Condo Line

Owners flout flooring restriction

 

CAMquestion@cfl.rr.com

Q. Our condominium documents include a restriction for owners of second-floor units. The documents state that no more than 40 percent of the floors can be covered with wood, tile or other hard surface. The remaining 60 percent or more must be covered with wall-to-wall carpet. We have been in several second-floor units where floors are covered by tile and/or hardwood, so obviously the document restrictions are not being enforced. Yet a question to the manager about installing hardwood floors in our second-floor unit resulted in the answer that “the documents forbid more than 40 percent hard flooring on the second floor.” Because the rules are not being enforced uniformly, does this mean that I, as a second-floor owner, are no longer bound by those restrictions and I can install whatever I desire? Must I name the owners who are not abiding by the document restrictions?

C.M., Miami

Your board of directors is not performing its duties properly. Before you name the violators, I would notice the board in writing that some owners have installed hard flooring over 100 percent of their floors and challenge the board to enforce the rules. Explain that if it fails to enforce the rules, then it opens the condominium to a failure to enforce the rules.

Many condominiums have the rule restricting hard flooring for various reasons. One is that the building was not constructed to support hard floors. In such situations, sound can penetrate into units below. Some city/county codes restrict hard floors. My opinion is that this improvement is the most difficult to solve and most expensive to correct. It is best for the board to take immediate action to correct the violations. I would not suggest that you install a hard floor. If you want such a floor, then move to a community that allows them; you will save a lot of difficulties.Q. A roof leak over my kitchen resulted in water filling several five-gallon buckets. While the manager sealed the leak, water damaged my light. I complained to him and he sent someone to replace the bulb but it did not fix the problem. I asked the manager to have the board discuss the problem at the next meeting. It did not and when I tried to talk, the board did not provide any answer. We never had a problem with this light before the leak. Please advise me if I must pay to have the light fixed or if it is the responsibility of the board.

E.K., Belleair Beach

Unit owners should have their own insurance to cover damage to personal property. However, this should not be a claim, as it is most likely less than the deductible amount. Here is the rule that most condominiums fall under: All unit owners are responsible for a personal property loss or damage, regardless of the cause. You are responsible for the replacement or the repair of your kitchen light. The board would only be responsible for the roof repair.

Q. The new board president is attempting to circumvent the “avoiding a quorum” rule in making decisions. He advises and encourages board members to talk to each other privately in small groups and then have board members talk to him. Then a decision is made. These decisions are not addressed at board meetings. It seems that under the letter of the law there is not a quorum, so a meeting does not have to be posted, but I think this is a fine line being crossed. I would appreciate your opinion.

D.R., Clearwater

Directors can meet in private to discuss and accomplish association business if there is no quorum of directors in attendance. It is not a fine line but a violation if they make final decisions outside a board meeting. The board can assign directors to perform operational duties and complete approved tasks outside the meeting. It is called day-to-day business. If a matter arises that has not been approved, then that must be approved at the next board meeting.

I would send the board a letter addressing the private meetings to conduct business. Explain that the statutes require that all business final decisions must be approved at a board meeting.

Write to Condo Line, Richard White, 6039 Cypress Gardens Blvd., #201, Winter Haven, FL 33884-4115, or e-mail CAMquestion@cfl.rr.com. Include name and city.

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