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Florida condo association confusion over common elements

Posted on Wed, Jan 05, 2011 @ 12:59 PM
  
  
  
  

Florida Condo Association Confusion with interpretation of article within declaration regarding Alterations of and Improvements to units and Common Elements. Recently, the board made the decision to approve a change to a common element namely; Light fixtures 2 located on Limited Common Element (Balconies) one at owners doorway and one at owners side garage door entry. I am trying to understand the verbiage in our Declaration, can someone provide their thoughts.

The passage reads: Neither a Unit Owner nor the Association shall make any alterations, improvements or additions to Units, Common Elements, or Limited Common Elements, except in compliance with the following: A. Unless the Unit owner(s) shall first submit plans for such work to the Board, and the Board, by resolution unanimously adopted by the affirmative vote of all members thereof, shall approve and consent thereto, no alteration of or improvement or addition to a Unit, or to any Limited Common Element to which the owner has an exclusive right of use, shall be made, constructed, erected or installed which shall: 1. remove, in whole or in part, replace,reroute, or otherwise affect any column, bearing wall or partition, pipe, duct, wire or conduit, or obstruct any easement herein provided for, or 2. remove, or change the style, pattern, material, texture or outside color of any door, window, screen, fixture, equipment, enclosure, or appliance in or on an exterior Unit or building wall, or 3. cover, from the inside or outside, the glass or other transparent and/or translucent material in any exterior door or window with or apply or affix thereto, any material or substance which shall render the same opaque or change the exterior color thereof, except interior draperies, curtains, shades or shutters which are lined, backed, covered or painted on the side visible from the exterior with a neutral color material, or affix to or over any exterior door or window, or otherwise install on the exterior, of any Unit or building, any storm or hurricane shutter or awning or any protective or decorative panel, paneling, trim, enclosure, fixture, or appliance, or 5. otherwise change, modify or alter the exterior of any Unit or building so that it thereby differs in appearance from any other Units or buildings of the same type. There shall be no material alterations or substantial improvements or additions to the Common Elements except in the following manner: subject to the foregoing restrictions against changing the exterior appearance of Units and/or buildings, the Association shall have the right to make or cause to be made alterations, improvements and/or additions to the Common Elements, except the acquisition of additional real property, which have been approved by the owner of Units to which 75% of the Common Elements are appurtenant. The cost of such alterations, improvements and/or additions shall be assessed against and collected from the owners of all Units as Common Expenses.

My question would be: The board approved a owner to change his outdoor lighting fixtures, which are not consistent with all the other units now. Did the board have the authority to authorize such a change or should they have brought this to the membership and if they wanted to change the fixtures then they would need to vote on it? The President made a comment at the board meeting that if all board members agreed then they would approve the owners request. Was this the correct thing to do? according to our Declaration. Thank you

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COMMENTS

This is the portion of the declaration that you wish to have clarified: "A. Unless the Unit owner(s) shall first submit plans for such work to the Board, and the Board, by resolution unanimously adopted by the affirmative vote of all members thereof, shall approve and consent thereto, no alteration of or improvement or addition to a Unit, or to any Limited Common Elementto which the owner has an exclusive right of use, shall be made, constructed, erected or installed. . ." 
 
 
 
IMO, "of all members thereof" refers to the members of the board. I believe the BOD acted properly by making the decision w/o a vote of the membership. Frankly I've never heard of a vote of the membership being required for an architectural request. In many assn's this is handled by the architectural committee and the board does not get involved unless there is an appeal by the member making the request.

posted @ Wednesday, January 05, 2011 1:24 PM by mary


From what you have explained, it is the Board who made the changes to the limited common elements. 
 
The paragraph you have supplied doesn't appear to specify requirements for the Board making changes to the limited common elements, only an owner making changes to the limited common elements with approval from the Board and membership.

posted @ Wednesday, January 05, 2011 1:28 PM by Joyce Nord @ bestcondomanager.com


Sorry, for some reason I didn't read the portion quoted above. After re-reading, I do agree with mary.

posted @ Wednesday, January 05, 2011 1:30 PM by Joyce Nord @ bestcondomanager.com


Check your state's condominium law. Many such do not allow for change tyo outward appearance of the property. If that clause is in your state law it pre-empts the portion of your documents that was quoted.

posted @ Wednesday, January 05, 2011 1:32 PM by Scott


I take my last comment back. Again, this portion of the condo docs appears to reference if the unit owner wishes to make the change, it needs to be adopted by the Board. In this case, the unit owner was not the entity wishing to do the work and did not submit plans. It was the Board and this paragraph does not seem to address this particular issue. I would look for reference to additions or changes to the limited common elements by the Board.

posted @ Wednesday, January 05, 2011 1:33 PM by Joyce Nord @ bestcondomanager.com


"Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer"  
 
You show sections numbers 2,3 and 5. What happened to 1 and 4? Did you feel they were irrelevant? 
 
Your bylaws state the following.  
 
"A. Unless the Unit owner(s) shall first submit plans for such work to the Board, by resolution unanimously adopted by the affirmative vote of all members" 
 
If you give them plans of what your going to do, they can approve or disapprove the project. 
 
My question is did you recently vote on a resolution for the board to determine things without an Association vote?  
 
 
 
 
 

posted @ Wednesday, January 05, 2011 2:33 PM by Victor


Joyce; 
 
I guess I should clarify what transpired. One homeowner changed his outdoor lighting fixtures without board approval over a year ago, of course he was sent violation letters to no avail. (thats another story)He still has them. So, now another neighbor wanted to change his light fixtures, again 2 are on limited elements and 2 are on common. Instead of fighting with the non-conforming neighbor, the board decided to allow the new request from the homeowner who followed procedures by submitting his request etc. In doing so they also stated that they would give a couple of choices incase anyother homeowners wanted to change their lights. So now their is no conformity within the community, their is the potential for 3-4 styles of lighting. I was told in the past that when their is a change or alteration to a building that a majority of the owners would have to agree. Is this not correct? It's just a matter of the board deciding?

posted @ Wednesday, January 05, 2011 3:08 PM by TP


Victor: 1 is included and 4 is also their I just missed putting the number in while typing, 4 starts at Affix to or over any exerior door or window....etc... 
 
In addition, I'm not seeking legal advice, I'm merely trying to see if their is any clarity in the interpetation of what the article in the Declaration states. To answer you question on Resolution for the board to determine things without a association vote? The answer is NO. They brought up the ARC from the homeowner, and President stated it would have to be unanimous from the board members and if it was they would approve his request without a vote from the membership that they didn't feel it altered the buildings.

posted @ Wednesday, January 05, 2011 3:22 PM by TP


I reopeat checjk your state condominium act. Many such laws in several states have clauses which prvent any alteration which changes the outward appearance of the proerty. If the state you reside in has such a clauuse it matters not what your board decides because the state law preempts your documents in case of c onflicts. If the board persists then what is to stop anotyher unit owner from aaplying to paint his front foor a bright red with yellow polk dots. Bad precedence in any case.

posted @ Wednesday, January 05, 2011 5:00 PM by Scott


I'm sorry to disagree with a least one commenter here who stated that the Board or the Architectural Commitee can arbitrarily change the architecture of the building!!! 
 
 
 
That (in my opinion) is the problem with MOST Boards - they think they have supreme decision making rights...and that is just NOT true.... Go back to the State Statutes and you will read that they keep the building going but cannot RE-DESIGN IT !!! Maintenance and Upkeep ONLY..... 
 
They MUST get the approval from the members of the Association (THE UNIT OWNERS).....

posted @ Sunday, January 09, 2011 11:26 AM by KELLI2L


~ We the people wouldn't be having these misunderstandings about condominium, co-op, HOA rules, or any real estate laws... if these documents were written in plain to understand ENGLISH instead of "legal speak"!  
 
~ It's so needlessly frustrating....

posted @ Sunday, January 09, 2011 11:33 AM by KELLI2L


If the condo documents are silent on this issue, what gives the BOD authority to eliminate an emenity that has been in place since first constructed. Such as a hot tub or souna. If a vote is reqired, by whom and what %?

posted @ Thursday, April 21, 2011 11:39 AM by John D Vagnetti


I imagine that the windows would count as one of the common elements. I have always wanted to put shutters on my windows, and I'm not sure if the association would let that fly. I guess the only way that I'll ever know is if I ask I guess. http://www.trustlink.org/Review/Elizabeth-Shutters-145024

posted @ Friday, September 05, 2014 5:41 PM by Emily Merrell


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