Owners can ask to inspect or get copies of financial records
Q: I plan on asking our condominium management company and/or our board for a copy of our monthly income and expense report. Must they grant my request?
A: The condominium act, Florida Statute 718.111, defines official records and allows for owners to request records. You can request to inspect the records or to obtain copies. If you request copies, the association has a right to charge you a reasonable copy cost. The board has 10 days to reply to a request; if they fail and you file a complaint, they can be fined up to $50 per day. Send a certified letter addressed to the board of directors and be specific as to the records you want.
Take landscape gripe to master association
Q: I am a director of a condominium that is part of a master association called a federation. This federation is responsible for entering into contracts with vendor services for all the condominiums in the federation. Our association is less than happy with the service provided by the landscape company. How can we take control of the services for our condominium?
A: Before you take actions for your association, provide a list of criticisms and requests to the master association. Ask that the landscape company attend a meeting to discuss the grievances. A simple face-to-face meeting to correct or change the services will most times provide the service you request. Do not cancel services without an attempt to discuss the service. That action is called management.
Alcohol could create big trouble for association
Q: Can alcohol and liquor be purchased with association funds (not reserves) for a social event or party?
A: No matter what the source of the funds, I take a stern position and say do not serve alcoholic beverages or allow them to be brought to an event. Talk to your insurance agent about Host Liquor Liability Coverage. All it would take is to have one guest get into an accident while driving home. You could end up with a lawsuit your association insurance will not cover. I further suggest that if you rent out the clubhouse, you have a stipulation in the rental agreement that the host not allow alcohol at the party.
Complain to state about board refusing certified letter
Q: Unit owners in our condominium have been told that any requests for information or to view the records are to be sent by certified mail. I have sent two such requests in the past four months only to have them returned marked refused. Is there any procedure one can follow if the board refuses to accept a certified letter?
A: File a complaint with the state. You can get details and a complaint form by calling (850) 488-1122, visiting myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/lsc or writing Division of Florida Land Sales, Condominium and Mobile Homes, Northwood Centre, 1940 North Monroe St., Tallahassee, FL 32399. You also can file a request with the Office of the Condominium Ombudsman by calling (850) 922-7671 or going to myflorida.com/condos. You need to present copies of the envelopes that were refused along with copies of the requests.
If you're willing to dig a little, you also may use the state Web page to find the annual report filed by the board. In this you can find the registered agent's name and address. Send your request to inspect the records to him or her. A registered agent must accept official notices and act upon them.
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.