FALSE INFORMATION MISLEADS WELL-MEANING BOARD MEMBERS

An Opinion By Jan Bergemann 
President, Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc. 

Published April 26, 2010

 

Association board members and owners are desperately hoping that the legislature will take the necessary steps to help associations with the crisis caused by unpaid dues and foreclosures. Anything that helps would be appreciated!

But shameless attorneys and lobbyists are using the inexperience of these board members to promote a bill (H561/S1196) that has more and more turned into a LICENSE TO STEAL

The bill will help service providers to increase their profits, but will do absolutely nothing to help associations put more money in the coffers. Right now money is desperately needed to pay bills without further devastating the budgets of the owners who are still able to pay the maintenance fees.

 

Thursday night CBS 4 News -- Miami -- aired a report headlined: 

New Condo Bills Could Help Associations Clean Up

 

I could only feel sorry for the two board members interviewed by reporter David Sutta. Just watch the video. Both Oscar Garcia and Wendy Murray are convinced that this bill would help them put more money in their associationsí coffers to pay overdue bills.  Why?  Because that is exactly what they have been promised by attorneys and lobbyists in order to get their help to pass this special interest bill.

  

Much worse was the interview with attorney Ben Solomon from the law firm of Solomon & Furshman, LLP. Solomon is most likely one of the people who profited most from the condo crisis in Florida . He made a name for himself by pushing receivership for units not paying dues. While this bill may help in some limited cases, it surely isn't a solution. Being an attorney, Solomon should know better than what he said in his statement: "Legislation like this will finally start addressing these problems and it's going to take that to get associations revived and back on their feet again." It will surely add to his bank account!

 

The report specifically mentioned three provisions in H561/S1196 that would help to increase the cash flow in associations.

  • Condo Associations Collect 12 months of past dues (currently six months).

  • Associations can prohibit use of common areas (Pools, gyms, and tennis courts).

  • Associations can collect rent from delinquent owners.

This may look good on first view, but once you look at the wording of the bill you will realize that it does next to nothing to help associations deal with the disaster of unpaid dues and foreclosures. And the attorneys know this full well!

 

Let's take a close look at these reforms so highly praised:

  • Condo Associations Collect 12 months of past dues (currently six months).  This is the language used in FS 720.3085, a change that was added in 2008. The joy lasted only a very short time, actually until the 2nd District Court of Appeals turned down these provisions in FS 720.3085 [See: Coral Lakes Community Association, Inc. v. Busey Bank, N.A. Adding this provision to FS 718 means that some poor condo owners -- most likely located in the district of the 2nd DCA -- will be used as guinea pigs and will lose their shirts trying to use this "legislative reform."  Instead of getting money, they will face huge legal bills.

  • Associations can prohibit use of common areas (Pools, gyms, and tennis courts). This will actually make some owners feel better, but it surely will not force owners to pay their dues. And it surely will not help to put more money in the association coffers.

  •  Associations can collect rent from delinquent owners. The language proposed in this bill makes it a still more complicated issue, even giving the associations eviction rights. First requirement to use this provision: Hire an attorney to enforce this law -- evictions cost money! The language used in this provision is very complicated and may easily be challenged in court. We have a renter's market in Florida . If a renter feels harassed, he/she will move after not paying rent for two months to recover the security deposit and the association will have another unit not paying dues -- and will be stuck with the legal bills. A renter living in a unit already in foreclosure knows that his/her days as renter are numbered anyway. What's the incentive for a renter to stay and pay -- besides being harassed by court papers?

Add all the other horrible provisions contained in this bill -- please read:

WHY COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION BILL H561/S1196 WILL NOT HELP ASSOCIATIONS/OWNERS!

and you have a bill that will give certain board members and service providers a LICENSE TO STEAL, increase the cost of association living for owners -- and will do

ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO HELP ASSOCIATION BOARDS TO DEAL WITH THE CRISIS OF BUDGET DEFICITS CAUSED BY UNPAID DUES AND/OR FORECLOSURES!

 

THIS BILL SURELY IS FAR FROM THE ASSOCIATION REFORMS COMMUNITY ASSOCIATIONS DESPERATELY NEED!

 

Sorry community association folks, you've been had again!


NEWS PAGE HOME HOA ARTICLES