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Q&A on condominiums

11/13/2012

Q: Six months into the lease, the condominium association advised a tenant that she could no longer use the pool because the unit owner/ landlord was behind on paying his assessments. Can the association do this?

A: It depends. According to Section 718.303(4), Florida Statutes, "If a unit owner is more than 90 days delinquent in paying a monetary obligation due to the association, the association may suspend the right of the unit owner or the unit's occupant, licensee, or invitee to use common elements, common facilities or any other association property until the monetary obligation is paid in full." However, the subsection goes on to say that the association's ability to suspend use "does not apply to limited common elements intended to be used only by that unit, common elements that must be used to access the unit, utility services provided to the unit, parking spaces or elevators."

Q: An agent represents a buyer on a purchase of condominium property. The buyer says he is entitled to receive a condominium governance form in addition to other condominium documents. Is this true?

A: Yes. Pursuant to Section 718.503, Florida Statutes, a buyer is entitled to receive from the seller a condominium governance form summarizing the governance of the condominium association. The Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation provides that form.

Q: Is a condominium association a corporation?

A: Yes. Section 718.104 (4)(i), Florida Statutes, states "The association must be a corporation for profit or a corporation not for profit."

Q: An agent represents a buyer who entered into a contract to purchase a residential condominium. The contract includes Section 718.503 (2)'s statutorily required language giving the buyer three days after execution of the contract and receipt by the buyer of the condominium documents to cancel. It has been two weeks since the parties entered into the contract, and the seller has yet to provide the condo documents to the buyer. Now the seller wants the buyer to sign an addendum which says the buyer will only have 24 hours from receipt of the documents to cancel. If the buyer signs this amendment, would it be valid and enforceable?

A: No. The disclosure language set forth in Section 718.503(2) provides "any purported waiver of these voidability rights shall be of no effect." Therefore, an amendment to a contract where the parties presumably agreed to resolve the time period the buyer has to cancel from the three day period outlined in the statute to 24 hours would not be enforceable.

Q: Does the seller of a residential condominium resale have a set amount of time, as a matter of law, in which to provide "condominium docs" to the buyer?

A: No. However, the buyer has three days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays) from the time he or she receives the documents to rescind the contract, so it's in the best interest of the seller to provide the documents as soon as possible.

Q: A buyer has entered into a contract to purchase a residential condominium resale unit. The seller's agent says that if the buyer wants a copy of the condominium association documents, the buyer must pay for them. Isn't it the seller's obligation to pay for the condominium association documents?

A: Yes. Section 718.503(2) (a), Florida Statues, provides " each prospective purchaser who has entered into a contract for the purchase of a condominium unit is entitled, at the seller's expense, to a current copy of declaration of condominium, articles of incorporation of the association, bylaws and rules of the association, financial information required by section (s.) 718.111, and the document entitled "Frequently Asked Questions and Answers" required by s. 718.504."

Q: An agent represents a buyer of a condominium unit. The buyer's lender requires an estoppel letter from the condominium association, which the association is charging the buyer $150 to provide. May the association charge for an estoppel letter?

A: Yes. Section 718.111(12)(e), Florida Statutes states, in pertinent part, that "the association ... may charge a reasonable fee to the prospective purchaser, lienholder, or the current unit owner for providing good faith responses to requests for information by or on behalf of a prospective purchaser or lienholder, other than that required by law, if the fee does not exceed $150 plus the reasonable cost of photocopying and any attorney's fees incurred by the association in connection with the response.

Q: Can a residential condominium restrict a unit owner's rights with respect to the rental of units?

A: Yes. However, Section 718.110 (13), Florida Statutes, provides that "any amendment restricting unit owners' rights relating to the rental of units applies only to unit owners who consent to the amendment and unit owners who purchase their units after the effective date of that amendment."



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