the time to review the condo rules thoroughly prior to moving forward on their purchase.  The condo rules are binding on you a purchaser within a condominium and the deed of conveyance binds you to these bylaws.  While the condo rules are binding on you, they may not be binding on the local municipality.

The following is a story of a purchaser that we recently heard about who purchased a commercial condo in a converted condominium tower.  At the top of the real estate market many apartment complexes were being purchased and converted into condominiums.  This means that the building or rental complex was owned by one owner.  An investor or developer would purchase the apartment complex and change the ownership structure to condominium.  They would do this by filing a Declaration of Condominium which outlines all the new condo rules that would govern the property.  Once approved by the state, they could sell the units individually to homeowners or investors.  The idea was that they would buy in bulk and sell the units individually to make a profit.

When these Condominiums mostly in Florida were converted, the developers would draft the condominium documents which outlined the condo rules but also created various limited common elements or commercial condo units within the association.  The units were marked as commercial condominiums and approved by the state and recorded in the declaration bylaws.  In the specific story that we just heard about, the purchaser bought the commercial space with the intent to rent them out as office spaces.  The condo rules clearly outlined that the use that he wanted was allowed and that the association had no control or ability to restrict the use of the commercial condos.  What the owner did not check was the local municipality zoning rules.

When the purchaser took the condo rules downtown to get a certificate of use, they stated that the zoning for that particular area where the building was located did not permit commercial use.  The unit that the purchaser had bought was essentially unable to be occupied commercially.  The owner had checked the condo rules and the condo declaration but had not thought about checking with the local zoning.  In summary the purchaser was able to speak with the municipality and explain that the space had always been used commercially and clearly was for this purpose and that the occupants were not causing any nuisance to any of the neighbors or the association and they granted permission to use the space for such but it was quite a surprise to the purchaser to find out what he thought the developer had properly established through recording of the Declaration of Condominium and creating of the condo rules, was not actually done.

In summary, its important to review the condo rules at contract time, but its also important to check the local zoning and regulations within your local municipality or city to make sure your intended use is acceptable.

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What Is Condo Receivership and What Does It Mean as a Homeowner?

What exactly is Condo Receivership anyhow?

Florida Condo Receivership

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As a condo owner or someone who is considering purchasing a condo, the term “receivership” is something that you should be very familiar with. It’s important to understand what Condo Receivership is and why it happens, as well as what you should do about it.

What is Condo Receivership?

Condo Receivership is a term applied when an entity, court or individual has been appointed to take over the management of a condo. This might include things like paying the bills for the condo, collecting income, scheduling repairs and other important administrative tasks. Typically, the receiver would be acting as the board of directors to ensure that everything with the condo gets taken care of.

Why Does This Happen?

There are a few different reasons why a building or association might be placed in condo receivership. One of those is that there aren’t enough people to act on the board and affairs aren’t being taken care of. If the members aren’t able to elect or appoint a board, the owner of the condos can ask the court to appoint a receiver to ensure that the condo is being taken care of properly. Different states have different laws regarding receivership. For instance, in Michigan, receivers can be appointed to take over when the condo owners are delinquent in assessments.  In Florida we are seeing it more and more often.  There are scores of Florida Condominium Associations now being run by Condo Receiverships.  As more and more condo owners are falling behind in condominium dues and delinquencies on the rise, more and more associations are finding themselves being run by court appointed receiverships.

When Warring Factions Can’t Agree

There are some situations in which a condo can be placed in condo receivership because warring factions aren’t able to agree on who is running the association or how it should operate. In a case like this, it’s important for the condo to be taken care of and since no one can determine who should be doing that, the court will do so by placing it in receivership.  While this may appear like a mutual third party to assist in affairs, the costs to homeowners can be a burden resulting in potential condominium assessments on the few remaining condo owners currently paying dues.

The Cost for Receivership

One of the issues with condo receivership is that the receiver can come at a hefty price. When courts place someone in receivership, they tend to go with larger companies that are accustomed to receiving troubled companies that they must manage. The problem is that those receivers must be paid and they’re typically expensive (they can cost $150 to $300 an hour) and they’re not necessarily most concerned with what might be best for the condo community. The issue is that a receiver typically doesn’t know the community the way others might, and might not really have a clue what they’ve been appointed to care for.

What to Do

If your condo is placed in condo receivership, there are a few different things you may have to worry about. There’s a chance you could end up paying higher dues, or that the maintenance needed on the condo will be deferred, etc. You should speak with the homeowners association or the board as well as the individual or company that has been appointed as receiver to find out as much information as possible. You may also want to contact a qualified real estate agent or real estate attorney to ask questions that you may not understand.  Hiding doesn’t make it get better.  Educate yourself and make sure you ask questions.

Overall, it’s important to understand condo receivership and how it’s going to affect you. If you’re not sure how to proceed, contact a qualified real estate agent  or real estate attorney in and inquire about what you should do next.  Look for condominium documents for your Condominium.  Search Now for your Condo Docs

Special thanks to Love And Pieces for the article recommendation.

 

Your Condominium Meeting and Why You Should Be Involved

The Dreaded Condominium Meeting

Condominium Meeting

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You get a notice that your condominium association is planning to have a meeting but you shrug it off, figuring it’s going to be boring topics that you’re not interested in at all. You may decide to just let the committee handle decisions. Before deciding not to show up, you might want to consider actually going. There are a few different reasons why you should be involved in your condominium meetings.

You Should Have a Voice

You never know what kinds of topics may come up at your condominium meeting and it’s important that you have a voice. The last thing you want to happen is for something to be voted on and you find out that you don’t care for the decision that was made. Had you attended meetings, you would have had a voice as well, or another solution the committee could have voted on.

Decisions Effect You

Decisions made in a condominium meeting affect everyone; from the renters to the landlord to the owner, etc. Knowing that important decisions could be made that will affect you, don’t you think you should be a part of those decisions? You may have a unique view on a topic that’s particularly troubling to the board and can offer a great solution that keeps everyone happy. However, if you don’t go, those views will never get discussed.

Protecting Renter’s Rights

Whether you’re the owner of the condominium or the landlord, you should go to your condominium meeting even if it’s just to protect renter’s rights. While the majority of condominium boards are populated by wise, compassionate individuals, there are a few that are simply full of “condo commandos” who are bound and determined to make things go their way. When you attend the meetings you can be sure the renter’s best interests are being taken into consideration. While it may be the renter that could be adversely affected, most often its the investor owner who runs the risk of new rules hurting property values when you want to sell your property.

Specific Topics

You should know what sorts of topics are being discussed in regards to your condominium. Is there a particular stubborn problem that the board can’t seem to solve? Are the issues the regular, day to day issues that most condominiums face? It’s important to be aware of the things the committee is discussing and what they’re doing. They determine the fees and dues that are to be collected as well as what that money is spent on, from repairs to luxuries. You should have a voice and a vote when it comes to these topics and you should be aware of the issues within the committee.

Most committee meetings don’t take up a lot of time and don’t require much effort, so it’s more beneficial for you to go and stay involved than to simply allow the committee to handle it. By attending the Condominium meeting, you can be sure you have a voice and are included when important topics are discussed that affect your Condominium.

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Condo Bylaws & Condo Commandos

Condo Bylaws

Condo Rules and Regulations

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Whether you’re considering moving into a condo or you’re serving on a condo board, you may have run into what many people refer to as a “condo commando.” These are the individuals who feel as if they create all the condo bylaws, and are often so intimidating that others don’t question their reign. By understanding condo commandos, you can see why they’re not always the best enforcer of the condo bylaws.

What Exactly is a Condo Commando?

Typically, this kind of person serves on the condo board and may even be the president of the board. They have a “know it all” attitude and really leave others feeling like they have no voice in important matters. It can be difficult to deal with these types of people, but it can be done.

While excellent and dedicated condo directors can make changes for the best and can lead with a shining example, there are some that simply want everything done his or her way. The problem with this is that condo boards are created for a reason. Condo buildings are typically multi-million dollar holdings and one person with a dictator desire could put it at risk. It’s important to deal with them and ensure that everyone on the board has an equal voice and opinion in important matters including amending and interpreting the condo bylaws.

Take Action but follow your Condo Bylaws

Whether you’re on the board or you’re an owner of a condo in the unit, it’s important to take action if a condo commando is trying to take over. You can be successful if others have issues with this person as well, and they see the potential damage the individual could inflict. One great way to deal with this type of person is to create a petition asking the condo commando to resign. If they should refuse to resign, then the board should be willing to back up their petition by forcing them out of his or her position of reign.  Make sure you are checking your condo bylaws to abide by them to a “T.”

If you don’t feel as though things are bad enough for a resignation, you can create a petition for them to hear your demands.  This could include you and other homeowners presenting a united front with the board once a decision has been voted on. It could include the demand that everyone has an equal opportunity to speak and to voice his or her opinion. Simply state the demands that you’ll require if this person is to remain in his or her position of power.

By taking control of an ugly situation in your Condominium Association quickly, you can ensure that minimal damage is done under his or her power all by abiding by the condo bylaws. It’s important that board members have equal say and that important issues involve everyone.

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