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Elevators send residents into dark stairwells

Q: The elevators in our condo building are often out of service for extended periods. There are no lights in many of the stairwells. I have complained to the board in writing, but nothing is done. Where can I turn now?

A: The state Department of Business and Professional Regulation inspects elevators, or contracts with municipalities or counties to do so. The statute is FS 399. A framed certificate of inspection should be posted in the elevator or may be on file in the office. Write to the inspector at the address on the certificate with your concerns. If the certificate is not posted and is unavailable at the office, contact DBPR at (850) 487-1395, or send an e-mail to dhr.elevators@dbpr.state.fl.us.

As to the lights in the stairwell, contact the fire inspector for your city or county.

Look at your budget to make sure that your association has proper reserves for elevators. It sounds as if you will have major expenses in the near future.

License may be needed to manage community

Q: Must a manager of a mobile home community be a certified property manager? This person is employed by the association, not by a management company. What are the legal requirements of the position?

A: FS 468.432 says that a homeowners association, condo or co-op with more than 50 units or with a budget in excess of $100,000 may not engage an unlicensed person to manage. The required license is Community Association Manager. An association that engages a non-licensed person can be fined.

If your park is a privately owned rental community, the owners need not be licensed. But if the owners engage a manager, state real estate laws may require that the manager have a real estate license. If the park is owned by the residents and members, it would be established as a condominium, HOA or cooperative and would fall under the appropriate association statues and need only to engage a licensed CAM.

Measurement method may explain downsize

Q: When I bought my condo, the sales agent's brochure described it as having 1,400 square feet. According to my measurements there are only 1,100 square feet. Is this fraud? What should I do?

A: I checked the online property appraiser's database for your county. Your apartment is listed at an adjusted size of 1,224 square feet. There are several ways to measure the size, and the discrepancy may come based on which one was used.

Most real estate listings use the tax roll information (in this case, 1,224 square feet), but maybe the information was from the developer's data. Talk to the real estate broker to find out where the information came from. Then talk to an attorney for advice on your next action.

Richard White is a licensed community associations manager. Write to him c/o Community Living, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Sorry, he can't take phone calls or provide personal replies by mail, but you can e-mail him at CAMquestions@cfl.rr.com. Please include your name and city. Visit him online at talkwithcam.com.

Elevators send residents into dark stairwells 07/11/08 [Last modified: Saturday, July 12, 2008 6:48pm]
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