Want records? Write to president, board
Q: We submitted a request to view condominium records to our management company. We requested that we be able to view and copy the records within 10 days. The letter was addressed to the manager and mailed 30 days ago. To date, we have not received an answer. We know that there is a fine of $50 a day for not answering our request. What is our next step?
A: You are almost right in your request. FS 718.111 says that members are entitled to view most records. It also says that if you request copies, the association can charge a reasonable copy and handling cost. However, you addressed the letter to the manager. While the manager usually will control the records, they do not have the power or duty to provide the information you are requesting. The letter must be addressed to the president and the board of directors. If necessary you can send it in care of the manager. If you address it this way the manager would have to turn it over to the board for their review and approval. In addition, you should have sent it by certified mail. Its return receipt will provide a timeline and evidence of the request.
He is in control of real estate market
Q: Our condominium president owns about 90 percent of our building and has voted himself in total control. When an apartment is up for sale, he is the only one who can buy it because he controls approval of the new buyers. We are totally out of control and have few rights. Is this legal?
A: I have often expressed that a landlord has more to lose than a resident owner. He not only can lose equity but an income stream. It is usually in the best interest of a landlord to have the association properly operated and maintained. Your situation is more extreme. I would believe that he has placed himself in a precarious position in that he can be overpaying for his investments and has assumed a greater liability. The liability is that he controls the real estate market. I cannot tell you what laws he is violating but it does appear that he is price controlling the values. If you decide to sell, you should have a ready and willing buyer. Today's real estate market is weak and sales are slow. I would question how he establishes a fair sales price as there are no accurate comparable sales prices.
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.