Condo Line

Board callous to mother’s plight

Q. My mother fell on the wet walk on the top floor near her unit just after it was pressure washed. While she did not suffer broken bones, she was required to have physical therapy to help gain strength. To help, I placed a small bench at the end of the walk to allow her to take short walks and have a place to rest and enjoy the fresh air. The board required me to remove the bench because I never asked to place it on the common area walk. Their answer gave remarks like, “if she has difficulty, get a wheelchair” and “this is not an assisted living facility.” My letters from the condominium association are totally unsympathetic to her problems. I stated in my request that the bench was only a minor alteration to help a much-needed medical situation. We are stunned by the board’s callous reply. I request your comments about this troubling situation.

W.S., Indian Rock Beach

There is no simple answer to a board that does not respond to a request involving a disabled or injured person. I have learned that you never suggest that a disabled or injured person get a wheelchair. In many situations, such an event may mean that once in the wheelchair, they will never walk again because they lose the strength and capability.

For some reason a few boards feel that if there is the appearance of a carekeeper or nurse, it devalues the property. In one case the board rejected adding handicapped parking when they had available spaces at the clubhouse because they were afraid it would make the community appear to be one of older persons. There is an old saying that you should not judge a person until you walk in their shoes. In the case of the boards, this is something that you cannot teach them, only try to explain and hope for the best. Make sure that the board has your request in writing; it is best to send certified mail, and request that the subject be discussed at the next board meeting.

Q. A few years back I was told that I needed to carry unit owners insurance. The condominium provides insurance for the exterior but not the inside of my unit. Has the law changed and do I not need to have insurance?

E.D., Clearwater

In 2004 Florida was hit with four hurricanes. Several condominiums found that some unit owners did not have insurance to cover inside repairs. Some of these owners walked away from their units. These condominiums found that the abandoned units were developing mold and mildew and many were open to the elements. State lawmakers quickly jumped to change the law and require that all condominium owners buy insurance. In the next couple of years, this law was changed to not requiring thecoverage. Owners are not necessarily required to have unit owners insurance but the lack of it does not eliminate the responsibility for any repairs or replacements to their personal property or repairs of the structure of their unit. I suggest that all condominium unit owners contact an insurance agent and find out the cost and what it covers.

Q. I have signed a contract to have a home constructed in a homeowner association (HOA). I requested a copy of the covenants and was given a computer disk. The covenants contain more than 100 pages. I do not feel that I should be responsible for making a hard copy from the disk. Are they complying with FS 720 by giving me a computer disk as opposed to a hard copy?

D.P., Orange City

Normally the seller is required to provide the set of documents, not the association. I am unclear if the developer/contractor still retains control of the HOA. If they are not in control, then the association would only have the duty to have copies, maybe hard copies, available for purchase. I would go back to the party that you purchased the lot from and ask for the hard copy you want. My guess is that if you have to purchase a set of the documents from the association, it would charge $20 to $25. If you take the disk to a printing business, the cost would be half that amount. The statutes only require the HOA to have a sufficient number of documents available for purchase. I am sure that a computer disk is not only a more efficient way to provide copies; it would be low in cost. Welcome to the digital age.

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

Read more Home & Garden stories from the Miami Herald

 <span class="cutline_leadin">Heirlooms: </span>Colorful tomatoes from local farms are sold at the Pinecrest Farmers Market..

    Market Guide

    Farm fresh: A guide to South Florida farmers markets

    Know your farmer, know your food: Where to find local produce from Fort Lauderdale to Homestead.

  • Fairchild’s tropical garden column

    Beating the bugs: marauding mosquitos

    I’ve never met anyone with any compassion for the mosquito. Besides serving as food (not often enough) for birds, bats and frogs, their only asset is their role as pollinators. Now more than ever, especially as gardeners, we need to be aware of the diseases mosquitos spread and how to avoid them while managing not to poison ourselves and allied insects.

This unusually large Bohemian table lamp should be valued in the $2,800 to $3,500 range, possibly more.


    Early 1900s Czech lamp is a whimsical find

    Q: How much you would charge to appraise a lamp for me and provide some details about it?

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category