While essential to the successful operation of all cooperatives or condominiums, governing documents are often only glossed over by otherwise well-intentioned board members, residents and property managers leading to potential pitfalls. As a result, it is often suggested by counsel that boards revisit, and in some cases relearn, the various components of this all-important and varied documents.
Eric Glazer, a founding partner of Glazer & Associates, P.A., a condominium and homeowner association law firm in Hollywood, said that condo owners often are in the dark about the responsibilities of community living and never even bother to read the documents they are given when they move in.
“After representing condominium associations for several years now,” says Glazer, “I have learned that many unit owners had no idea of what they were getting into when choosing to live in a condominium. They had no idea that documents called bylaws, declaration of condominium, and rules and regulations were going to govern each and every aspect of their daily living at their new residence. They actually believed that they would be able to have any pet of their choice, plant any flower they wished, barbecue where and when they desired and even rent out their unit to anyone they wished. They were wrong,” Glazer contends.
Glazer, as do many other attorneys around the Sunshine State, offer mandatory board certification course instruction, that helps new board members learn the ropes.
The first step is differentiating between cooperatives and condominiums. Co-ops typically are governed by a proprietary lease, a certificate of incorporation and a set of bylaws. A condominium is traditionally governed by a master deed and bylaws along with a declaration of condominium or a declaration of covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&R’s). The declaration is usually recorded with the recorder of deeds in your town and county, while the bylaws, which govern the operation of the board, will typically stay within the building.