BUSINESS & CORPORATE LAW ATTORNEY - BUSINESS & CORPORATE LAW LAWYER
At Rice our attorneys are skilled and possess the necessary experience and knowledge to properly advise condominium and homeowner associations as well as their owners. Our attorneys are active within the community and the state with regard to the development of laws pertaining to condominiums and homeowner associations. The laws governing condominiums and homeowner associations are constantly developing, with amendments being made to the relevant laws almost every year. The attorneys Rice are actively involved in the Florida Bar with regard to condominium and homeowner association law and pride themselves on their vigilance to stay on top of this constantly developing area of law.
Florida Condominium Law relates to the operation, development and resolution of disputes for Condominiums and their owners. Condominiums are creatures of statute. In Florida, Chapter 718 of the Florida Statutes as well as the Florida Administrative Code Chapters 61B-75 through 79 provide the framework for all Florida Condominiums. Membership in a condominium association is mandatory for all owners within a condominium.
A Homeowners' Association (HOA) is a legal entity that governs a subdivision or planned community. In Florida, homeowners associations find their framework in Chapter 720 of the Florida Statutes. The regulation of homeowners associations is fairly new when compared to condominiums. Accordingly, the statutes and case law for HOA’s is not as developed or clearly defined as with condominiums.
As with condominiums, for most homeowner associations, membership is mandatory for all property owners within the development. There are some homeowner associations where membership is voluntary, and in those, the enforcement and application of the established laws may differ from those HOAs with mandatory membership.
Both condominium associations (“COA”) and homeowner associations (“HOA”) are run by a board of directors, which is bound by the governing documents of the association. In COAs, the governing documents consist of a Declaration of Condominium, Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws and Rules and Regulations. In HOAs the governing documents consist of Covenants and Restrictions, Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws and Rules. Most HOAs also have Architectural Review guidelines that may be found either within the Covenants and Restrictions or as a separate identifiable document.
Directors are chosen by election or appointment. COAs and HOAs collect a fee assessment from all owners to maintain common areas, address legal and safety issues, and enforce restrictions that are applicable to that particular residential area. The COA and HOA also provide residents with a platform to address common concerns of the community. The COAs and HOAs have the right to assess, and if appropriate, also impose fines and liens. Moreover, associations have the right to enter into contracts and to enforce their rights through boards and committees.
Owners in HOAs and COAs have those rights provided for in the governing documents of the association, together with the right to peaceably assemble, display a flag, and participate in public debate and proceedings. Moreover, members have the right to attend, participate and record meetings, and to have annual elections.
Because unresolved disputes or financial problems can directly impact the joy and financial reward everyone reaps from property ownership, it is important to work with a skilled lawyer who thoroughly understands Florida law pertaining to COAs and HOAs and is committed to a prompt response that finds an effective solution.
At Rice, our lawyers provide skilled representation for both associations and unit owners.
Below is a sample of matters that Rice has provided successful representation for its clients:
• Governing Document Amendment, Revisions and Interpretation
• Declaration, Covenant and Rule Enforcement
• Selective Rule Enforcement
• Late Fees and Regular Assessments
• Special Assessments
• Collection of Delinquent Assessments
• Lien preparation
• Lien Foreclosures
• General Civil Litigation, Arbitration and Mediation
• Insurance Coverage Issues
• MRTA Preservation and Revitalization
• Condominium Foreclosure
• Preparation and Review of Purchase Contracts
• Construction Contracts
• Construction Liens
• Developer/Turnover Issues
• Election Abuse/Annual Meeting Assistance
• Purchase and Sale of Condo Units
• Terminating Contracts
• Disputes with the Association/Other Residents
• Damage Caused by Residents and/or Guests
• Damage to Vehicles
• Parking Issues
• Pet Issues
• Noise Issues
At Rice we are very aware of the financial restraints on COAs and HOAS and have accordingly developed a flat fee schedule for many standard services required in the operation of a COA or HOA. Our flat fee schedule includes a governing document review package, as well as a lien and collection package, among other services. Call and schedule a meet & greet with one of our attorneys to learn more about how your association can benefit from the skilled representation of a Rice attorney.