If you are a Florida condo owner and are seeking legal representation to assist you with a dispute with your Association, there are several important factors to consider when hiring counsel. First and foremost, you want an attorney who is experienced in Florida condo law and has a winning track record with cases like yours.
Just as you would want a surgeon who has done lots of procedures like the one you are having, an attorney who has prevailed many times against condo Associations will not only be well versed in the ins and outs of the relevant state and federal condo laws — of which there are many — but will also know how to navigate the process, whether in court or an in alternative dispute resolution setting, and to anticipate every potential obstacle or challenge along the way.
Just as important, if not more so, is having an attorney who only represents condo owners, and does not handle cases for Associations. Hiring an attorney who only fights on behalf of condo owners means that you will never have to question your attorney’s loyalty and your Association will be unable to question your attorney’s dedication and commitment to protecting the rights of consumers and fighting only on their behalf. There will be no confusion over what side your attorney is on.
A rarity in Florida, our firm does not (and will not) represent condo Associations or Homeowners’ Associations (“HOAs”). The majority of condo attorneys in Florida represent the Association, and not the owner.
The Association’s Attorney is Not Your Attorney
As a condo owner, it is important to understand that condo Associations and HOAs in Florida retain large law firms with the money you pay as Association dues. Unfortunately, despite the fact that you are helping to pay their fees, these law firms are not your friend. They are there not to advise and protect owners but to represent and protect the interests of the Association.
With this in mind, if you are involved in a dispute with your Association, you will need to hire your own attorney to represent and protect your interests. DO NOT rely on advice from the Association’s lawyers.
Rights of Condo Owners
Under Florida condo law, unit owners have many rights, including rights relating to: meetings and notices; elections; voting; association funds; use of common elements; and inspection of Association records. Important, Florida condo owners also have a legal right to receive a “substantive written response to an inquiry” to the board no later than 60 days after receiving the inquiry. If your Association fails to respond to your inquiry or complaint, Florida law sets forth a process for addressing disputes between owners and Associations.
Most disputes between condo owners and their Associations must first go through alternative dispute resolution (“ADR,” for short), such as arbitration or mediation. One exception to the ADR requirement is a claim for damage to a unit based upon the alleged failure of the Association to maintain the common elements or condo property. If non-judicial remedies have been unsuccessful or failed to adequately address your complaint, you may bring a lawsuit against your Association.
Types of Disputes A Condo Law Firm Can Handle
Whether you are dealing with a mold and water damage claim caused by your Association’s failure to maintain common elements, or you believe your Association is unfairly enforcing a rule or restriction against you, or you are trying to get an accommodation for a service dog or emotional support animal in your pet-restricted housing, a Florida condo law attorney can assist you.
To ensure that your rights as a condo owner are protected at every turn, choose an experienced attorney whose entire practice is devoted to doing just that, and to representing every client with responsiveness, compassion, and determination.
If you are involved in a dispute with your condo Association and need an experienced attorney to fight for you, we welcome you to contact us at (954) 966-4909. We serve the legal needs of individual condominium owners, home owners and cooperative owners in resolving disputes with their associations throughout Florida, including Broward, Dade and Palm Beach Counties, as well as Hollywood, Davie, Pembroke Pines, Hallandale, Sunny Isles, Aventura, Miami, North Miami, Brickell, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, and Naples. We do not represent Associations.
Please note that free case evaluation is by telephone and does not include legal advice. Office consults with legal advice are available on a flat fee basis.