We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. We are tremendously
grateful to you and all of our clients, colleagues, and friends.
We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. We are tremendously
In this Issue
In this month’s edition of CUP, we discuss a wide array of topics from elections to adopting an annual budget, and don’t miss our special feature (podcast) to hear an engineer’s perspective on implementing Florida’s new condo safety law. And for our readers in South Florida, please feel free to join us at the 2022 Cooperator Tradeshow on December 8, 2022, in Fort Lauderdale.
Unit owners often move from private homes and do not understand that the condominium form of ownership in Florida is somewhat unique. Mark Friedman addresses common issues that often arise based on misunderstandings in, “Why Can’t We…”
The new law passed by the Legislature, known as “SB 4-D”, became effective May 26, 2022, and contains various important deadlines for compliance. Rosa de la Camara provides a crib sheet to help Associations in, “Do Not Miss These Deadlines.”
A new season means a new annual meeting and election. Learn about the election of directors and the annual meeting in, “The 2023 Season is Upon Us. Time to Think about Elections” by Mark Friedman.
The consequence of failing to abide by disability protection laws is at the heart of, “THIS CASE: Bhogaita v. Altamonte Heights Condominium Association, Inc.” by Jay Roberts. Find out why this case matters.
By: Mark D. Friedman
Unit owners often move from private homes and do not understand that the condominium form of ownership in Florida is somewhat unique. In many instances some individual liberties must be curtailed for the good of the community as a whole. What they may have been permitted to do “up north” may not be the same under our laws. The following are a series of common issues that often arise based on such misunderstandings.
The new law passed by the Legislature, known as “SB 4-D”, became effective May 26, 2022 and contains various important deadlines for compliance. The new law applies to condominiums and cooperatives which are 3 stories or higher. We are most often asked “by when do we need to comply with the new law?” This article is not meant to be all-inclusive nor to provide a detailed explanation of SB 4-D which we have done in other publications. Instead, this is intended as a crib sheet to help Associations keep up with the deadlines.
By: Mark D. Friedman
A new season means a new annual meeting and election. In condominiums and cooperative associations there are two components: the election of directors and the annual meeting. Most think of them as one and the same, but they really are separate events which occur concurrent with one another. The condominium and cooperative election takes place as long as at least twenty percent of the eligible voters (those who have not had their voting rights suspended in the manner permitted by the statute) cast a ballot.
Bhogaita v. Altamonte Heights Condominium Association, Inc.
765 F.3d 1277 (11th Cir. 2014)
The consequence of failing to abide by disability protection laws is at the heart of THIS CASE. Ajit Bhogaita (“Unit Owner”) owned a condominium unit within Altamonte Heights Condominium, which was governed by Altamonte Heights Condominium Association, Inc. (“Association”). Among the condominium’s rules, the Association prohibited occupants from keeping dogs weighing more than twenty-five pounds. The Unit Owner suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”), and purchased a dog which exceeded the weight restriction contained in the Association’s rules in order to ameliorate the effects of the PTSD. The Association demanded that the dog be removed from the condominium. The Unit Owner responded with a letter from his treating psychiatrist explaining the need for the emotional support animal / dog. The Association followed up two more times asking for additional information related to the need of the emotional support animal, and stated in those letters that if the information was not provided that the emotional support animal must be removed from the condominium.
The Unit Owner tired of the Association’s repeated questioning and threats to have the emotional support animal removed, and filed a complaint with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) and the Florida Commission on Human Relations (“the Commission”). In January 2011, HUD and the Commission issued findings of cause against the Association. The Association then assented to allowing the emotional support animal to remain in the condominium.
The Unit Owner filed a federal lawsuit against the Association for breaching the Fair Housing Act (“FHA”), claiming the Association discriminated against him due to its continued requests for information and demands following his doctor providing what he believed was sufficient information to require the Association to make a “reasonable accommodation” under the FHA and allow the emotional support animal to remain at the condominium. At trial, the jury awarded the Unit Owner $5,000.00 in compensatory damages, but declined to award the Unit Owner punitive damages. The judge awarded the Unit Owner $127,512.00 in attorney’s fees. The Association appealed. The appellate court upheld all portions of the trial court’s judgment and award of attorney’s fees.
So why does THIS CASE matter? Failing to properly comply with procedures related to determining whether an occupant is entitled to a reasonable accommodation under federal or state housing anti-discrimination laws can have substantial legal consequences for your community association. If your association is confronted with a request for a reasonable accommodation to its established rules or covenants and restrictions, you should immediately contact your community association attorney to discuss the proper steps that need to be followed to evaluate the request.
Question of the Month
Additional Opportunity to Extend
Certain Permits due to Hurricane Nicole
Section 252.363(1)(a), Florida Statutes (2022), provides that certain qualifying permits and authorizations are eligible for an extension once a state of emergency is issued by the Governor for the length of time the state of emergency is in effect, plus an additional six months. A written request for such an extension must be submitted to the authorizing governmental agency within 90 days after the state of emergency has expired (§252.363(1)(b), Florida Statutes). Six types of permits and authorizations qualify for an extension under these circumstances.
If you hold permits or other authorizations in Florida and would like assistance in reviewing and evaluating possible opportunities for extension to preserve your development rights in light of Hurricane Ian, please do not hesitate to contact Katie Berkey, Esq., AICP.
Community association boards and managers should ensure that their communities have adequate disaster planning measures in place as hurricane season approaches. To help you in weathering the storm, check out Becker’s Hurricane Guide which provides important tips and information to help protect your community.
For more information, contact your Becker attorney.
CALLING ALL BOARD MEMBERS AND COMMUNITY MANAGERS
As leaders in Community Association Law, we not only helped write the law – we also teach it.
Did you know Becker provides over 200 educational classes per year throughout the State of Florida on a variety of topics ranging from board member certification to compliance, and everything in between? Our most popular classes are now available online!
UPCOMING CLASS OFFERINGS:
- 2023 Legal Update
11/30/22 – 10AM – REGISTER NOW
- Do’s and Don’ts of the Building Certification Process
12/1/22 – 11AM – REGISTER NOW
- How, When and Why to Pass a Special Assessment
12/6/22 – 11AM – Registration coming soon
To view our entire class roster, visit: beckerlawyers.com/classes
An Engineer’s Perspective on
Implementing Florida’s New Condo Safety Law
Tim Marshall, a Florida Registered Professional Engineer, Florida Building Inspector, and a Special Inspector, sits down with host Donna DiMaggio Berger and discusses just how busy his days have become since the passage of SB 4D, the new safety law in Florida requiring thousands of older coastal buildings to undertake milestone inspections within the next two (2) years. Founded in 1986, Tim is also the president of A.T. Design. A.T. Design provides forensic structural investigations, concrete deterioration and restoration investigations and assessment, roof investigation and consulting, construction management and project administration, hurricane damage inspections, post tension cable repair, expert testimony and more. The passage of SB 4-D during the Florida Legislature’s Special Session in May 2022, requires significant changes for thousands of Florida multifamily communities. These changes include mandated engineering inspections and reports, new structural integrity reserve studies and non-waivable, full funding of certain reserves.
Can They Do That?
Becker’s “Can They Do That” video series tackles some of the unique problems that homeowners and renters face today. We answer your 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?”
Becker Steps Up to the Mic with Podcast,
‘Take It To The Board with Donna DiMaggio Berger’
Think you know what community association life is all about? Think again. Residents must obey the rules, directors must follow the law, and managers must keep it all running smoothly. Take It To the Board explores the reality of life in a condominium, cooperative or homeowners’ association, what’s really involved in serving on its board, and how to maintain that ever-so-delicate balance of being legally compliant and community spirited. Leading community association attorney Donna DiMaggio Berger acknowledges the balancing act without losing her sense of humor as she talks with a variety of association leaders, experts, and vendors about the challenges and benefits of the community association lifestyle.
- Royal Service with James Donnelly
- Fiscal Finesse with Nicole Johnson-Pendergrass
- Nuisance or Necessary: Solving the “Pet” Problem with JoAnn Burnett
- The Technology Tango with Brett Fielo
- Community Immunity with David Ramsey
- Considering the Cost of Counsel with Denise Lash
- Rules & Refereeing with Howard Perl
- The Mental Health Challenge with Chris Ayub
- Reserve Funds & Studies with Robert Nordland
- Association Advocacy with Commissioner Mary Molina-Macfie
- The Job of the Journal with Michael Hamline
- HR Hacks with Jamie Dokovna – Part 1
- HR Hacks with Jamie Dokovna – Part 2
- The Art of Community Design with Patty Mowry
- Heart of Service with Stephanie Maher
- The Making of a Manager with Otto Freund
- Happy Holidays, Healthy Communities with Andrew Fortin
- Ensuring Community Association Safety with Platinum Group Security
- Building Basics with Construction Counsel Patrick Howell
- Keeping Cool with Jane Gilbert, Chief Heat Officer, Miami-Dade County
- 2022 Legislative Session in Florida Wrap Up with Yeline Goin, Becker & Poliakoff
- The Current Crisis with Florida’s Real Property Insurance with Andrea Northrup, Vice President of Insurance Office of America (Part 1)
- The Current Crisis with Florida’s Real Property Insurance with Andrea Northrup, Vice President of Insurance Office of America (Part 2)
- The Smoker’s Dilemma with Dennis Eisinger of Eisinger Law
- Assessing Collections with Joy Mattingly, Becker & Poliakoff
- Mapping the Terrain of Landscaping for Community Associations with Brian Steele, Director of Operations, East Coast Facilities
- Successful Community Association Living Starts With the Purchase Decision with Marisa DiLenge, Founder of DiLenge Real Estate Team (Part I)
- Successful Community Association Living Starts With the Purchase Decision with Marisa DiLenge, Founder, DiLenge Real Estate Team (Part II)
- To Lend or Not To Lend with Brewster Cole, First Vice President, Valley National Bank
- Florida Representative Dan Daley on How We Get the Laws We Get
- A Novel Approach: Coaching for Community Association Boards with Carmelo Millimaci, Senior Coach, Ackert Inc.
- Taxes, Taxes, and Fewer Taxes with Marty Kiar, Broward County Property Appraiser, Part 1
- Taxes, Taxes, and Fewer Taxes with Marty Kiar, Broward County Property Appraiser, Part 2
- Parliamentary Procedure: How to Keep Your Meetings on Track with Parliamentarian Jim Slaughter
- Alternative Dispute Resolution with Jeffrey Streitfeld, Mediator
- Elevators & Electric Charging Stations with Todd Schwartz
- Fighting Fraud, Combating Cons, & Protecting Peace with Michael Reiter, Michael Reiter & Associates
- An Engineer’s Perspective on Implementing Florida’s New Condo Safety Law with Tim Marshall, Founder and President of A.T. Design
DID YOU KNOW?
The Florida Special Session produced the most sweeping legislation affecting condominium and cooperative associations in decades.
The CALL Alert: 2022 Legislative Guide is now available online to help you understand and digest these new changes!
The 2022 Cooperator Tradeshow
Becker is teaching two classes at The 2022 Cooperator Tradeshow on Thursday, December 8, 2022, at the Broward County Convention Center – 1950 Eisenhower Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316.
Are you planning to serve on your HOA/Condo Board? Kenneth S. Direktor and Karyan San Martano will provide the tools and information you need to perform your job well from 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM. Don’t miss your chance to receive 2 ELE Credits at this year’s Expo.
Donna DiMaggio Berger and Howard J. Perl will review the laws passed during the 2022 Legislative Session impacting condominiums, cooperatives, homeowner associations, timeshares and the community association management profession. Receive 1 LU Credit for The 2023 Legal Update! This class is taking from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM at this year’s Expo.
Tax Equity Requires Reinstating the Home Office Deduction
Over the past two and a half years, the job market has changed tremendously due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During this unprecedented time, employees have experienced a new normal that included working from home, eliminating both the time and cost of commuting to the office.
Becker’s James Mahon and Samantha Lesser break down the home office deduction in this op-ed, “Tax Equity Requires Reinstating the Home Office Deduction.”