Condominium ownership is an extremely popular source of home ownership in South Florida; but what most people do not know is the number of issues that arise when living in a condominium. Condominiums are managed by a board of directors that oversee all the matters dealing with the residence. The owners of the condo units are members of the condominium. Living in a condominium requires the condo owners to adhere to the rules set forth by the condo board. The condo board, in essence, is the representative body which is elected by the condo owners. One of the main responsibilities of the board is to oversee the well-being of the premises such as cutting the grass, maintaining the pool, paying the taxes, maintain the building and making sure everything runs smoothly. Condo boards also handle all the financial matters such as accounting and budgeting.
Who is Responsible for this Misconduct?
Recently, a Grand Jury found that both the Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation (“DBPR”) and condo boards are liable for misconduct. The Grand Jury concluded that the DBPR is not adequately protecting the thousands of Florida residents who live in condominiums from the abusive practices of many condo boards. Such boards were found to have been regularly involved in self-dealing, destroying important accounting documents, rigging elections, withholding important records, participating in kickbacks, and numerous willful violations of the law. The reason why so many Condo Boards can get away with such illegal conduct is because the DBPR is not doing a good job with oversight. Inadequate regulation by the DBPR creates loop holes for the Condo boards and turns a job that should be for the betterment of the community to a job that leads to potential self-dealing, kickbacks and other actions of ethical concern.
According to the Daily Business Review, it was about time condominium owners’ complains were heard because every year 500 to1500 complaints were filed with the DBPR from condominium owners and go unanswered. The Grand Jury heard the condo owners’ cry for help and now recommend that condo boards be criminally liable for willingly violating Florida’s condominium statutes.
But let us not forget about the DBPR who is also at fault here. According to the Miami Herald, the Grand Jury also reported the DBPR’s failure to demand that its investigators utilize and comprehend basic investigative techniques is unacceptable along with other responsibilities of the state agency. It seems that both condo boards and the DBPR are going to be held accountable for these issues.
If you or someone you know is experiencing issues with an association’s board, please feel free to contact us to see if we can provide you with any legal assistance.
From the trenches,