Advisory Council On Condominiums

 

By Mark R. Benson, Vice-Chairman
Advisory Council on Condominiums

   

Published January 12, 2005

   

During the 2004 Florida Legislative Session Senate Bill 1184 created the Advisory Council on Condominiums -- see below!

 

The first meeting took place on December 9, 2004 in Tallahassee. See:

State panel to begin hearing condo complaints

As a practitioner of community association management and administration, you are in a unique position to take advantage of the Advisory Council to foster and support changes that you feel are needed.

As a member of this Council I personally hope it will be an iconoclastic effort to improve the quality of life for members in community associations. The emphasis must be on diverting the litigious aspects of dispute resolution, creating well defined and disclosed expectations of the life style being offered, and educating acceptance of the reality of community association responsibilities.

We will make this Council as responsive as we can to the concerns of you and your constituents.  Please let us know if we can be of assistance by holding hearings in your area. Attached below is a tentative list of possible agenda items. If you have other items you think should be included, let us know. If you or a constituent has a comment on any of the items, let us know.

Administration must be structured by reasonableness within professional parameters based on accountability and responsibility. Documents must be drafted in "plain" language.

When the will of the majority is held hostage by apathy and intimidation of and by a minority, the result will always be anarchy, dispute, and an intolerable level of stress that will destroy the fabric of a community. Owners in the community can only make informed decisions about the day-to-day financial operation of their community association if they are given information they can comprehend. Every owner must be able to expect accountability and information to verify it at any time.

There is a ground swell of demand for protection of more of the community association models evidenced by homeowners' associations and last year was a start to provide access to the safety valve of mediation and arbitration in the Division. It is not outside the charge of the Council to recommend inclusion in F.S. 718 other forms of community associations. This has been recommended since the 1991 Task Force report.

The Council will not limit input to scheduled meetings and will keep constant communication with the Division as to the issues brought to each Council member personally and professionally. Education of Council members on the issues will not wait for meetings. The Division will keep in constant communication, preferably by email, with the members of the Council as to the issues so all points of view are on the table and positions aren't lost or ignored by lack of communication that is always so limited at meetings.

We need the input of practitioners, legislators, the administration and the Division as to issues. We need liaison with other agencies and representative organizations.  We must be open to consider all aspects of change without personal interest or prejudice.



CONTACT THE COUNCIL MEMBERS:

 

Joe Adams 239-433-7707  Chairman
jadams@becker-poliakoff.com
www.becker-poliakoff.com

Mark Benson 239-277-0718  Vice-Chairman
markb@bensonsinc.com
www.bensonsinc.com

 

Mike Andrew 407-206-6439
mike.andrew@vacationclub.com
www.vacationclub.com


Pete Dunbar 850-413-2840
dunbarp@dfs.state.fl.us


George Geisler 305-852-3018
chiefgg@aol.com


Karen Gottlieb 954-981-5584
peek888@aol.com


Tom Sparks 850-235-4044
ebrsparks@aol.com

 

Ex Officio Nonvoting Member

Michael Cochran 850-488-1631
michael.cochran@dbpr.state.fl.us

 

Recommended Agenda Items For The Advisory Council On Condominiums

 

  • ACC Meeting procedures

  • Performance bonds for developers.

  • Inclusion of HOA and Condo in one law.

  • Removal of Time-Share from 718.

  • ACC web page on DBPR site or separate site.

  • ACC email input by public.

  • Email newsletter.

  • ACC budget and costs.

  • Advertising of ACC meetings.

  • Responding to legislator invitations.

  • Liaison to Ombudsman, RCCAM, OPPAGA.

  • Research grants to university sociology programs for community association subjects.

  • Insurance.

  • Other states' answers to subjects.

  • Who from Division will be doing what.

  • Counsel for ACC.

  • Expense reimbursement for ACC business outside scheduled meetings.

  • Exhibit to Declaration for list of components re: maintenance/insurance/ownership.

  • Certification of replacement costs by developer/architect/engineer.

  • Is the current education program working?

  • Should the education program be expanded?

  • Ombudsman for HOAs with arbitration and enforcement authority.

  • Increase in application/transfer fees.

  • Charges, fees etc. allowed unless prohibited.

  • Financial reporting requirements appropriate for unit owners to comprehend.

  • Division responsibility to report crime/malfeasance to authorities.

  • Legislative initiatives pending.

  • Availability of ACC members to the public.

  • Priority of liens.

  • Cancel developer waiver of two years of reserves.

  • Licensure of community association management companies.

  • Board execution of open meeting for personnel discussions.

  • Questions to address from Becker & Poliakoff CALL survey report.

  • ACC initiative to garner statistical information.

  • Mandatory reserves.

  • Sign-in cards at ACC meetings for public w/email addresses

  • Documents should be written in plain language and be more user friendly so legal opinions are not needed for every question that arises.

  • The law must use “reasonable” in application of statutes.

  • Definition that the association is the client for the CPA doing turnover audit.

  • There must be procedures to prevent continued association suits against owners that turn into hundred thousand dollar plus fiascos.

  • Rather than only offering recording amendments to the documents, the documents should be completely recorded whenever an amendment is made.

  • Community association managers need increased face-to-face education not restricted to limited time per subject.

  • FS 718.501 should be clarified to specify “agents” include CAMs, attorneys and CPAs.

  • Remove the 50 units and $100,000 minimum threshold for community association managers that must be licensed.

  • Participate in urban planning.

  • Digital copying should be addressed so that the 25¢ or 50¢ per page copying fees are not assessed against owners wanting copies and they should be allowed to provide their own copying device.

  • Removal of the covenant loophole in the law that states “except with approval of the board of directors”.

  • Removal of HOA provision requiring a petition for adding items to the agenda.

  • Allow HOA members to speak to any agenda item.

  • Reserves should be protected for HOAs the same as condominiums.

  • HOA election procedures the same as condominiums.

  • There should be a CDD prohibition without owner’s approval and/or disclosure in FS 190.

  • Foremost, legislation against stupidity.

 

718.50151 Advisory council; membership functions.--
(1) There is created the Advisory Council on Condominiums. The council shall consist of seven appointed members. Two members shall be appointed by the President of the Senate, two members shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and three members shall be appointed by the Governor. At least one member that is appointed by the Governor shall represent timeshare condominiums. Members shall be appointed to 2-year terms; however, one of the persons initially appointed by the Governor, by the President of the Senate, and by the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall be appointed to a 1-year term. The director of the division shall serve as an ex officio nonvoting member. The Legislature intends that the persons appointed represent a cross-section of persons interested in condominium issues. The council shall be located within the division for administrative purposes. Members of the council shall serve without compensation but are entitled to receive per diem and travel expenses pursuant to s. 112.061 while on official business.

(2) The functions of the advisory council shall be to:
(a) Receive, from the public, input regarding issues of concern with respect to condominiums and recommendations for changes in the condominium law. The issues that the council shall consider include, but are not limited to, the rights and responsibilities of the unit owners in relation to the rights and responsibilities of the association.

(b) Review, evaluate, and advise the division concerning revisions and adoption of rules affecting condominiums.
(c) Recommend improvements, if needed, in the education programs offered by the division.
(3) The council may elect a chair and vice chair and such other officers as it may deem advisable. The council shall meet at the call of its chair, at the request of a majority of its membership, at the request of the division, or at such times as it may prescribe. A majority of the members of the council shall constitute a quorum. Council action may be taken by vote of a majority of the voting members who are present at a meeting where there is a quorum.

History.--s. 5, ch. 2004-345