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Old 03-31-2021, 05:53 AM
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Default Florida Real Estate Law

Greetings!

Is anyone familiar with real estate law, more specifically, relating to condo associations? I have a quick and simple question....

Thanks!
Old 03-31-2021, 06:09 AM
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Why not simply ask it?
Old 03-31-2021, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Tingum View Post
Why not simply ask it?
As much as I love and appreciate all of the input/advice that the THT community provides, I need an answer from a professional, not someone that stayed in a Holiday Inn last night.... Unless a real estate lawyer actually did stay in a Holiday Inn last night...
Old 03-31-2021, 07:26 AM
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I'd like to hear it too. We own a condo and my wife's on the board.

Old 03-31-2021, 07:49 AM
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I have been in real estate, mortgage & rentals for 20 years....not an attorney (my good friend is) nor did I sleep at a holiday inn.
Old 03-31-2021, 08:01 AM
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I'm also in Real Estate, for the past 23 years I have been in the mortgage business. I have also owned multiple condos as investments and been president of the Association board and was also the Master Association President for 10 years. We just sold all of them over the past 2 years. Feel free to PM me your info or question.
Old 03-31-2021, 08:39 AM
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You can probably get a preliminary feel for what you seek by consulting Florida Statutes Chapter 718.

Statutes & Constitution :View Statutes : Online Sunshine
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Old 03-31-2021, 10:39 AM
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OK, I'll ask the question openly, as maybe it'll help someone out in the future. I own a top floor condo in a two-story building. There was evidence of roof leaks when we bought it, as indicated by multiple ceiling repairs and stains. The roof began actively leaking in November, damaging the ceiling. It took over 2 months for the association to get a roofer out to address the issue, and over that time, the interior damage spread. The roofer has told the association that the roof is well beyond its useful life, and told me he would be "chasing leaks" until it was replaced. He said an estimate had already been submitted to the association. The association told me the roof was under review to be replaced. despite having active leaks. The roof is now actively leaking to the point where water is dripping into the condo, and the damage has now become significant.

I asked the association to cover the interior damage, as I believe they have not acted in a responsible/expeditious manner to resolve the issue, and they refused. Can I sue them in small claims court for the interior damage?
Old 03-31-2021, 10:42 AM
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My thoughts - How much is it to repair the damage? Is it worth the time of the lawsuit and potentially making everyones dues increase as a result? Not saying you cant or I wouldn't but it sure wouldn't be the best way to make your neighbors your friends.
Old 03-31-2021, 10:59 AM
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You can sue anybody, anytime - doesn't mean you'll be successful. For a start, the Homeowners documents and bylaws will probably, in specific terms, set the responsibility of the owner and the association. The documents MAY also provide for the responsibility of downstream issues (as in the leaking roof causing sub sequential damage. Unless you've incurred damages and repaired those damages, you haven't experienced (monetary) damages generally required in small claims court. Additionally, you might check the limits of small claims filings to be sure your estimated damages do not already exceed that level.

You didn't say the formality of your objection/request to the HOA; was it in writing? certified mail? or merely conversation?

I would hire an attorney schooled in Associations and have him write a demand letter to the association to repair the roof AND the downstream damages caused by their failure to act in a timely fashion. You could alternatively write the letter yourself but the atty will add a lot of weight to your demand. This kind of stuff can get complicated but a good atty can sift through the paperwork in short order (a local guy may have already dealt with this association). Look at the association on the county clerk records and see if other filings have been made. These are public records and easily obtainable. If other filings are on the record, it may give you a line on an attorney already familiar with the bylaws.
Old 03-31-2021, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Commocean View Post
OK, I'll ask the question openly, as maybe it'll help someone out in the future. I own a top floor condo in a two-story building. There was evidence of roof leaks when we bought it, as indicated by multiple ceiling repairs and stains. The roof began actively leaking in November, damaging the ceiling. It took over 2 months for the association to get a roofer out to address the issue, and over that time, the interior damage spread. The roofer has told the association that the roof is well beyond its useful life, and told me he would be "chasing leaks" until it was replaced. He said an estimate had already been submitted to the association. The association told me the roof was under review to be replaced. despite having active leaks. The roof is now actively leaking to the point where water is dripping into the condo, and the damage has now become significant.

I asked the association to cover the interior damage, as I believe they have not acted in a responsible/expeditious manner to resolve the issue, and they refused. Can I sue them in small claims court for the interior damage?
Hire an attorney. You have options.
Old 03-31-2021, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by tcijoe View Post
My thoughts - How much is it to repair the damage? Is it worth the time of the lawsuit and potentially making everyones dues increase as a result? Not saying you cant or I wouldn't but it sure wouldn't be the best way to make your neighbors your friends.
You are an idiot my friend. Don't give advice.
Old 03-31-2021, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by airbrush View Post
You didn't say the formality of your objection/request to the HOA; was it in writing? certified mail? or merely conversation?
The request and subsequent denial are captured in emails. My hope was to avoid a full suit with an attorney. As with a letter from a lawyer, I was hoping a subpoena served by the Sheriff's Office would hold similar weight. I have no idea how much further damage will occur until the roof is finally addressed, but I can certainly get estimates on the current damage. I'm just a bit frustrated by the lack of urgency on their part, as I've been sending the property manager continued pictures of the growing damage in the unit.
Old 03-31-2021, 11:26 AM
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Keep the documentation flowing but change your method to certified letters. What's the formal name of the association? What county?

Hiring an atty doesn't mean a lawsuit; but rather a more formalized method of communication that insures you're covering the right bases.
Old 03-31-2021, 02:44 PM
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Subpoena what?, lawyer up, I slept in a HI 3 years ago.

p.s Don't need to make your neighbors your "friends" they don't sleep under a leaky roof or pay your Condom maintenance.
Old 03-31-2021, 05:13 PM
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My understanding is that in Florida each owner is responsible for the cost of repairing water damage to their own unit, regardless of fault or source. The rationale is that owners all carry insurance (or decide to self-insure in rare cases), so this way there is no time or money spent pointing fingers or trying to collect from someone. The insurance companies pay the claim, but no one incurs legal or other expenses expenses. Then total annual cost to the Florida insurance companies is the same if it is a fault system or a no-fault system ---i.e., the total of all insured claims--but they and the homeowners don't have to pay the lawyers., so theoretically, consumers are better off on the whole.

That is only my understanding, though, and to be certain you would need to find a good condo lawyer (of which there are many in Florida!). This is probably an easy question for a condo lawyer so it should be relatively inexpensive to confirm.
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Old 03-31-2021, 05:24 PM
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Ahhh One of the reasons I will never own a condo!
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Old 03-31-2021, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Prassa View Post
My understanding is that in Florida each owner is responsible for the cost of repairing water damage to their own unit, regardless of fault or source. The rationale is that owners all carry insurance (or decide to self-insure in rare cases), so this way there is no time or money spent pointing fingers or trying to collect from someone. The insurance companies pay the claim, but no one incurs legal or other expenses expenses. Then total annual cost to the Florida insurance companies is the same if it is a fault system or a no-fault system ---i.e., the total of all insured claims--but they and the homeowners don't have to pay the lawyers., so theoretically, consumers are better off on the whole.

That is only my understanding, though, and to be certain you would need to find a good condo lawyer (of which there are many in Florida!). This is probably an easy question for a condo lawyer so it should be relatively inexpensive to confirm.
Your statement above is true if the source of the damage is from another individual unit owner, as Florida is a no fault state. However, when the damage done to the unit is from the common elements it is the corporation's responsibility (the homeowner's association is the corporation).

This sounds like crappy management from your board of directors and the management company. But, the management company works at the direction of the board of directors, so they likely don't have any liability. The downside of suing the HOA is that they will be fighting you with HOA $$ (part of which is yours) and you will be using your $$. This is not about being a "good neighbor" as someone above said. Screw that, you need to protect your property from the lack of maintenance/management on the building. Get a lawyer to send them a strongly worded letter, it will get their attention. You trying to do in small claims court will be a mess and they likely won't take it seriously. Also, I would bet that your not the only one that is having a similar problem if the roof is in poor condition. Final note, prepare yourself for an assessment, as it sounds like they are trying to kick the can down the road due to lack of reserve funds.
Old 03-31-2021, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by MikeMadBch View Post
Final note, prepare yourself for an assessment, as it sounds like they are trying to kick the can down the road due to lack of reserve funds.
Based on their latest financial statement, the reserves are quite healthy, so it baffles me why they're delaying the roof replacement. In the meantime, every rain shower results in more extensive damage, and being 4 months into this, I'm now concerned with mold.
Old 03-31-2021, 08:40 PM
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Small claims is limited to I believe 5K. Keep all your correspondence and docs and get an attorney.

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