Can’t we all just get along? Neighbors helping neighbors, associations and residents working together. When someone moves into a community, they often look for the friendliness and camaraderie that living in an association brings. But with many personalities often butting heads on everyday living situations, it can often get tense and things can go awry. Neighbors argue with each other, associations complain about residents and residents complain about associations. Often, the problems aren’t extreme and can be solved amongst each other. And some can’t.
“People living with other people from different cultures and with different priorities tends to foster discontent on some level,” says Saul Cimbler of Florida Mediation & Arbitration in Miami.
Attorney Eric Glazer has seen a lot of cases in his career, but there’s one that takes the cake. He makes sure to share it when he teaches his Condo Craze Board Member Certification Course. It involved an owner of a condominium unit in a Hallandale Beach hi-rise who had a unique unit. His terrace overlooked the pool area and was only about 22 inches above the pool deck.
Taking the Plunge
This particular owner didn’t like the fact that he was so close to the pool deck but still had to leave his home, walk through the hallway, and enter into the common area lobby and out the door to the pool area each time that he wanted to use the pool. He had a better idea. “He took a chain saw and sliced off a section of the common element balcony railing, converting it into a swinging gate, and now opened the gate and jumped down the 22 inches in order to access the pool,” says Glazer, whose practice is with Glazer & Associates, P.A. in Fort Lauderdale. “When he was done using the pool, he would hop up the 22 inches to his balcony, open the swinging door and enter into his home.”
Because he altered a common element, the board filed an arbitration action against him. “Witnesses were called, a final hearing was held and the association won, but the case wasn’t over,” says Glazer.