Q: I am a real estate agent and am having a problem with a condominium association not giving me the questionnaire that needs to be filled out for the lender in order to obtain a mortgage to complete the sale. Have you ever run into this? The seller's agent has had a lawyer place a demand letter for the information, but we are running out of time and the legal system is so slow. Do you have any thoughts on how to get the association to answer the necessary paperwork?
A: My first thought is to advise your buyer to search for a home elsewhere as it appears that this association is poorly operated, but it is not my position to advise the buyer. Sometimes you need to take direct action. If the association has an office, go to the office and make your demands there. If the association does not seem to have a central management or board administrative center, try to locate the officers and call them directly. You may need to search the state's corporate records to find the officers' names and addresses. You may need to inform the board and the officers that they have the duty to provide the information. Point out their failure can result in a possible lawsuit from the seller's loss of a sale.
Q: I live in a land condominium association. We have about 200 lots with only six or eight that do not have homes on them. I am concerned because we have several owners who own multiple lots and rent them. What would happen if for some reason or other they could not pay their maintenance fee? Also, we are getting a lot of renters; how does that affect the value of our property?
A: Delinquent accounts in associations are definitely in the news these days. If owners are unable to pay their fees, the short answer is that your fees will have to increase to cover the deficit. Your board must stay on top of late-paying accounts; fast legal action is required to keep delinquent accounts to a minimum. As for renters, unless your percentage starts to increase to more than one quarter of the community, it should not be a problem.
Review statutes now
Q: The first posted notice for our condo meeting was typed by the secretary and noted Florida Statute Chapter 711.112. Now we have another posting, and this one references F.S. 618.303 of the condominium laws. Why different statues about the same meeting? I thought there were only two statues for Florida condominiums, F.S. 718 and F.S. 720.
A: A simple question like how a nuclear weapon works might be easier to answer! My answer must discuss the history of condominiums, and it is somewhat complicated. In 1962, the federal government created the basis of condominium title, which required each state to enact a condominium title act. Florida created Florida Statute 711. A few years later this was updated to F.S. 718 (thus F.S. 711 is no longer in use). Cooperatives fall under F.S. 718; homeowners associations come under F.S. 720. Since associations are incorporated, they fall under the corporate acts F.S. 607 or F.S. 617. And almost all fall under the statute for corporation not-for-profit, F.S. 617. (This is not to be confused as a nonprofit corporation as there are almost no non-profit association corporations in Florida.) Confused? In short, there are several statutes that your condominium may follow (and for now we won't get into Florida Administrative Codes).
From your question it appears that your board is about 40 years behind the law. I suggest you, or a member of the board, call the state at (850) 488-1122 and request copies of the current statutes. Your board needs to get up to date and can start by tossing F.S. 711.
Richard White is a licensed community associations manager. Write to him at 6039 Cypress Gardens Blvd., No. 201, Winter Haven, FL 33884-4115 or send an e-mail to him at CAMquestions@cfl.rr.com. Please include your name and city.