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Community Update

November 2020

Stay up to date with Becker’s dedicated resource page on COVID-19. All information is posted to educate and inform our clients but does not constitute specific legal advice for your community. Please consult your Becker attorney for questions specific to your own community. CLICK HERE

In this Issue

We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! While this year has not been without challenges, we are tremendously grateful to all of our clients and friends and wish you and your loved ones a joyous and healthy holiday season. Enjoy this month’s edition of CUP and we look forward to seeing you next month!

Our featured article, “Incidental Damage Clauses,” highlights why your association should review its condominium documents to determine the extent of your association’s incidental damage clause and if it needs any amending.

“Is it a Limited Common Element?” Learn about what a limited common element is and why it matters.

In “Gordon v. Palm Aire Country Club Condominium Association No. 9, Inc.,” the Gordons contended that their association board illegally passed and enforced a rule against pets. Find out why THIS CASE matters.

If you have new members on your board or a new manager for your community and want them to be part of our Community Update, have them subscribe here:

Mark D. Friedman, Esq. & Jay Roberts, Esq., Editors


Section 1

Is It a Limited Common Element?

By: Michael Dermody, Esq.

Most condominium unit owners may think that limited common elements are those areas outside the condominium unit that are part of the common elements, but which are used only by a specific unit owner. However, the Florida Condominium Act defines “limited common elements” as “those common elements which are reserved for the use of a certain unit to the exclusion of all other units, as specified in the declaration.” (FS 718.103(19), emphasis added).

Click here to read more!

Featured 2

Gordon v. Palm Aire Country Club Condominium Association No. 9, Inc.

497 So.2d 1284 (Fla 4th DCA 1986)

By: Mark D. Friedman, Esq.

The Gordons contended that the board illegally passed and enforced a rule against pets without first amending the declaration of condominium which provided that there shall be no pets without the consent of the board. Pets were not prohibited by the declaration, but did require a vetting process before being permitted in the condominium. The board had adopted a blanket rule prohibiting pets.

The court restated the decision in Beachwood Villas Condominium v. Poor, 448 So.2d 1143 (Fla. 4th DCA 1984) (a previous THIS CASE article), which provided that “a condominium Board may not adopt rules modifying the provisions of a declaration without proper amendments.”

So why does THIS CASE matter? An association may not amend a superior document such as a declaration of condominium through a rule. A rule cannot contradict the declaration or narrowly interpret a much broader provision within the declaration. Consulting legal counsel to review your rules and regulations is recommended to ensure that this has not occurred because these types of rules can cause enforcement issues in the future.


Question of the Month

Q: Our HOA pool is only open from “dawn to dusk.” As such, residents who work are not able to use the pool during the week. Can the board change the pool hours or is “dawn to dusk mandated by the state?

Shareholder Joseph Adams provides the answer to this question and more.

Click here to read more!

short term

Fewer Snowbirds Flocking to Florida as COVID-19 Persists

Travel restrictions, health risks, and reduced amenities have many snowbirds carefully considering their annual migration to Florida communities and RV parks.

Becker Shareholder Donna DiMaggio Berger tells the Sun Sentinel that winter residents who do return to the Sunshine State should proactively work with their association to understand and embrace necessary safety measures.

“Even the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] has said the risk for transmission increases when you have people coming from other spots,” she said. “In 55-and-over retirement communities, the stakes are higher. They have a vulnerable resident demographic.”

Although the current snowbird traffic has been significantly reduced, consumer services that monitor winter travel movements are reporting slight increases as pandemic fatigue sets in and the desire to shake off quarantine-induced cabin fever takes over. Click here to read the full article.


Can They Do That? Our 3-Part Budget Focused Series is Live!

About This Video Series

In this 3-part series, Shareholder Kenneth Direktor discusses budgeting and financial challenges faced by community associations across the state. Don’t miss out on this informative series!

Episode 22: Condominium Funding Reserves

“Our condominium has never funded reserves, and yet, the board has proposed and adopted a budget that provides for full funding of reserves – Can they do that?

Episode 23: Can Boards Change the Way We Fund Reserves?

Our board has proposed a budget in which they’re changing the way we’re funding reserves. – “Can they do that?”

Episode 24: New Budget That Includes a Contingency Fund

Our board wants to adopt a budget that includes a contingency fund. – “Can they do that?”

When it comes to association rules and bylaws, there seem to be more questions than answers. Becker’s video series, “Can They Do That?” tackles some of the unique problems that homeowners and renters face today. We answer questions, no matter how far-fetched they may seem. From service animals to nudists in your community, we get to the bottom of it and let you know – “Can They Do That?”

Don’t miss out on new episodes of “Can They Do That?”
Subscribe to Becker’s YouTube channel!

Statewide Suspension of Community Association Classes

Becker has been closely monitoring the latest coronavirus (COVID-19) developments. In the continued interest of the health and safety of our clients and colleagues, we have made a decision to continue the suspension of all Community Association classes until further notice.

As always, we will keep you informed of any changes and updates.




As a service to the community and industry, we are pleased to offer some of our most popular classes online! While our in-person classes remain suspended until further notice due to COVID-19, we are thrilled to bring you the following classes to participate in from the comfort of your own home.

HOA/Condo Board Member Certification – Watch Replay

Disaster Preparedness and Recovery – Watch Replay

Anatomy of a Water Leak – Watch Replay

Understanding Our Bylaws – Watch Replay

Is a “No Pet” Building a Thing of the Past? – Watch Replay

How to Properly Run an Election – Watch Replay

Budgeting & Reserves – Watch Replay

Covering Your Assets: How to Avoid Board Member Liability – Watch Replay

Collection and Foreclosure Strategies for Community Associations – Watch Replay

Dealing with Difficult People – Watch Replay

Construction Projects Gone Wild – Watch Replay



The 2020 Legislative Guide is Here!

Our 2020 Legislative Guide is designed to help your volunteer board and management professionals understand and implement the new laws which impact community associations each year. Given the significant percentage of Florida’s population which resides in shared ownership communities, we are virtually guaranteed to have numerous association bills sponsored each year with some of those proposals becoming new laws.

Click here to view the 2020 Legislative Guide!


COVID-19 Stole the Holidays?

The holidays are a time for celebration and cheer, but, just like everything else, they’ll look a little bit different this year. Members of our Florida and New Jersey Community Association Practices discuss how boards and managers can safely navigate this holiday season in the midst of a pandemic.

Castle Group’s COVID-19 Webinar Series: Season 2, Episode 3

Donna DiMaggio Berger participated in episode 3 of the second season of Castle Group’s COVID-19 webinar series. She was joined by Castle Group’s Founder and CEO James Donnelly as they continue exploring topics including the challenges associated with re-opening communities.