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Basics of Condominium Association Documents and Why Your Property Needs Them

Whether you are a developer, land owner or just a concerned community resident, executing community association governing documents is an essential step any planned community should consider at the outset. Not only are governing documents necessary to ensure perpetual compliance with the community’s style and uniformity, but these documents create legally-binding covenants between homeowners and the community association – making the provisions enforceable in a court of law and protecting the community as a whole.

If you are in the real estate industry and considering your options in terms of community governance, please do not hesitate to contact Ft. Lauderdale real estate attorney Michael L. Feinstein today.

Basic Provisions

A condominium or community association must be established with a Declaration, which is then recorded along with public land records in the county wherein the community is located. In the context of a condominium-style property, the Declaration must include several mandatory provisions found in Section 718.104 of the Florida Statutes, including the legal descriptions of the properties contained therein, identification of the units and land surveys.

From there, an association must execute a set of bylaws to govern the day-to-day operational matters affecting the community as a whole. Bylaws must set forth the format and structure of the governing board, including the number of board members, how elections are held and whether there are any requirements for board membership (e.g., a criminal background check). As well, bylaws must contain the required protocol when it comes to voting on matters of community-wide significance, including a definition of quorum and how amendments are made.

From there, community association bylaws should be custom-tailored to each community based on the individual needs and makeup of the property and its owners. These matters should include information concerning annual budget meetings, reserve funding, ownership of common elements/areas and restrictions or requirements on the use of individual units.

Handling Disputes

In a community of homeowners, conflict is bound to arise, particularly if an owner has been denied the right to construct an outbuilding or similar property improvement. In the face of conflict, thorough and consistent governing documents become all the more vital, and properly-drafted bylaws should clearly state the procedure the parties must take in order to resolve the dispute.

Under Section 720.311 of the 2015 Florida Statutes, residents are afforded the legal right to request mediation in the event of conflict and associations are not permitted to disclaim this right or require residents to waive their right to pre-suit mediation. If, however, mediation proves futile and parties are unable to resolve the conflict, the parties may file their lawsuit in a court of competent jurisdiction for resolution the traditional way – a route that may be avoided with the help of an experienced real estate attorney.

Contact Attorney Michael L. Feinstein, P.A. Today!

For help in Ft. Lauderdale with your community or condominium association, please contact Michael L. Feinstein right away: 954-767-9662.