RESOURCES



Condominium Law

Statutes, Codes & Definitions in General

Association Specific Considerations, Rights & Requirements

Rights of Renters, Owners & Actions Against the Association

The Association Board, Committees & Meetings

Assessment & Fees


 Q: What laws and documents affect condominiums?

A: Condominiums are affected by Florida Statutes, Florida Administrative Code, the declaration of condominium, the articles of incorporation, the bylaws of the association, and the rules and regulations promulgated by the condo board.

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 Q: What section of the Florida Statutes applies to condominiums?

A: “In Florida, condominiums are creatures of statute and as such are subject to the control and regulation of the Legislature.” Century Vilage, Inc. v. Wellington Condominium Ass’n, 361 So. 123452d 128, 133 (Fla. 1978).  Florida condominium law is found in Chapter 718, Florida Statutes, known and cited as the “Condominium Act.”  Chapter 718 consists of seven parts. Part I discusses the general provisions of condominium law.  Part II discusses the developer’s rights and obligations.  Part III discusses the association’s rights and obligations.  Part IV discusses special types of condominiums.  Part V discusses the regulation and disclosure prior to the sale of residential condominiums.  Part VI discusses conversions to condominium, and Part VII discusses relief for distressed condominiums.
Source:  Fla. Stat. § 718.101, et seq. (2012).

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 Q: What section of the Florida Administrative Code applies to condominiums?

A: The Condominium Act grants to the Division of Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes the authority to promulgate administrative rules intended to implement, enforce or interpret the Condominium Act.  The rules are incorporated into the Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.) as part of Chapters 61B-1 through 61B-19 (general rules) and 61B-20 through 61B-25 (condominium specific rules).”

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 Q: What is the declaration of condominium?

A: The declaration of condominium is the document or the set of documents that actually creates the condominium.  Condominiums are created when the declaration of condominium is recorded in the public records of the county where the land is located, executed and acknowledged with the requirements for a deed.  All units described in the declaration as being located in or on the land then being submitted to condominium ownership shall come into existence.  Section 718.104, Florida Statutes describes all that is required to be included in the declaration.  The declaration includes within its definition any amendments which may be made to it, and all exhibits which are attached and incorporated by reference.  The typical exhibits to the declaration include the document or documents creating the association, a copy of the bylaws, a survey of the land, a graphic description of the land, and a plot as demonstrated by building plans, floor plans, maps, surveys, or sketches.
Source:  Fla. Stat. § 718.104 (2012).

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 Q:  What are the articles of incorporation?

A: The articles of incorporation is the original document creating the association. The Articles of Incorporation may establish either a for profit or not for profit corporation to establish the condominium. Under most circumstances, the articles of incorporation establish a “corporation not-for-profit” under Chapter 617 of the Florida Statutes to govern the condominium.

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 Q:  What are the “bylaws” of the condominium?

A: The bylaws of the association govern the operation of the association, which may include methods of adopting and amending administrative rules and regulations governing the use of common elements, the restrictions and regulations regarding the use, maintenance, and the appearance of the units and their use of the common elements, provisions for giving electronic notice for board, committee, annual, and special meetings. The bylaws may also contain other provisions that are not inconsistent with the provisions regarding condominiums or with the declaration, as may be desired.
Source:  10 Fla. Jur 2d Condominiums, Etc. § 105

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 Q:  What are the “rules and regulations” of the condominium?

A: The condominium association has the authority to pass reasonable rules and regulations that relate to the elements of the condominium that affect the owners as a whole, such as whether pets are allowed, the use of parking spaces and the weight of vehicles. Rules and regulations are created to promote the health, happiness, and peace of mind of the majority of the unit owners since they are living in close proximity and using common facilities. However, these rules may not be arbitrary or capricious. Additionally, compared to the restrictions within the declaration of the condominium, the rules and regulations do not have a strong presumption of validity and enforceability.
Source:  See Unit Owners Ass’n of Buildamerica-1 v. Gillman, 292 S.E. 2d 378, 385 (Va. 1982);   Juno By the Sea North Condominium Ass’n (The Towers), Inc. v. Manfredonia, 397 So. 2d 297, 298 (Fla. 4th DCA 1980). Hidden Harbour Estates, Inc. v. Norman, 309 So. 2d 180, 181-82 (Fla. 4th DCA 1975). Id. at n.45.

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 Q: Is the association required to maintain official records?

A: The official records of the association must be maintained within the state for at least 7 years.  The official records of the association are open to inspection by any association member or the authorized representative of such member at all reasonable times.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.111(12)(b)(2013); Fla. Stat. § 718.111(12)(c)(2013).

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 Q: What items are considered official records of the association?

A: A copy of the plans, permits, warranties, and other items provided by the developer pursuant to Fla. Stat. § 718.301(4); a photocopy of the recorded declaration and each amendment; a photocopy of the recorded bylaws and each amendment; a certified copy of the articles of incorporation and any amendments; a copy of the current rules of the association; minutes of all meetings of the association, the board, and the unit owners; a current roster of all unit owners, including their mailing addresses, unit identifications, voting certifications, telephone numbers if known, and email addresses of unit owners consenting to receive notice by electronic transmission; current insurance policies of the association; current copy of any management agreements, leases or other contracts; bills of sale for all property owned by the association; accounting records for the association and separate accounting records for each condominium that the association operates including records of all receipts and expenditures, a current statement of account for each unit, all financial reporting statements and, all bids and contracts for work to be performed; ballots, sign-in sheets, and voting proxies for only one year; all rental records; a copy of the current question and answer sheet according to Fla. Stat. § 718.504; a copy of the inspection report; and, all other records relating to the operation of the association.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.111(12)(a) (2012).

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 Q: Are there any records of the Association that should not be accessible to unit owners?

A: Unit owners shall not have access to a record that was: 1) prepared by an association attorney or prepared at the attorney’s express direction which reflects a mental impression, conclusion, litigation strategy or legal theory that was prepared exclusively for civil or criminal litigation until the conclusion of the case, as this correspondence is protected by the attorney-client privilege; 2) information obtained in connection with the approval of the lease, sale, or other transfer of a unit; 3) personal records of association or management company employees, such as disciplinary, payroll, health, and insurance records, but does not include written employment agreements that indicate  compensation paid to an association employee; 4) medical records of unit owners; 5) Personal information of the unit owner, excluding  the owner’s name, contact information and, unit designation; 6) electronic security data; and (7) the software and operating system used by the association.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.111(12)(c) (2012).

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 Q: Who are members of the Association?

A: All unit owners are members of the association as an appurtenance to their ownership of a condominium unit, but no owner may act for the association simply by being a member.
Source: Fla. Stat. § Section 718.111(1) (2012).

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 Q: Does the Association have a right to access condominium units?

A: Yes, in some circumstances.  The association has the irrevocable right of access to each unit when necessary for maintenance, repair, or replacement of any common element or of any portion of a unit to be maintained by the association pursuant to the declaration.  Furthermore, the association may access a unit as necessary to prevent damage to common elements or to another unit.  Access must occur during reasonable hours.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.111(5) (2012).

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 Q: Can an association self-manage or do they need to hire a manager?

A: An association cannot delegate its responsibility to operate and maintain the condominium, but it can delegate the authority to carry out the board’s policy.  To that end, many associations choose to contract with an outside individual or managing entity, however the Condominium Act does not require any condominium association to do so.  The association may be self-managed if it so chooses, with implementation of the board’s policy being carried out by volunteers and/or committees.  If an association decides to hire an independent management company to manage the condominium, there must be a written contract that complies with the requirements of Section 718.3025, Florida Statutes.  Furthermore, if the condominium contains more than 10 units or has an annual budget in excess of $100,000, then the manager is required to be licensed as a Community Association Manager (CAM) under Section 468, Florida Statutes.
Source: Fla. Stat. §§ 468.431, 718.111(3), and 718.3025 (2012).

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 Q: May the association pay a board member for his or her services as a board member?

A: Not usually.  Florida statute provides that board members are not entitled to compensation for their services unless the bylaws specifically provide that compensation be paid. This applies to board members as well as directors and officers of the association.  If compensation is allowed by the bylaws, the conditions for compensation should be strictly followed.   The compensated individuals should not be allowed to select or increase their compensation unless expressly authorized to do so by the bylaws. Although compensation may not be allowed to most officers, they may be entitled to be reimbursement for reasonable expenses incurred in their duty.  The board should require a specific accounting before reimbursement is made.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.112(2)(a)(1) (2012).

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 Q: Can the association fine a unit owner for a condominium rule violation?

A: Yes.  The Condominium Act gives the association limited fining power to enforce the condominium documents.  The association may levy reasonable fines for the failure of the owner of a unit, or its tenant or guest, to comply with any provision of the condominium documents. A fine or suspension may not be imposed unless the association first provides at least 14 days’ written notice and an opportunity for a hearing to the unit owner and, if applicable, its occupant, licensee, or invitee. The hearing must be held before a committee of other unit owners who are neither board members nor persons residing in a board member’s household. If the committee does not agree, the fine or suspension may not be imposed.  Likewise, an association may suspend, for a reasonable period of time, the right of a unit owner, or a unit owner’s tenant, guest, or invitee, to use the common elements, common facilities, or any other association property for failure to comply with any provision of the condominium documents.  However, no fine can become a lien against the unit.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.303(3) (2012).

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 Q: How much can the association fine a unit owner for a condominium rule violation?

A: The association may fine a unit owner up to $100 per violation.  For continuing violations, the fine may be levied for each day of violation, up to a maximum aggregate of $1,000.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.303(3) (2012).

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 Q: Can a condominium association restrict the sale or rental of a condo unit?

A: Generally, yes.  The Condominium Act expressly permits a declaration of condominium to “include covenants and restrictions concerning . . . transfer of the units.”  Thus, an association may restrict the sale or rental of a condo unit.  Typically, the declaration of condominium will require a unit owner to submit an application for approval to the association that discloses the particulars of the prospective resident.  However, issues arise when the association makes amendments to the declaration of condominium concerning such restrictions.  An amendment prohibiting unit owners from renting their units or altering the duration of the rental term or specifying or limiting the number of times unit owners are entitled to rent their units during a specified period applies only to unit owners who consent to the amendment and unit owners who acquire title to their units after the effective date of that amendment.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.104(5) (2012); Fla. Stat. § 718.110(13) (2012).

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 Q: Does a renter have the same rights in using the common elements as a unit owner?

A: Yes. When a unit is leased, the tenant shall have all use rights of the association property and common elements that otherwise would be available for use by unit owners.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.106(4) (2012).

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 Q: Does a unit owner have access to the common elements while the unit is rented out?

A: Possibly no.  The Condominium Act provides that the owner of a rented unit shall not have use rights of the common elements, except as a guest, unless the rental agreement provides otherwise.  Furthermore, the association shall have the right to adopt rules to prohibit dual usage of association property and common elements by a unit owner and a tenant.  Thus, it is possible that a unit owners access rights are strictly limited to those of a landlord pursuant to Chapter 83, Florida Statutes.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.106(4) (2012).

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 Q: Must the association pay for and insure its officers and directors?

A: In some cases. A unit owner controlled association may obtain liability insurance for its officers and directors. Further, the association must obtain and maintain adequate insurance or fidelity bonding of all persons who control or disburse funds of the association. The “persons who control and disburse funds of the association” include, but are not limited to, the individuals authorized to sign checks on behalf of the association and the president, secretary and treasurer of the association.  The association assumes the responsibility for the costs of the insurance or fidelity bonding as a common expense of the association.  The insurance policy or fidelity bond must cover the maximum funds that will be in the custody of the association or its management agent at any one time. As used in this paragraph, the term “persons who control or disburse funds of the association” includes, but is not limited to, those individuals authorized to sign checks on behalf of the association, and the president, secretary, and treasurer of the association. The association shall bear the cost of any such bonding.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.111(11)(e) (2012); Fla. Stat. § 718.111(11)(h) (2012).

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 Q: Does an association have to carry insurance on the condominium property?

A: An association is required to use its best efforts to obtain and maintain adequate insurance to protect the association, the association property and the common elements.  The insurance must be based on the replacement cost of the property to be insured as determined by an independent insurance appraisal or update of a prior appraisal.  The replacement cost must be determined at least once every 36 months.  Alternatively, an association may provide adequate property insurance through a self-insurance fund that complies with the requirements of Sections 624.460-624.488, Florida Statutes.  The coverage must exclude all personal property within the unit or limited common elements, and floor, wall, and ceiling coverings, electrical fixtures, appliances, water heaters, water filters, built-in cabinets and countertops, and window treatments, including curtains, drapes, blinds, hardware, and similar window treatment components, or replacements of any of the foregoing which are located within the boundaries of the unit and serve only such unit. Such property and any insurance thereupon is the responsibility of the unit owner.
Failure to obtain and maintain adequate property insurance may constitute a breach of fiduciary responsibility by the members of the board of directors of the association, unless the members can show that despite such failure, they have made their best efforts to maintain the required coverage.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.111(11) (2012).

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 Q: If a unit owner wins a lawsuit against the association, can he recover his attorney fees and assessment fees that he paid the association to defend the lawsuit?

A: Possibly.  A unit owner prevailing in an action between the association and the unit owner may recover his reasonable attorney’s fees and may recover additional amounts as determined by the court to be necessary to reimburse the unit owner for his share of assessments levied by the association to fund its litigation expenses.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.303(1) (2012).

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 Q: What is considered a board meeting?

A: A condominium board meeting is defined as any gathering of the members of the board of directors, at which a quorum of the members is present, for the purpose of conducting association business. This could include a dinner where board members have gathered to discuss condominium matters and unit owners have the right to attend the meeting.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.112(c) (2012); F.A.C. 61B-23.001(1)(a) (1999).

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 Q: Can a unit owner attend a board meeting?

A: Meetings of the board shall be open to the unit owners. The right to attend such meetings includes the right to speak at such meetings with reference to all designated agenda items.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.112(2)(c) (2012).

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 Q: Are there any board meetings which are closed to unit owners?

A: Yes. The unit owner’s right to attend a meeting of the board does not apply when the board and its attorney meet for the purpose of seeking or rendering legal advice for proposed or pending litigation. Also, board meetings are closed when personnel matters are discussed.
Source:Fla. Stat. § 718.112(2)(c)(3)(2013).

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 Q: What happens when, due to resignations or otherwise, not enough members of the board exist to constitute a quorum?

A: If an association fails to fill vacancies on the board sufficient to constitute a quorum in accordance with the bylaws, any unit owner may apply to the circuit court for the appointment of a receiver to manage the affairs of the association. A receiver will have the same powers and duties as the board and will serve until the vacancies are filled sufficient to constitute a quorum. However, at least 30 days prior to applying to the circuit court for a receiver, the unit owner must mail to the association, as well as post a notice of the intended action and give the association the opportunity to fill the vacancies. Each unit owner must also notified by certified mail or personal delivery. If the association fails to fill the vacancies and a receiver is appointed, the association will be responsible for the receiver’s salary, court costs, and attorney’s fees.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.1124 (2012).

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 Q: Is the board required to provide unit owners with board meeting notices?

A: Notice of all board meetings along with the agenda shall be posted conspicuously on the condominium property at least 48 hours prior to the meeting, except in an emergency.  However, notice of some board meetings, such as one at which non-emergency special assessments or amendment to rules regarding unit use will be considered shall be mailed or delivered to the unit owners and posted not less than 14 days prior to the meeting.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.112(2)(c) (2012).

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 Q: How are committees formed and who has a right to participate in them? Do unit owners have the right to attend the committee meetings?

A: Committees are appointed by the board in order to take action on behalf of the board or make recommendations to the board regarding the association budget or other matters deemed necessary by the board. A committee meeting involves a gathering of a group of board members, unit owners, or board members and unit owners, in which a quorum of members of that committee are present. Unit owners have the right to attend and observe committee meetings. However, the association bylaws may provide restrictions on certain committee meetings that do not take final action on behalf of the board or make recommendations to the board regarding the budget. A committee meeting with the association’s attorney with respect to proposed or pending litigation is exempt from open meeting requirements.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.112(2)(c) (2012); F.A.C. 61B-23.001(1)(b) & (2) (1999).

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 Q: How is a vacancy on the board filled?

A: The association should follow the provisions in the bylaws of the association for filling vacancies on the board. If the bylaws fail to provide a method, any vacancy on the board caused by the expiration of a director’s term shall be filed by electing a new board member, made by a secret ballot. If there are any remaining vacancies after the election, then those vacancies will be filed by a majority affirmative vote of the newly elected directors, unless the bylaws provide otherwise. This vote still occurs even if the board does constitute a quorum or if the vote is made by the sole remaining director.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.112(2)(d) (2012).

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 Q: What are the duties of the board of administration?

A: The board of administration administers the affairs of the association, sets policy, assures proper property maintenance, and may appoint committees to manage various affairs of the condominium.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.111(2)-(13) (2012); Fla. Stat. § 718.112(2)(a) (2012).

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 Q: What are the powers and responsibilities of the board of administration?

A: Essentially, the board of directors is the decision-making body for the condominium. Their powers are in essence, the powers of the association, which include the power to manage, maintain, and operate the condominium property. However, an individual member of the association has no authority to act for the community or for the board simply by virtue of being a member.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.111(3) (2012); Fla. Stat. § 718.111(1)(c) (2012).

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 Q: Do the officers and directors have a fiduciary relationship with unit owners?

A: Yes. Directors have a fiduciary relationship with the unit owners, and must use the highest degree of good faith in placing the interests of the unit owners above their own personal interests. This fiduciary relationship imposes obligations of trust and confidence in favor of the association and its members. It requires the members of the board and licensed managers to act in good faith and in the best interests of the unit owners. It means that board members and managers must exercise due care and diligence when acting for the community.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.111(1)(d) (2012).

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 Q: When a board member is acting improperly, how does a unit owner remove him from the board?

A: 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 all the voting interests. Ten percent of the voting interest may give notice of the meeting, including the purpose of the meeting, as required for a meeting of unit owners. Notice may not be given electronically. A majority vote of all the voting interests can be obtained at a special meeting of the unit owners or by written agreement.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.112(2)(j) (2012); F.A.C. 61B-23.0026 (1995); F.A.C. 61B-23.0027 (2001); F.A.C. 61B-23.0028 (2004).

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 Q: What are my rights as a unit owner of a condominium?

A: Generally, you have exclusive ownership of your condominium unit. You also have membership in the association and full voting rights as provided in your declaration of condominium. You have the right to use the common elements and association property without paying a use fee. A use fee may be required if the declaration of condominium so provides or unit owners by a majority vote of the association approve such a fee. You have the right to expect the association to maintain the common elements. You also have the right to view the official records subject to the association’s adopted rules.
Source: Fla. Stat. §§ 718.103(28); 718.106(2); and 718.111(4)(2013).

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 Q: What is the proper method by which the board must inform the unit owners about the annual meeting?

A: The board must give written notice, including an agenda, by mail or delivered to each unit owner at least fourteen days before the annual meeting of the unit owners. The board must also post a notice of the meeting in a conspicuous place on the property at least fourteen continuous days before the meeting.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.112(2)(d)(3) (2012).

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 Q: Is my association required to hold regular meetings on a monthly basis?

A: There is no statutory requirement for regular or a required number of meetings of the unit owners or the board of directors. As such, the documents of the association should be reviewed for any such requirements. Chapter 718 of the Florida Statutes, requires every association to hold an annual meeting of the members and a member or board meeting to adopt the annual budget.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.112(2)(d) (2012).

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 Q: What decisions of the association require a unit owner vote?

A: Unit owner decisions are required for votes taken to waive or reduce reserves; use reserves for other purposes; elect directors by ballot; amend the declaration; amend the articles of incorporation or bylaws; recall board members; adopt a substitute budget; materially alter and/or substantially add to the association property; terminate the condominium; convey title to property; waive financial reporting; and cancel certain contracts. Other unit owner votes may be required by the association documents.
Source: Fla. Stat. §§ 718.110, 718.111(7), 718.111(13)(d)(3), 718.112(2)(b)(2,) 718.112(2)(f)(2), 718.112(2)(e)(2), 718.112(2)(j), 718.113(2)(a),  718.115(1)(d)(1), and 718.117(1)  (2012).

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 Q: What reserve accounts are condominiums required to maintain?

A: In addition to annual operating expenses, the proposed budget shall include reserve accounts for capital expenditures and deferred maintenance. These accounts shall include, but are not limited to, roof replacement, building painting, and pavement resurfacing, regardless of the amount of deferred maintenance expense or replacement cost, and for any other item for which the deferred maintenance expense or replacement cost exceeds $10,000.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.112(2)(f)(2) (2012).

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 Q: Can the board use money from our reserve fund to pay for unexpected repairs to the common elements not covered by the reserve fund?

A: No, unless there is approval in advance.  Reserve funds and any interest accruing shall remain in the reserve account for authorized reserve expenditures, unless their use for other purposes is approved in advance by a vote of the majority of the voting interests present at a duly called meeting of the association.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.112(2)(f)(3) (2012).

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 Q:   What is an assessment?

A: As defined by Chapter 718 of the Florida Statutes, “assessment” is a share of the funds which are required for the payment of common expenses, which are occasionally assessed against the unit owner.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.103(1) (2012).

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 Q: What is the difference between a regular assessment and a special assessment?

A: An assessment is a share of the funds required from unit owners for the payment of common expenses of the association.  Special assessments are assessments levied against unit owners other than the assessment required by the annual budget.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.103(24) (2012).

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 Q: How are special assessments approved?

A: Chapter 718, Florida Statutes, provides minimum noticing requirements for meetings to consider special assessments, however, they do not address whether unit owners or the board must approve special assessments. Special assessments should be approved in accordance with the association’s documents.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.116(10) (2012); Fla. Stat. § 718.112(2)(c) (2012).

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 Q: Can a board suspend a unit owners’ voting rights because the unit owner is late in paying assessments?

A: Yes. An association may suspend a unit or a member’s voting rights due to nonpayment of a monetary obligation due to the association, which is more than 90 days late.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.303(5) (2012).

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 Q: How much can a board increase our assessment fees this year?

A: Assessments shall be made against unit owners in an amount which is not less than that required to provide funds in advance for payment of all the anticipated current operating expenses and for all the unpaid operating expenses previously occurred. However, if an adopted budget requires assessments that exceed 115 percent of assessments for the previous fiscal year, the board shall conduct a special meeting of the unit owners to consider a substitute budget if the board receives, within 21 days after adoption of the annual budget, a written request for a special meeting from at least 10 percent of all voting interests
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.112(2)(g) (2012); Fla. Stat. § 718.112(2)(e)(2) (2012).

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 Q: How often must assessments be paid by unit owners?

A: Chapter 718 of the Florida Statutes require assessments be made against units not less frequently than quarterly.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.112(2)(g) (2012).

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 Q: Our board has given notice of a board meeting to decide whether excess funds from a special assessment will be returned to unit owners or be used to defray future assessments. Does the board have the authority to use the monies to defray future assessments?

A: Yes, at the discretion of the condominium board. Funds collected from a special assessment shall only be used for the specific purpose(s) it was collected for. However, upon completion of such specific purpose(s), any excess funds will be considered common surplus, and may, at the discretion of the condominium board, either be returned to the unit owners or applied as a credit toward future assessments.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.116(10) (2012).

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 Q: Our board recently sent a letter to all unit owners stating that we are responsible for paying the unpaid assessments on a unit that the association foreclosed upon and obtained title to. Can the board require that all unit owners pay these fees?

A: Yes. If any unpaid share of common expenses or assessments is extinguished by foreclosure of a superior lien or by a deed in lieu of foreclosure thereof, the unpaid share of common expenses or assessments are collectable from all unit owners in the condominium or cooperative in which the unit is located.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.115(1)(g) (2012).

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 Q: Does the association have to accept my check for late assessments?

A: Yes. An association shall accept all payments for assessments, including those that are late. However, any late payment received by the association must be applied to any interest accrued, then to any administrative late fees, then to any costs or reasonable attorney’s fees incurred in collection, and then to the delinquent assessment.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.116(3) (2012).

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 Q: Can an association purchase a unit in the condominium that has been foreclosed?

A: Yes. There shall be no limitation on the association’s right to purchase a unit at a foreclosure sale resulting from the association’s foreclosure of its lien for unpaid assessments. The association’s board has the power, unless prohibited by the declaration, articles of incorporation or bylaws, to purchase units in the condominium and to acquire and hold, lease, mortgage and convey them.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.111(9) (2012).

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 Q: If a board forecloses on a unit for unpaid assessments, does the board have to give notice?

A: Yes. No foreclosure judgment may be entered until at least 30 days after the condominium association gives written notice to the unit owner of its intention to foreclose its lien to collect the unpaid assessments. If this notice is not given at least 30 days before the foreclosure action is filed, and if the unpaid assessments, including those coming due after the claim of the lien is recorded, are paid before the entry of a final judgment of foreclosure, the association shall not recover attorney’s fees or costs.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.116(6)(b) (2012).

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 Q:  What is a common element?

A: Common elements are the portions of the condominium property not included in the units, of which a condominium owner owns an undivided share.  Common elements include condominium property that is not included within the units; easements of support within a unit that contributes to the support of a building; easements through units for conduits, ducts, plumbing; wiring and other facilities for the furnishing of utility services to units and the property and installation required for furnishing utilities and other services to more than unit or to the condominium property. However, in all cases, the declaration of condominium must be consulted for a precise definition of the common elements in that condominium.
Source: Fla. Stat. §§ 718.103(8), 718.103(11), and 718.108 (2012).

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 Q: Can the board charge unit owners to use the common elements?

A: No. The association may not charge a use fee against a unit owner for the use of the common elements or association property unless otherwise provided for in the association documents or by a majority vote of the association or unless the charges relate to expenses incurred by an owner having exclusive use of the common elements or association property.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.111(4) (2012).

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 Q: Does the board have the authority to charge a unit owner for use of the clubhouse or swimming pool?

A: Possibly, depending on the association. If the association documents indicate a usage fee or a majority vote of the association believes there should be a usage fee, then a usage fee will be imposed. Additionally, an owner who has exclusive use of the common areas or association property may be charged a usage fee.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.111(4) (2012).

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 Q: Our board has proposed that three-bedroom unit owners should pay a higher monthly fee than owners of two-bedroom units. Does the board have such authority?

A: Possibly, if the condominium’s declaration or documents articulates a higher monthly fee for owners of three-bedroom units. Funds for payment of the common expenses of a condominium or a cooperative shall be collected by assessments against the units in the condominium or cooperative in the proportions or percentages provided in that condominium’s declaration or cooperative’s documents. Unless otherwise provided for in the original condominium’s declaration or cooperative’s documents, no amendment may change the proportion or percentage by which the owner of the unit shares the common expenses unless the owner of the unit and all the owners of liens on it approve the amendment and unless all the owners of all other units approve the amendment.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.115(2) (2012); Fla. Stat. § 718.110(4) (2012).

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 Q: Does a board have to hire the company that prepares the lowest bid?

A: No. The association is not required to accept the lowest bid.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.3026(1) (2012).

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 Q: Must the association obtain competitive bids if the cost of repairs to the common elements exceeds 5 percent of the total annual budget?

A: Yes. If a contract for the purchase, lease, or renting of materials or equipment or for services requires payment exceeding 5 percent of the total annual budget of the association, the association must obtain competitive bids. However, contracts for attorney, accountant, architect, community association manager, timeshare management firm, engineering, and landscape architect services are not subject to the competitive bid requirement. Further, associations with less than 10 units may opt out of the bid requirements if two-thirds of the unit owners vote to do so.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.3026(1) (2012); Fla. Stat. § 718.3026(2) (2012).

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 Q: Must the association obtain competitive bids when hiring an attorney?

A: A board is not required to obtain competitive bids when hiring an attorney. Competitive bids are not required for contracts with employees of the association, attorney, accountant, architect, community association manager, timeshare management firm, engineering and landscape architect services.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.3026(2)(a) (2012).

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