As a Florida Condo Lawyer aiming in representing owners in disputes against their associations I often get asked “how long do I have to file suit against my condo association?” Many condo owners and homeowners have claims against their associations for “water damage and mold damage damage due to association’s failure to maintain common elements, injury claims in common areas, covenant enforcement, illegal budget increases, selective enforcement claims, improper leasing restrictions, tortious interference with owner’s right to sell or rent, pet restrictions, interference with an owner’s quiet use and enjoyment, noise complaints, harrasment by board members and property management, architectural review claims, and improper use of funds by board members.”
Before we even look to Florida Statutes Section 95.11 we first need to determine under what theory of law we will be proceeding. Are we bringing a negligence case or some other type of tort or are we bringing an action based on a contract or written instrument. Most condo owners, homeowners and cooperative owners thinking of suing their association believe they are bringing a negligence or tort based claim. While it may be true that the owner’s damages were caused by the negligence of the Association Board Members or Property Management, as long as there is a provision in the Governing Documents addressing the obligation of the Association then the cause of action is for a breach of the Governing Documents.
Section 95.11(2)(b) provides for a 5 year limitation period for a “legal or equitable action on a contract, obligation, or liability founded on a written instrument….”
The limitations period for negligence claims is 4 years. A good attorney will make sure to style the cause of action as a Breach of Contract Action against the Association to take advantage of the longer limitation’s period as well as the prevailing party attorney’s fee provisions in the condo declaration. It is always important to keep these limitations in mind and consult with a Florida Condo Lawyer that focuses on representing condo owners.