Video! 2017 Legal Update: Medically Necessary Pets, Directors’ Emails & Enforcement of Governing Documents.

Please click here for a copy of the January 4, 2017 presentation of:

Medically Necessary Pets
Board of Directors Insider’s Guide to Email &
Achieving Utopia Through the Enforcement of Community Association Documents.


Presented by Joshua Gerstin, Esq. for the Delray Alliance of Residential Associations.

Please click here for a copy of the January 4, 2017 presentation.

Hidden Dangers–10 Declaration Provisions Every Community Association Must Change

10 Declaration Provisions Every Community Association
Must Change

Click here to download the full report.


  1. The Magic Language Exception. Known as the “Magic Language Exception”, inserting the words “as amended from time to time” after a Declaration’s statement of adherence to Florida law allows the Declaration to automatically adapt to changes in Florida law. Failing to incorporate the Magic Language Exception into a Declaration often times results in the loss of income from, and the benefits of, changes in Florida’s law related to the collection of delinquent assessments. Coral Isles East Condominium Assoc. v. Snyder, 395 So. 2d 1204 1981.


  1. The percentage for passage of an amendment is too high. Many associations are stuck with damaging and confusing Governing Documents because the threshold of affirmative votes for an amendment is too high. Consider amending your Governing Documents to a lower threshold of affirmative votes needed to pass an amendment in the future.


  1. Requiring tenant approval without the authority to do so.  Many community associations require pre-approval of tenants without the authority to do so in their Governing Documents. Undertaking an action (and possibly collecting a fee to do so) without the requisite authority can result in an expensive lawsuit.


  1. Enforcing Outdated and Illegal Provisions. Banning solar panels, improper age restriction enforcement (16 instead of 18), banning satellite dishes or improper debt collection techniques are only a few of the many outdated provisions in the Governing Documents of many community associations. Lack of intent and ignorance of the law is not a defense if the association is sued. Guidance to the Board of Directors and the amendment of these provisions should be undertaken.


  1. Failing to Rein in Rentals. Community associations, especially condominium associations, that do not limit renting in their communities may scare away lenders from lending to owners or may lose their FHA accreditation. Consider a Declaration amendment restricting new owners from renting until at least two years after their purchase.


  1. Releasing Homes Purchased at a Foreclosure Auction From Delinquent Assessments. Although Florida law limits a lender’s liability for past due assessments, the same restriction does not apply to third party purchasers at a foreclosure auction, unless otherwise stated in your association’s Governing Documents. Consider amending all provisions that release third party purchasers of a foreclosed home from payment of past due assessments.


  1. Borrowing limits. Many older community associations have bank borrowing limits set at amounts so low such loans would only be obtainable from a payday lender. Consider eliminating or increasing borrowing limits.


  1. Spending Limits. As a way to attract buyers in an era of “community association board’s waste money” many developers incorporated into their Governing Documents limits on the amount a Board of Directors can spend without owner approval. Unfortunately, the effects of inflation and increase costs have locked many of these community associations into unrealistic spending limits. Consider eliminating or increasing the amount your Board of Directors can spend without first obtaining owner approval by inserting an amendment that allows for a per year increase formula based on inflation.


  1. Unattainable Quorum. Florida law limits the percentage required for a members’ meeting quorum to 30% of the members. Nevertheless, many community associations are still unable to attain a quorum to conduct important business. Consider an amendment that lowers the required quorum for a member’s meeting below 30%.
  2. Regulating Guests. Associations with guests residing in units in the absence of an owner or approved tenant often find themselves ill prepared when a problem arises.  Declaration provisions relating to the use of homes by guests in the absence of an owner or approved tenant stops people from circumventing rental restrictions. Consider an amendment stating guests can only occupy a unit so many times per year. Another approach to dealing with long-term guests (e.g., guests staying for more than 30 days) is to require them to be screened in the same manner as tenants.


For a free analysis of your association’s community association Governing Documents please complete and fax the following to: (561) 750-8185 (no cover page needed) A representative from Gerstin & Association will contact you to set up your community association’s free Governing Document analysis.


Name: ____________________________


Association name: _____________________


Position at the association (director, property manager, etc.) _____________________


Email address: ______________________,


Telephone number: __________________

7 Deadly Sins of Collecting Delinquent Assessments

7 Deadly Sins of Collecting Delinquent Assessments

Click here to download the full report.


1.    Failing to follow the specific procedures in your community association’s Governing Documents such as written notice from the association of the delinquent debt. Often times such failures, when objected to by a delinquent owner, requires the entire collection process to be restarted. Sometimes, such failures lead to expensive lawsuits and a large payout to the delinquent owner.


2. Agreeing to payment plans that are not in writing. A payment plan that is not in writing, is not worth the paper it is written on. Secure all payment plans in writing.


3.  Extending grace periods and granting concessions to neighbors and friends but no one else. It is understandable you want to help a neighbor or friend that is having problems with paying your association’s assessments. However, each owner has to be treated in the same, uniform manner. Extending grace periods only to friends or neighbors exposes the entire community association to an expensive lawsuit from an aggrieved owner to whom a grace period was refused.


4. Publishing a list of delinquent owners.       Shaming debtors is not only insensitive, it violates the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and exposes the association to an expensive lawsuit.


5.     Failing to follow the specific collection deadlines in your community association’s Governing Documents. If the collection deadlines are too long or too short, have them amended. In the meantime, collections must proceed in accordance with the specific deadlines contained in your association’s Governing Documents. Failure to do so can easily lead to an expensive lawsuit and a large payout to the delinquent owner.


6.  Failing to add interest and late fees onto delinquent assessments. Many community associations are unaware of their ability to impose late fees or are unable to properly calculate interest. Foregoing late fees and interest can significantly undermine a community association’s financial stability.

 7. Failing to timely forward a delinquent account to your attorney for collection. Depending on whether it is a condominium or homeowners’ association, attorneys are required to wait between 60 and 90 days prior to the institution of foreclosure litigation. Banks are required to pay only 12 months of delinquent assessments. Sometimes, a bank will wait years before filing a foreclosure lawsuit.       Association’s that fail to act timely and foreclose upon a delinquent owner’s home and rent the home until the bank takes title, can cost an association a year or more of assessment payments.


For help with avoiding the 7 Deadly Sins of Collecting Delinquent Assessments, and for a free analysis of your association’s community association collections, please complete and fax the following to: (561) 750-8185. A representative from Gerstin & Association will contact you to set up your community association’s free collection analysis.


Name: ____________________________

Association name: _____________________

Position at the association (director, property manager, etc.) _____________________

Email address: ______________

Telephone number: _____________________

Owner Not Covered for Exploding Corpse in Palm Beach County, Florida Condominium

A decomposing body that explodes does not give rise to coverage for explosions and personal property damage…

Full article here :

Being Vigilant With Community Association Guest Restrictions – U.S. Senator Menendez Donor Violated So Fla. Condo’s Docs by Leasing to Alleged Call Girl

Sometimes you just never know how truly important it is to enforce your community association’s guest policy.

Click here for full article.  

2011 Florida Community Association Legislative Update

Each of the newly enacted 2011 laws in The State of Florida that impact you and your condominium or homeowner association. These laws went into effect on July 1, 2011.

Click here for the easy to read, print, e-mail and share .pdf version

Fire Code:

Amends s. 633.0215 of the Fire Code to provide that condos, co-ops and multi-family residential buildings of less than four stories are exempt from installing manual fire alarm systems, provided building has an exterior corridor providing egress.

Hurricane Glass:

Condo associations are permitted to install impact glass or other code-compliant windows for hurricane protection.

— Official Records:

Amends s. 718.111(12) (a) 7., to include fax numbers, and provides that email addresses and fax numbers are not accessible to unit owners if consent to receive electronic notices has not been provided by the unit owner.

S. 718.111(12)(c)5. is amended to comport with s. 718.111(12)(c)3. (protected information).

S. 718.112(2)(b)3.b. is added to provide that a Board meeting to discuss personnel matters does not have to be open to the unit owners.

Condo Elections:

Candidates: Must be eligible to serve at the 40 day notice deadline in order to be on ballot or serve.

Director Certification: Condo directors may submit proof of educational course attendance (in lieu of signing the certification form) provided the course is completed within
1 year before or 90 days after the date of election or appointment. Certification is valid as long as the director serves without interruption.

Terms: Terms do not expire at annual meeting if all members’ terms would expire and there are no candidates. When terms expire at the annual meeting, directors may stand
for re-election unless prohibited by bylaws.

— 720 HOA Elections & Meetings:

Adds condo provisions to 720 HOAs:

–Lot owners delinquent more than 90 days are not eligible to serve on the Board, and convicted felons are not eligible to serve.

–All members are entitled to speak at board meetings with reference to all designated agenda items.

— Bulk Telecommunications-HOA:

Creates s. 720.309(2), F.S., mirroring 2010 condo law, allowing association bulk purchase of telecommunications, information, and internet services.

Prohibits HOA from denying individual service to any resident from a certificated or franchised telecom provider.

— Tenants – Condominiums, Cooperatives & HOAs:

Rents: “Future monetary obligations” includes all rent due from the tenant to the unit or lot owner and must be paid to the association until all delinquent accounts are paid in full.

Form Letter: New form letter to tenants explaining tenant’s obligation to pay rent to the association;

Immunity: Tenant has immunity from any claim by
the landlord for rent timely paid to the association after demand.

— Suspensions:

Allows for suspension of common element use rights for non-payment without a hearing, but requires Board approval at properly noticed Board meeting.

Allows for suspension of common element use rights for bad acts after notice and a hearing. If voting rights are suspended, the suspended votes do not count towards a quorum or vote on an action.

— Assessments

A community association that acquires title to a unit through foreclosure is not liable for unpaid assessments that came due before the association’s acquisition of title to any other condo or homeowners’ association.

— Termination of Condominiums:

—Partial terminations and the amendments providing for them are not subject to s. 718.110(4), F.S.

—The plan of termination must state the remaining interests in the portion of the condo not terminated.

—The method of distribution and mortgagee participation to reflect a partial termination has been changed.

—Termination is permitted for reasons of economic waste and/or impossibility if a condo includes units and timeshare units and the improvements have been totally destroyed or demolished.

— Bulk Buyers / Bulk Assignees:

— Amends definitions to mean a person who acquires more than 7 parcels in “a single condominium”.
Bulk assignee is not liable for warranties under s.
718.203(1) or 718.618, F.S., except as provided by the bulk assignee in a prospectus or in the contract for purchase and sale purchase, or for design, construction, development or repair work performed by or for the bulk assignee.

— Requires a filing with DBPR and disclosures to prospective purchasers if the bulk buyer / bulk assignee is offering more than 7 units in a single condominium for sale or for lease for a term of more than 5 years.

— If a bulk assignee receives an assignment of developer’s rights at time of acquisition, and the developer had not already turned over control of the condo to the unit owners, then for purposes of the turnover of control provisions of the condo law, the bulk acquisition of units by the bulk assignee will not be considered a conveyance to a purchaser, or be considered owned by persons other than the developer, and thus will not count
toward the turnover of control percentages until the units are conveyed to owners who are not bulk assignees.

—Bulk buyers and bulk assignees are not required to comply with filing or disclosure requirements IF all units owned by bulk buyer or bulk assignee are offered and conveyed to a single purchaser in a single transaction.

—Bulk buyer and bulk assignee status applies only to the acquisition of condo parcels on or after July 1, 2010, but before July 1, 2012 (in other words, the bulk buyer and bulk assignee status will effectively sunset in 2012).

— New Insurance Legislation, Sinkholes:

—Sinkhole claims must be filed within two (2) years.

Insurers must continue to offer sinkhole coverage, but may limit coverage to homes and not other structures on the property.

—Insurers may require inspections before issuing sinkhole coverage.

—Allows insurers to initially pay only actual cash value
(ACV) for repairs to homes.

—Insurers may require that repairs be made before fully paying a sinkhole claim.

— New Service of Process Legislation

— Any gated residential community, including a condominium association or a cooperative, shall grant unannounced entry into the community, including its common areas and common elements, to a person who is attempting to serve process on a defendant or witness who resides within or is known to be within the community.

2011 Community Association Pending Legislation

The 2011 Florida Legislative session does not begin until March. Not one to wait, legislators have already begun by filing two bills that directly affect community associations. One of these bills is a so called “Glitch Bill” (SB 530) designed to fix the unintended consequences and mistakes in the bills that passed in 2010. The second bill, a revival of the bill vetoed by Governor Crist limiting the liability of design professionals, is problematic for community associations.

The Glitch Bill (SB 530)

If passed, SB530:

1. Maintains the confidentiality of personnel records but allow owners to inspect employment agreements and financial records that disclose employee compensation.

2. Owners will have a choice to “opt-in” to the disclosure of their contact information that was protected by legislation passed in 2010.

3. Management fees incurred in collecting delinquencies can be included as part of the total amount owed on a delinquent owner’s lien.

4. Similar to homeowner associations, condominium associations are granted the authority to hold a closed door meeting, without their attorney present, for the discussion of personnel matters.

5. Tenants of delinquent owners will be required to remit their rent payments to the association until all, past and present, amounts owed to the association are paid in full.

6. Procedural guidance is given to fill the “gaps” in last year’s legislation regarding suspending use and voting rights of delinquent owners.

7. A majority vote in the affirmative will be required before a condominium association may enter into certain agreements to acquire leaseholds, memberships or similar interests.

8. Communications services contracts for bulk television, internet services, etc. can be canceled by a majority of the voting interest present at a regular or special meeting of the association. Any member can propose to cancel the contract, once. If the motion fails the contract is deemed ratified for its stated term.

Design Professionals Liability Bill

In 2010, Governor Crist vetoed the Design Professionals Limited Liability bill. Nevertheless, the bill is back and has been re-submitted to the legislature for passage. If passed, the Design Professionals Liability Bill would:

1. Excuse design professionals (engineers, architects, etc.) from liability for mistakes they make in performing their jobs.

a. Instead of being liable, and having to pay, for their own mistakes, community associations would pay for the damages caused by a design professional. For example, if an architect’s mistake caused a balcony to fail, the association would not be able to seek damages beyond the cost of the architect’s work (essentially a refund) as compared to seeking compensation for all the damages caused by the architect (the actual damaged balcony).

2. The design professional liability protection contained in this bill are greater than the protections afforded to all other professionals ranging from lawyers to doctors.