DIVISION WANTS TO CHARGE EXTRA FOR HOA ARBITRATION --
BUT THEIR PRODUCT STINKS!
Opinion By Jan Bergemann
Published September 2, 2009
isn't a day that passes by in Florida where the DBPR isn't up to something
detrimental to the taxpaying citizens! The service of the DBPR plainly stinks, their professional regulation is useless and
the licensees they are supposedly regulating are running wild. One of the
main reasons for Florida being the SCAM CAPITAL OF THE WORLD is the
ineffectiveness of the DBPR!
The DBPR shenanigans are getting more and more outrageous. The latest weird idea: They want to charge extra for HOA election and recall arbitration. Unhappy with the $200 the legislature granted them in FS 720.311(1) they are now pushing rules that allow them to charge homeowners outrageous fees for horrible service. Since Chief Arbitrator James Earl took over, arbitrations have gone wild! The outcome of arbitration cases can't be predicted any more, since filing for arbitration with the arbitrators of the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes resembles more a crap shoot and the final ruling has often little to do with the wording of the Florida statutes.
This proposed rule is another step the Division is taking to destroy legislative intent. When the legislature decided to charge a $200 filing fee for election and recall arbitrations for homeowners’ associations regulated by FS 720, the idea behind it was that recall and election cases were reasonably simple decisions based on straight numbers. Election votes and recall petitions had to be validated, the number of valid votes or recall petitions counted and the result was in. It was estimated that these cases could be discarded within 5 hours without a problem (5 hours @ $40 an hour = $200).
But that was then, when arbitrators plainly followed the statutes and rules without inventing ambitious interpretations or invented wording in statutes that doesn't exist. Now rulings take forever, fancy case management conferences are called and arbitrators will endlessly listen to attorneys who come up with new inventions to draw out the process.
I wonder why Chief Arbitrator James Earl didn't make special arrangements for cost for his pet project -- the reversed recall -- in this proposed rule. He loves to sic legal fees on homeowners, even allowing attorneys to add cost from other pending cases. This new invention -- patented by James Earl -- makes an election dispute out of the recall of a board minority, even if it all started with official recall petition forms. Only in the arbitration section of the Division of Flori-duh Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes!
since the DBPR considers