Article Courtesy of Daily Business Review
By Celia Ampel
Published March 23, 2018
Condo associations may not represent unit owners in
property tax appeals brought by the county appraiser, even if it means
flooding the courts with hundreds of nearly identical lawsuits, a Florida
appellate court ruled.
The Third District Court of Appeal on Wednesday ruled
against two Miami Beach condo associations, finding each
individual unit owner must defend a case filed by the county
property appraiser challenging an administrative board’s
decision to reduce the assessed value of the units.
The case was the first one in Florida examining the
intersection of condominium law, which allows associations
to represent unit owners in lawsuits involving “matters of
common interest,” and the law governing property appraisers’
Residents of the 140-unit Central Carillon Beach Condominium
and 2201 Collins Avenue Condominium, which has 180 units,
cannot join one action as a class because the law requires a
taxpayer to defend an appraiser’s assessment appeal, the
The judges recognized the decision might seem nonsensical, particularly
because the initial administrative filing was properly made by the two condo
associations before the Miami-Dade County Value Adjustment Board.
“Allowing an association to represent the interests of its hundred-plus unit
owners in the appraiser’s appeal from the VAB reductions seems eminently
logical,” Third DCA Judge Vance Salter wrote, with Judges Kevin Emas and
Ivan Fernandez concurring. “If a joint petition can be pursued before the
VAB, why shouldn’t a joint defense be allowed in the appraiser’s appeal from
the VAB’s determinations?”
But the law is the law, the court ruled: A taxpayer must defend a property
tax appeal brought by the appraiser.
“Although we appreciate the associations’ arguments that judicial efficiency
would be better served by allowing the associations to represent the … unit
owners as a defense class in the eight lawsuits brought by the appraiser,
those arguments must be presented to the Legislature rather than the courts
if they are to be effectual,” the court wrote.