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Florida Community Association Litigation: Homeowners’ Associations and Condominiums

Standing Order with Automatic Update Service

Ron M. Campbell


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Attorneys that practice community association law regularly prosecute and defend against claims that sound in the law of contracts, real property, civil rights, and more. Each of these topics is discussed to provide the reader with a set of practical tools that may be used to approach community association disputes.

This book also discusses the motivations that underlie common community association disputes. Emotions run high when neighbors feud. The book places dry legal issues in their context, creating a framework for understanding the root cause of the legal dispute.


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  • Availability: Available
  • Brand: Daily Business Review (FL)
  • Product Type: Books
  • Page Count: 294
  • ISBN: 978-1-62881-586-3
  • Pub#/SKU#: FHOA19
  • Pub Date: 02/28/2019


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  • Ron M. Campbell

Ron M. Campbell is a trial attorney who has been litigating Florida community association cases since 2004. He is one of the managing partners of the Southwest Florida office of Cole, Scott, and Kissane, which is located in Bonita Springs, Florida. Cole, Scott, and Kissane is one of the largest insurance defense firms in Florida. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Florida, and his Juris Doctorate from Fordham University School of Law.


Chapter 1: Introduction to Florida Community Associations...................1

1-1 INTRODUCTION.................................................................. 1

        1-1:1 Definition of Community Association Litigation .................. 1

        1-1:2 Governing Documents....................................................... 2

        1-1:3 Community Association Duties and Rights ........................ 2

1-2 HOMEOWNERS’ ASSOCIATIONS....................................... 4

        1-2:1 The Homeowners’ Association Act; Legislative Intent............................................................................ 4

        1-2:2 Protections Afforded to the Membership ........................... 5

        1-2:3 Scope of the Homeowners’ Association Act ...................... 5

                1-2:3.1 Residential Communities.................................... 5

                1-2:3.2 Exclusion of Condominiums and Cooperatives................... 6

                1-2:3.3 Homeowners’ Associations Are Comprised of Parcel Owners....................................... 6

        1-2:4 Common Areas and Individual Parcels .............................. 7

1-3 CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATIONS......................................... 8

        1-3:1 Governing Statutes........................................................... 8

        1-3:2 Distinguishing Features of Condominiums.......................... 9

        1-3:3 Condominium Association Tests...................................... 10

1-4 COOPERATIVES.............................................................. 12

        1-4:1 Distinguishing Features of Cooperatives.......................... 12

        1-4:2 Statutory Definition of Cooperative.................................. 14

1-5 MOBILE HOME SUBDIVISION HOMEOWNERS’ ASSOCIATIONS.............................. 14

1-6 TIMESHARE OWNERS’ASSOCIATION.............................. 15

        1-6:1      Florida Vacation Plan and Timesharing Act....................... 15

        1-6:2      Statutory Definition of Timeshare Plan ............................. 16

Chapter 2: The Governing Documents...................................................19

2-1 INTRODUCTION................................................................ 19

2-2 THE DECLARATION.......................................................... 20

        2-2:1 Basic Characteristics of the Declaration............................ 20

        2-2:2 Restrictions in the Declaration.......................................... 21

        2-2:3 Invalid Restrictions.......................................................... 22

        2-2:4 Required Declaration Provisions for Condominium Associations..................................................... 23

2-3 ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION....................................... 24

2-4 BYLAWS.......................................................................... 25

2-5 CONFLICTS BETWEEN GOVERNING DOCUMENTS.............................. 26

2-6 RULES AND REGULATIONS............................................. 26

2-7 PROHIBITED PROVISIONS............................................... 27

        2-7:1 Prohibited Provisions for Homeowners’ Associations................................................................................ 27

        2-7:2 Prohibited Provisions for Condominium Associations................................................................................ 29

2-8 AMENDING THE GOVERNING DOCUMENTS..................... 30

        2-8:1 Amending Homeowners’ Association Governing Documents.............................. 31

        2-8:2 Amending Condominium Governing Documents.............................. 32

Chapter 3: Developer Obligations and Turnover.................................... 35

3-1 INTRODUCTION................................................................ 35

3-2 DEVELOPER OBLIGATIONS AND HOMEOWNERS’ ASSOCIATIONS.............................. 35

        3-2:1 Developer-Made Contracts.............................................. 37

        3-2:2 Disclosures Prior to Sale................................................. 38

3-3 DEVELOPER OBLIGATIONS AND CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATIONS.............................. 40

        3-3:1 Recreation Facility Leases............................................... 41

        3-3:2 Sale Prior to Completion.................................................. 43

        3-3:3 Developer Warranty......................................................... 45

        3-3:4 Developer-Made Contracts.............................................. 46

        3-3:5 Disclosures Prior to Sale................................................. 48

3-4 TURNOVER OF HOMEOWNERS’ ASSOCIATIONS.............................. 51

        3-4:1 Conditions Triggering Turnover......................................... 51

        3-4:2 Developer Obligations Following Turnover........................ 52

3-5 TURNOVER OF CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATIONS............... 53

        3-5:1 Conditions Triggering Turnover......................................... 53

        3-5:2 Developer Obligations Following Turnover........................ 56

Chapter 4: Board of Directors................................................................ 59

4-1 INTRODUCTION................................................................ 59

4-2 ELECTION OF THE BOARD.............................................. 59

        4-2:1 Qualification for Board Membership................................. 59

        4-2:2 Election Procedures........................................................ 60

        4-2:3 Required Condominium Association Election Procedures .................................................................... 60

        4-2:4 Filling Vacancies on the Board......................................... 62

        4-2:5 Election Disputes............................................................ 65

4-3 DUTIES OF THE MEMBERS OF THE BOARD.................... 67

        4-3:1 Fiduciary Duty................................................................. 68

        4-3:2 Director Compensation and Conflicts of Interest............... 71

        4-3:3 Business Judgment Rule as Applied to Board Members....................................................................... 74

        4-3:4 Self-Dealing and Unjust Enrichment.................................. 76

        4-3:5 Business Judgment Rule as Applied to Community Associations.......................................................... 76

4-4 BOARD MEMBER DISCIPLINE AND REMOVAL................. 78

        4-4:1 Civil Penalty for Condominium Board Members........................................................................... 78

        4-4:2 Recall of Board Members................................................ 80

Chapter 5: Operation of the Community Association............................. 85

5-1 INTRODUCTION.......................................................................... 85

5-2 HOMEOWNERS’ ASSOCIATION FINANCES................................. 86

        5-2:1 Homeowners’ Association Budgets............................................... 86

        5-2:2 Homeowners’ Association Reserves.............................................. 87

        5-2:3 Homeowners’ Association Assessments....................................... 89

5-3 CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION FINANCES........................ 90

        5-3:1 Condominium Association Budgets ............................................. 90

        5-3:2 Condominium Association Reserves............................................. 91

        5-3:3 Condominium Association Assessments....................................... 92

5-4 FINANCIAL REPORTING................................................... 93

5-5 COMMON PROPERTY MAINTENANCE, REPLACEMENT, AND IMPROVEMENT....................................... 96

        5-5:1 Homeowners’ Association Common Areas.................................... 96

        5-5:2 Condominium Association Common Elements....................................................................... 97

        5-5:3 Limited Common Elements......................................................... 103

5-6 THE CONDOMINIUM ACT AND INSURANCE.................... 105

        5-6:1 Condominium Property Insurance Coverage................................. 105

        5-6:2 Failure to Maintain Condominium Property Insurance..................................................................... 106

        5-6:3 Other Types of Condominium Association Insurance................................................................. 107

        5-6:4 Condominium Owners’ Residential Property Insurance..................................................................... 107

        5-6:5 Reconstruction Work After Property Loss ................................... 108

        5-6:6 Multicondominium Associations.................................................. 109

5-7 OFFICIAL RECORDS...................................................... 110

        5-7:1 Homeowners’ Association Official Records................................. 110

        5-7:2 Condominium Association Official Records ................................ 114

5-8 WRITTEN INQUIRIES....................................................... 118

5-9 HIRING MANAGERS, CONTRACTORS, ATTORNEYS, AND ACCOUNTANTS.......................................... 119

        5-9:1 Competitive Bids........................................................................ 121

5-10 CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION EMERGENCY POWERS........................................................... 122

5-11 RIGHT TO SUE AND BE SUED........................................ 124

        5-11:1 Homeowners’ Associations’ Right to Sue and Be Sued................ 124

        5-11:2 Condominium Associations’ Right to Sue and Be Sued................ 125

       5-11:3 Class Action Suits...................................................................... 125

Chapter 6: Member and Board Meetings.............................................. 127

6-1 INTRODUCTION.............................................................. 127

6-2 BOARD MEETINGS ....................................................... 127

        6-2:1 Homeowners’ Associations......................................................... 127

        6-2:2 Condominium Associations........................................................ 130

6-3 MEMBER MEETINGS...................................................... 132

        6-3:1 Homeowners’ Associations......................................................... 132

        6-3:2 Condominium Associations........................................................ 134

6-4 VOTING PROCEDURES.................................................. 135

        6-4:1 Homeowners’ Associations......................................................... 135

        6-4:2 Condominium Associations........................................................ 136

        6-4:3 Electronic Voting........................................................... 138

Chapter 7: Covenant Enforcement....................................................... 141

7-1 INTRODUCTION.............................................................. 141

7-2 USE RESTRICTIONS....................................................... 142

        7-2:1 Homeowners’ Association Use Restrictions................................. 143

        7-2:2 Condominium Association Use Restrictions................................. 143

7-3 ARCHITECTURAL CONTROL........................................... 145

        7-3:1 Homeowners’ Association Architectural Controls.......................... 145

        7-3:2 Condominium Association Aesthetic Controls.............................. 148

7-4 MANDATORY MEMBERSHIPS........................................ 148

7-5 SCHEME OF DEVELOPMENT......................................... 150

7-6 TRANSFER RESTRICTIONS............................................ 153

        7-6:1 Association Approval of Transfers.............................................. 155

        7-6:2 Rights of First Refusal................................................................ 156

                7-6:2.1 Prohibition Against Forced Sales................................... 156

                7-6:2.2 Right of First Refusal Does Not Violate the Rule Against Perpetuities.......................................... 157

7-7 ENFORCEMENT METHODS............................................ 158

        7-7:1 Fines and Suspensions.............................................................. 158

        7-7:2 Mandatory Mediation and Arbitration........................................... 161

        7-7:3 Statute of Limitations................................................................. 161

7-8 ESTOPPEL..................................................................... 162

        7-8:1 Selective Enforcement................................................................ 165

Chapter 8 : Alternative Dispute Resolution..........................................169

8-1 INTRODUCTION TO ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION............................................................ 169

8-2 HOMEOWNERS’ASSOCIATION DISPUTES..................... 169

8-3 CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION DISPUTES...................... 172

        8-3:1 Arbitration Procedures................................................................ 177

Chapter 9: Collection Practices........................................................... 183

9-1 INTRODUCTION.............................................................. 183

9-2 ASSESSMENT LIABILITY ............................................... 185

        9-2:1 Homeowners’ Associations......................................................... 185

        9-2:2 Condominium Associations........................................................ 185

9-3 STATUTORY PROTECTION AGAINST UNFAIR AND ABUSIVE ASSESSMENT COLLECTION PRACTICES........................................................188

9-4 LIEN RIGHTS.................................................................. 192

        9-4:1 Homeowners’ Associations......................................................... 192

        9-4:2 Condominium Associations........................................................ 195

9-5 PENALTIES.................................................................... 197

9-6 ASSESSMENT GUARANTEES........................................ 199

        9-6:1 Homeowners’ Associations......................................................... 199

        9-6:2 Condominium Associations........................................................ 200

9-7 LIABILITY FOR ASSESSMENTS FOLLOWING FORECLOSURE SALE........................................................ 201

9-8 SLANDER OF TITLE........................................................ 203

Chapter 10: Fair Housing Litigation..................................................... 205

10-1 INTRODUCTION.............................................................. 205

10-2 ADMINISTRATIVE PROCESS.......................................... 207

        10-2:1 Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies....................................... 207

        10-2:2 The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.................................................................... 207

        10-2:3 The Florida Commission on Human Relations.............................. 208

        10-2:4 Administrative Procedures.......................................................... 209

                10-2:4.1 Admissibility of Determinations...................................... 211

                10-2:4.2 Post-Determination Proceedings.................................... 213

10-3 CLAIM ANALYSIS........................................................... 214

        10-3:1 Standing to Bring a Claim........................................................... 215

        10-3:2 Discrimination in Sale or Rental .................................................. 216

                10-3:2.1 Intentional Discrimination............................................... 216

                10-3:2.2 Disparate Impact........................................................... 218

        10-3:3 Reasonable Accommodation...................................................... 219

                10-3:3.1 Elements of a Reasonable Accommodation Claim................................................... 219

                10-3:3.2 Necessity and Reasonableness...................................... 220

        10-3:4 Relief From Discriminatory Housing Practices.............................. 222

10-4 COMPANION ANIMALS................................................... 225

        10-4:1 Emotional Support Animals for Mental and Emotional Disabilities.......................................................... 226

        10-4:2 Service Animals vs. Emotional Support Animals.......................... 227

        10-4:3 Emotional Support Animals and the Fair Housing Act............................................................ 227

10-5 HOUSING FOR OLDER PERSONS.................................. 232

10-6 CONCLUSION................................................................. 235

Chapter 11: Attorney’s Fees.................................................................237

11-1 INTRODUCTION.............................................................. 237

11-2 THE “AMERICAN RULE”.................................................. 238

11-3 PROPOSALS FOR SETTLEMENT.................................... 240

11-4 FEES AS SANCTIONS.................................................... 241

11-5 AMOUNT OF FEES......................................................... 242

        11-5:1 Contingency Risk Multiplier............................................ 244

11-6 LOSING ENTITLEMENT TO FEES.................................... 245

        11-6:1 Failure to Plead Entitlement............................................ 245

        11-6:2 Time Limit for Motion Service......................................... 246

        11-6:3 Losing Entitlement Before Suit Begins............................ 247

11-7 CONCLUSION................................................................. 248

Table of Cases.................................................................251

Index.................................................................259