Knowledge is Power Know Your Governing Documents

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 Basics

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.

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7 Comments

  • If the original declaration has no weight limit on pets, can the board alone put in a rule limiting the weight of pets for new owners?
  • If the original declaration has no weight limit on pets, can the board alone put in a rule limiting the weight of pets for new owners?
  • when does FS718 supersede condo documents
  • Mary, it depends on how the cotrcant treats fee increases; unfortunately I can't answer your question without reviewing the cotrcant. The increase in the ALLOWABLE fee does not mean your management company is required to increase the fee. But the cotrcant may allow for that.Kelvin, the allowable fee increase did go into effect in July 2011.
  • Our newly appointed board secretary is parking a commercial vehicle on their property which is against our by-laws. When we complained, the board secretary told us that Florida law supersedes our by-laws and they will not remove the vehicle. The board president is allowing them to park the vehicle. Now other commercial vehicles are showing up all over the neighborhood. What can we do ? We also have had no changeover in officers for years. They won't hold an election.
  • Can a community with some homeowners owning shares in the cooperative and some owners of homes are leaseholders Can the leaseholders be kept out of input meetings held by the coop owners.
  • If the condominium declaration docs state that to change number of days a unit may minimally be rented requires 100% of the voting members in writing to agree ......can the board circumvent this is some way and put it to a vote of the owners with less than 100% agreement?