Q. I am the community representative on my condominium’s board. Our community is a 300-unit condominium complex that has 72 unsold units. Therefore, the developer remains in control of the board. However, the developer is being foreclosed by the lending institution that provided the loans to purchase the property and convert the apartments into condominiums. Further, the developer did not provide for the reserves — and as such is now responsible for warrantying the buildings as stated in FS 718. The question is, when in receivership or upon sale to a new developer, what is the responsibility of the new developer to the owners regarding the implied warranties? — V.S., Naples
A. My answer will only provide part of the picture as it involves extensive legal courses of action. In most situations, any receiver, future developer or developer assignee will have the responsibility to comply with the documents and complete the project somewhat as planned. That receiver or developer assignee may have some rights to make alterations, depending on the original documents. As to your reserves, I would not expect that a receiver or assignee will bring the reserves current, but they may have some responsibilities. You need to understand that you are asking a specific situation and I am an outsider with limited information. The main reason that I cover this question is to say that I expect the situation will become commonplace with underfunded developers. While you and your neighbors need to protect your financial interest, trying to work with the new receiver or assignee will result in a more favorable transition.
Q. I wonder if an elderly person who does not have a medical reason for a companion, can hire one anyway to live with him and assist if needed and provide companionship? — D.K., Boca Raton
A. In today’s society, the term “family unit” has a broad meaning. It is not the same as a husband and wife and children in past years. It can include two or more nonrelated persons cohabiting in the same home. They can be the same sex or opposite sex, the same age or wide varying ages. Even if your documents restrict nonrelated persons from residing in the same unit, I do not believe you could enforce the restriction in today’s legal process. While he may not need a companion for medical reasons, he apparently does need mental companionship. Why not just let the old man live out his life with a little happiness that a companion could offer even if he has to pay? I am sure it is to clean, cook and add conversation. It does bring up another question. Where are the single women in your community? In communities I manage, the single women would be knocking on his door.
Q. Our large HOA has several miles of private streets within our community. Recently a new renter, who uses an electric wheelchair, moved into a home near mine. This individual uses it as a principle mode of transportation and drives it on our streets to exit the gated community to go shopping at nearby shopping centers. Most of the streets within our complex eventually connect to public roads and sidewalks. The risk and danger to this individual is significant and according to law this type of device is not a vehicle licensed to operate on roads/streets as it does not possess proper equipment such as lights, etc. An electric wheelchair or other self-propelled device is to allow increased mobility to handicapped people and not for transportation. We believe our documents do not allow it to be used as it is and the association should be able to restrict the use as intended. Your comments on this problem would be appreciated.
A. First, I do not see a problem for you and your association except your unsympathetic attitude toward the handicapped. Did you ever see a neighbor walk in the street or ride a bike in the street in your community? He is responsible for his safety and how he handles his wheelchair. Many adult communities have golf carts that use the streets and in my viewpoint, it is a similar challenge. Drivers need to be more aware of the wheelchair, bikes and golf carts and drive the posted speed. I assume that your speed limit is 25 mph. Maybe you need to have your drivers slow down to the posted speed.
Q. Does a manager of a mobile home community have to be a certified property manager? This person is our employee and not a management company. What are the state legal requirements of the position? — C.F., Port Richey
A. The state statute that covers licensing of managers is FS 468.432. It says that associations such as an HOA, condominium or cooperative that is more than 50 units or has a budget over $100,000, cannot engage an unlicensed person to manage. That license is called a Community Association Manager (CAM) license. A management company can only use licensed CAMs to manage their associations and the company must be registered with the state. While the manager does not need to be certified, it is a positive thing for the manager. One organization that certifies managers is the Community Association Institute (CAI), www.caionline.org. CAI has a number of training programs and different certifications for managers. An association that engages a non-licensed person can be fined. Now, as to your mobile home community, it would depend on the ownership of the park. If the park is privately owned (rental community), then the owners do not need to be licensed. However, if they engage a manager, the real estate laws, not the association statutes, may come into play and the person may need to have a real estate license. If the park is owned by the residents and members, the park would be established as a condominium, HOA, or cooperative and then fall under the appropriate association statutes and need to only engage a licensed CAM.
Richard White is a licensed community association manager in Florida. Questions should be mailed to him at 6039 Cypress Gardens Blvd. # 201, Winter Haven, Fl. 33884-4415; e-mail CAMquestion@cfl.rr.com. To be considered, questions and comments should include the author’s name and city. Questions should be about association operations, not legal matters.