2021 Legislative Session

THE 2021 LEGISLATIVE SESSION It is still too early to determine which community association bills will be adopted by the Florida Legislature and, of course, which may be vetoed by the Governor.  Though we are a month into the 2021 Legislative Session significant new proposals are making their way into bills, and provisions that were…

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Punitive Damages

PUNITIVE DAMAGES: PUNISHMENT FOR MANAGEMENT LANDSCAPING CONDUCT?  Can a manager subject a Florida community association to punitive damages?  Over landscaping??  For $15 million??? Because an association normally is a corporation, the purpose of punitive damages, to punish, is not always clear cut, and thankfully, few and far between.  But, bad things do happen! Because there…

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Suspension and Termination

New Decision: Suspension and Termination (Voluntary Association) (The Naked Lady Ranch v. Wycoki) Never argue with a naked lady? Lady Godiva may be recalled by the appellant’s name, but punishment for a perceived transgression was a serious issue in Wednesday’s decision, Naked Lady Ranch, Inc. v. Wycoki, Case No. 4D18-2868 (Fla. 4th DCA November 20,…

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New Decision: Fair Debt (Kelly v. Duggan)

New Decision: Fair Debt (Kelly v. Duggan) Michael Gelfand 10/25/2019 Conflict is joined on debt collection! Wednesday, Florida’s First District Court of Appeal certified conflict with the Fifth District Court of Appeal, holding that condominium assessments are consumer debts under the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (“FCCPA”), §§ 559.55 – .785, Fla. Stat., such that a consumer may…

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WAIVER OF RIGHTS BY SKIPPING ARBITRATION

WAIVER OF RIGHTS BY SKIPPING ARBITRATION In another decision emphasizing the importance of properly interpreting Florida community association documents, the question arose as to what happens when a homeowners’ association fails to timely submit a dispute to mediation or arbitration? A Florida appellate court ruled that an Association waived its claim against a homeowner where…

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Waiver of Claims (Guan v. Ellingsworth Residential C.A.)

Highlighting the hidden dangers in lengthy covenant enforcement provisions, the Fifth District Court of Appeal addressed the interplay between a covenant’s alternate dispute resolution requirement and the Homeowners’ Association Act’s mandatory pre-suit mediation procedures in § 720.311 Fla. Stat. (2015), in Guan v. Ellingsworth Residential Community Ass’n, Inc., Case No. 5D18-3633 (Fla. 5th DCA, August 23, 2019). BACKGROUND…

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New Decision: Assessments

New Decision: Assessments – Joint and Several Liability with Previous Owners (Coastal Creek v. FLA Trust Services) The battle is joined! The prize is whether pursuant to § 718.116(n)(a), Fla. Stat. (2017) a current condominium unit owner is jointly and severally liable for delinquent assessments accruing during the ownership of a remote owner. The result…

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Defamation Claims: Loose Lips & E-Mails

What should your association do when there seems to be evidence that an ex-officer might have misappropriated association funds? An internal investigation is a likely option. Sometimes there may be public accusations. Incriminating statements, talk and emails may lead to inuendo and rumors. What is next? It is not unusual for the accused to fight…

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