Condo Line

Owners harassed by rental tenant

Q: My wife and I have been owner residents in our condominium for more than 20 years. During the past year, a rental tenant has constantly violated a number of rules, such as having unregistered vehicles in the assigned parking spaces, more than two vehicles on property, parking illegally, illegal carport storage and oil leaks in parking areas. Recently my wife and I have again brought this to the management company and board's attention. The tenant knows that we have reported these violations. We know who violated our confidentiality but cannot prove it. As retaliation, in the past two weeks the rental tenant has vandalized our two cars, made obscene gestures and shouted profanity at us. When I was out of town the tenant threatened my wife. Both the board and management company are aware of this but refuse to take action. Do we have any recourse against the board or management company?

M.B., Orlando

A: Since you suffered vandalism to your car, you should file a police report. I would also report the harassment. The owner of the rental unit has a responsibility to ensure that their tenants comply with the rules and regulations. Once you file a police report, I would notify the board of directors by certified mail of the vandalism and harassment and your police report. Request that the board notify the owner of the unit of the problems you have had with the tenant. If the board takes no action, engage an attorney to protect your property and your wife and yourself against further harassment. I recommend that you work directly with the board of directors as it has the responsibility, but you can contact the manager as well. If the tenant is in violation, enforcement matters would be against the owner of the unit. In addition, the board is responsible to the health and welfare of the community and the members.

Q: I am a board member of a 617 nonprofit Master & Recreations Association that four local communities pay to through HOA dues. I have serving on the board for four years and up until last night enjoyed it. The meeting ended in a shouting and shoving match, with folks ending up on the floor. The duty of this board is basically to run the facility and make decisions on keeping it going. Our building, grounds, and facilities are in very good order and condition. We run a 10-year budget plan and finances look very good. As I understand it, years ago, these meeting were closed to members but no longer are. After last night one of the members suggested that these meetings be closed again. Have I given you enough information to determine if we can have a board meeting behind closed doors and keep it legal?

C.P., Naples

A: I am confused by your question referring to operating under FS 617. That statue is the laws for Corporations Not-for-Profit. Most Florida associations fall under this statute. You’ll need to review the articles of incorporation found in your documents to see under which statute you operate. Regardless of the statue you fall under, they all have similar meeting requirements. Board meetings must be noticed 48 hours in advance. Condominiums require that the meeting agenda also be posted. HOA fall under similar limited requirements. Members attending meetings may address agenda items only. They are allowed by statute to talk a minimum of three minutes only on agenda items. However, the board may establish certain policies and rules to allow members to talk on the agenda items. Remember, it is critical that boards address members and keep them posted on actions of the association and the board. I would not suggest that you close your meetings.

Q: I am a unit owner in a condominium complex with six buildings; each has operated under its own documents and board of directors. We have a general manager and a master board for the complex and we follow Florida condominium statutes. I am treasurer of our building. Dues of $10 per unit are collected yearly for social events or any other needs for the building. For years the monies collected have been put into our bank account and monies not spent were rolled over to the next year. Now some residents are saying that we must spend all the monies in the account because it is not legal to roll funds over from year to year since we are non-profit. Just what is non-profit since we are just using funds for the building? Can our monies be used to subsidize nonpaying members and quests from outside or can we only subsidize those who have paid their yearly dues? Our residents have also decided they would like to be able to rent our card room for personal use. If this is passed will we be obligated to have a special account for renting or can we co-mingle our monies with our social and personal account?

E.V., Pembroke Pines

A: A common error by many associations and their boards is to assume that they are a nonprofit organization. Most likely you are a corporation not-for-profit and fall under FS 617. There is a big difference between nonprofit and not-for-profit. Most likely the budget line item considered as social events is not a valid budget item. The statutes say all budget items are for building operations. It appears to me that you are not properly conducting the financial obligations of the condominium because of the misconception of being a nonprofit organization. I hope that you have been filing IRS tax forms each year and pay the proper taxes. I suggest that your board seek help to better understand the financial obligations and operations of your condominium. Such information may be gained from talking to a condominium CPA and/or attorney.

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

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