Monday, May 21, 2018
Home and Garden

Community Living: Awning would alter building's look, requiring vote

Awning would alter building; take a vote

Q: We live in a large high-rise condominium. Our unit is on the first floor and we would like to add an awning to reduce the heat from the sun. Our documents say no awnings. We asked the board to add an amendment to be voted on at our annual meeting to allow awnings. We were informed that if the amendment was approved, all the units would need to install awnings. We feel we are being blocked. The awning would be a cost savings on electrical costs. I am sure that you will advise to elect a new board. I agree but no one wants to serve on the board. Changing the rules appears to not be a choice unless the state of Florida can override our outdated rules. Do you know of any other answers?

A: Electing a new board will not solve your situation. It is a case of architectural appearance that the board does not have the power to change. The alteration will involve using the common areas and will change the appearance of the building. It would require the members to vote to change the common areas and the architectural appearance of the building.

Definitions of lien and foreclosure

Q: Is there some publication out there that is written in layperson's language that will clarify laws pertaining to liens, foreclosures, etc.?

A: A lien is a claim on a property as a security for some debt or obligation. You can have several types of liens filed by others on your property, such as a tax lien, a mechanic lien, a mortgage lien and condominium lien. Almost any person could file a lien on your property for debts or obligations.

There are some exceptions and some claims that have higher priorities. If two or more liens are filed on a property, one has a higher priority than the other and the highest priority must be paid first. Most times the date a lien is filed makes it a superior lien but some liens have a higher right; for instance, a tax lien.

The lien is a legal document that is recorded. Once the lien is recorded in the county records, it has no other powers except as a notice, an encumbrance on the title. The next step to force payment on the lien is to file a foreclosure case in the courts. The foreclosure would be evidenced by the recorded lien and other evidence of the debt. The foreclosure can force title to be sold to settle the lien.

Richard White is a licensed community associations manager. Write to him at 6039 Cypress Gardens Blvd., No. 201, Winter Haven, FL 33884-4115. Please include your name and city.