Condo Associations: Who Regulates Them in the State of Florida?

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Florida has thousands of condominiums and communities that are governed by  associations. The Condo Association is a governing body made up of residents, called the Board of Directors,  that enforces the rules and regulations of the state and the Association. But who regulates the Condo Associations? 

The state of Florida passed a set of statutes known as Chapter 718 that created the office of the Florida Condominium Ombudsman. The statutes also lay out how Condo Associations can operate, their duties, and the requirement to register with the state. However, the state does not engage in enforcement or audits of the statutes and relies on residents to file complaints in civil courts. 

The Florida Condominium Ombudsman may be able to help unit owners avoid civil litigation, but they ultimately can’t prevent a lawsuit. At Ferrer Law Group, we can help plaintiffs in a dispute find resolution. Get in touch with us to learn more and read on to learn about the Florida condominium ombudsman. 

What Is the Condo Association Act?

The Condo Association Act is a set of statutes that is also known as Chapter 718. It governs how Condo Associations are formed and managed, their powers, and how they are to be operated. It’s also designed to protect the rights of the association members. 

Condo Associations have to comply with Chapter 718 or face legal consequences if they persist in violating one or more statutes. When it comes down to who regulates condo associations, they are largely self-regulated and have to comply with Chapter 718 or risk being sued by unit owners. 

Association’s Rights and Responsibilities

Once a Condo Association is established, membership by all unit owners is mandatory. A Condo Association has rights and responsibilities that enable it to operate an association in a fair manner. The Condo Association has rights and responsibilities that include:

  • Place liens on properties in the event the unit owner have become delinquent in paying fees.
  • Maintain community and financial records for a minimum of seven years.
  • Maintain bids received for work performed on the property for at least one year.
  • Keep community members’ account information for at least one year. 
  • Prepare and file annual financial statements depending on the size of the association.
  • Maintain unit owner rights to view community documents. 
  • Allow all unit owners to participate in the board meetings and allow them to speak. 

What Is the Office of the Condominium Ombudsman?

The Office of the Condominium Ombudsman is tasked with the duty of helping Florida condominium owners maintain and improve their quality of life. The ombudsman is a neutral party that provides information to condominium owners, board members, and condominium associations. It also monitors elections of condominium boards upon request and under certain circumstances. 

How Does the Office of the Condominium Ombudsman Regulate Associations? 

The Florida condominium ombudsman doesn’t directly regulate condo associations in the sense that they’re actively seeking out condo associations that are violating the law. Instead, they act as a resource for all parties who reside in and operate condominium buildings. They also enforce Florida condo laws to ensure that everyone is in compliance and the condo association is operating in good faith. 

The Florida Condominium Ombudsman can be asked to act as a neutral party or liaison between all key parties in the operation of a Florida condominium. In order to ask the ombudsman to participate, 15% of the total voting interest in a condo association, or six unit owners, whichever number is greater, can petition the ombudsman to send an election monitor to attend the condominium board’s annual meeting. The association pays for the costs of monitoring the election process. 

They can also handle Florida homeowners association complaints to make sure the HOA is operating within Florida state laws regarding condominium association operations and unit owners. In order to achieve this, the Florida condominium ombudsman prepares and delivers materials, helps condo associations develop their operating plans, and monitors and reviews the procedures and disputes that concern board elections or meetings. 

How Can a Palm Beach County HOA Attorney Help?

Condo associations aren’t actively regulated by the state, and an ombudsman can only do so much to ensure compliance. At the Ferrer Law Group, we can help homeowners find a resolution to a condo association that is operating improperly, creating rules that violate Chapter 718, engaging in malicious enforcement of rules, and more. Call us today to speak to a Broward County condo association lawyer for help with Florida condo association laws and their use.   

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