Condo Line

Painting led to moldy unit doors

Q: Who is responsible for replacing or repairing front doors in a Florida condominium? For years there was no mold/mildew build-up on my front door. Then all unit doors were painted. Ever since, my door has been the Petri dish for ugly, black mold, which is laborious to remove. Now, my door and many others in the community are rusting.

Many of us realize that for safety issues and to keeps pests out, the doors need to be replaced. The association says it is each owner’s responsibility. Yet I have spoken with residents of other condominiums in our area and have been told that the state has relatively new rules stating that the associations are responsible for new doors.

S.Q., Naples

A: The primary controlling factor concerning windows and doors is your condominium documents. It could be possible for the board to take some responsibility in painting the buildings to include the doors. That would be a board’s decision.

First, read your documents to see what responsibility the board has and what responsibility you have concerning these areas. If you find that the board/condominium is responsible, you will need to write it and ask it to repair or replace your door.

As to the state ruling on doors, it may have something to do with new hurricane zoning requirements. Sometimes this will place the obligation on the condominium or sometimes the owner. I’m not familiar with your area and the zoning requirements, so you must search out the new regulations.

Q: I read in your column that financial committee minutes must be posted. I have tried to find this in Chapter 718.112 and have been unable. Can you help?

L.D., Naples

A: Usually committee meetings do not produce minutes but rather reports of the meeting. These reports would be presented at the following board meeting in the agenda section called reports.

Committee meetings do not need to be posted or open to the members except when they discuss financial decisions or budget preparations or final decisions for the board. In that case the meetings must be posted 48 hours in advance and open to the members.

Committee meetings are not formal as are board meetings and membership meetings. They usually gather with no roll call and no quorum required to discuss a specific question or subject. They attempt to come up with answers and/or solutions that would be presented to the board in their reports.

To keep the members informed, it would be nice if the committees issued reports that were posted for the members to review. It’s not a requirement, just good business procedure.

Q: Two homeowners in our community have not paid HOA fees for seven years, heading into year eight! We are told by our HOA that the law firm they have on retainer is working on it.

The yard continues to be maintained and the cost is coming out of our pockets. It’s hurting us all by having homes that could be on the market, and losing two HOA payments.

The law firm, via the HOA, says it will recoup those years of non-pay. Isn’t there a statute of limitations? Do we have the right to request a copy of the work the firm has done on our community’s behalf and can we really ever have that HOA money owed back into our budget again? We don’t feel the truth is being told, and we want to know why.

M.N., Fort Lauderdale

A: While condominiums have a limitation of one year, HOAs do not have this limitation to collect delinquent accounts.

No board should allow any owner to be this seriously delinquent. It is time to change the board and maybe the attorney. Why would any board sit back and let owners not pay their fees? This means that the members (the owners) failed in their responsibilities to elect good directors. About the only reason I can think as to why the attorney would not recommend to lien and foreclose on the property was if there was a bankruptcy in progress.

I have advised over the years to have a strict collection policy. That would mean continued monitoring of monies received, with letters sent to the owner of the delinquency. Once the final certified letter is sent, which should be within 60 to 90 days of delinquency, the matter should be turned over to the association attorney with instructions to lien and foreclose on the property. With this strict and fast policy any good attorney should be able to have the foreclosure filed within 180 days of delinquency. The board has the responsibility and right to do this.

The failure of the board to act responsibly is the fault of the owners who fail to supervise the board’s actions.

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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