1. Archive

"Guests' a tricky matter

Question: The rules and regs of our association refer to the word "guest" throughout. However, there is no definition listed anywhere in the rules. Sometimes owners and renters will have someone stay for months and call him a guest.

Is there a definition that we could use in plain language that spells out what a guest is? _ Seminole

Answer: I'll give you four definitions, all or none of which may be of assistance.

New Webster's Dictionary (1993): A guest is a visitor or friend entertained in the house . . . of another.

The Condominium Concept (Peter M. Dunbar): Guests may be restricted to visiting in a unit only when the owner is present and prohibited from an overnight stay when the owner is not at home.

Condominium Management (Holeman): A guest is a person sharing single-family housing with permission but without compensation for the accommodations.

Condominium Association Practice and Procedure (Peter M. Dunbar): Restrictions lacking a clear definition of the term "guest" and clear standards to govern the guest when visiting the condominium property offer opportunities for abuse.

It has been my experience that at the same time you tie down the term "guest" in your governing documents, you also need to clearly define the phrase "single family," or the first thing you know, all guests will be "family."

Do any associations out there have good definitions to share with us?

Retirement lists

Question: Can you supply the name of the agency that maintains the names of adult and retirement communities in Florida? _ Palm Harbor

Answer: The best sources for information regarding adult/elderly/retirement housing communities in Florida are:

Retirement Housing Council, P.O.Box 12934, Tallahassee, FL 32317-2934. Phone: (904) 561-9162. Ask for their consumer directory; cost is $4 for postage and handling.

Florida Association of Homes for the Aging, 1018 Thomasville Road, Suite 200Y, Tallahassee, FL 32303. Phone (904) 222-3562. Two free booklets are available: "Housing and Care Options for the Older People in Florida," and "Florida's Retirement Housing and Nursing Home Communities."

Agency for Health Care Administration (ACLF Section), 2727 Mahan Drive, Tallahassee, FL 32308. Phone (904) 487-2515. The ACLF Directory is priced at $20.

Check into sign rule

Question: Our condo has a rule that commercial vehicles and cars with signs on them are not permitted in the regular parking lots, except as they are doing business.

I have a sign on the side of my car and am getting a lot of grief from the board and neighbors. My car is a Saturn, which has plastic doors, so the regular magnetic signs will not stick to it, so I have a cover to throw over the car.

I need to know if I have to cover my signs. Is it a state law or something?

Put yourself in my shoes. After a long day's work, I get home late and then have to get this cover out and throw it over the car. Please help me. _ St. Petersburg

Answer: There is no state law governing the parking of vehicles in your parking lots. The governing documents of your association, however, may place restrictions on vehicles with commercial advertising being parked in the residential area.

I cannot say yea or nay as to whether your document restrictions can be upheld without knowing a lot more about the situation. Even then, a lot might hinge on the reasonableness of the rule, the definition of words and the level of previous enforcement.

I cannot believe you are unable to find a way to cover the signs without covering the entire vehicle. Have you taken it in to large sign shops?

You probably are not the only one who has had to make this adjustment.

Jack Holeman is a longtime condominium manager, owner and board member. He welcomes your questions. Write to Jack Holeman, Condo Line, The Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Sorry, he can't take phone calls or provide personal replies. You can call the state Bureau of Condominium office with your questions at (800) 226-6028 or (904) 488-0725 or write to the Bureau of Condominium, Correspondence Unit, 725 S Bronough St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-1033.