OUT OF SIGHT
DOES NOT MEAN OUT OF MIND
Eric Glazer, Esq.
Published March 11, 2019
I like to re-publish this article every few years because it is
so important. As we get closer to spring and summer we are
simultaneously getting closer to lots and lots of empty
condominium units because many owners are returning up north for
a few months. Just because you leave your Florida condominium
for a few months however does not mean that your responsibility
to maintain your unit stops once you hit the Georgia border.
Every declaration of condominium has a general clause that
requires the owner of the unit to maintain his or her unit in
good condition. In fact, arbitration decisions have held that
"where an owner does not reside in the unit, it is incumbent on
the owner to routinely and periodically examine and inspect the
unit to ensure the absence of leaks and conditions that would
otherwise lead to damage to the building and its occupants. In
recognition of the fact that where multiple owners occupy a
single building, a problem that develops in one unit may well
affect other units and the common element components of the
building." See: Los Prados Condominium Association v. Lemley
Case No. 03-6092, May 25, 2004, Arbitrator, Scheuerman.
So, if you’re headed up north for a few months, and you know
that a friendly neighbor is going to remain in Florida, make
sure to leave that neighbor a key to your unit and ask him or
her to check the place every now and then. If you don’t leave a
key, remember that the law provides:
(5) RIGHT OF ACCESS TO UNITS.—
(a) The association has the irrevocable right of access to each
unit during reasonable hours, when necessary for the
maintenance, repair, or replacement of any common elements or of
any portion of a unit to be maintained by the association
pursuant to the declaration or as necessary to prevent damage to
the common elements or to a unit.
If the association thinks a leak is coming from your unit, if
they don’t have a key, they’re using a locksmith and/or breaking
your lock or door to get in. And, they’re entitled to do it, if
they have no other reasonable means to get in. And…….. it’s the
unit owner who is going to pay for the lock and door repair if
there really was a leak. Bottom line…be smart….plan ahead and
make sure that when Florida gets in your rear view mirror this
year, someone is still left behind watching your unit.
HOA & Condo Blog
Eric Glazer graduated from
the University of Miami School of Law in 1992 after
receiving a B.A. from NYU. He has practiced community
association law for more than 2
decades and is the owner of Glazer
and Associates, P.A. a seven attorney law firm with offices in
Fort Lauderdale and Orlando and satellite offices in Naples,
Fort Myers and Tampa.
Since 2009, Eric has been the host
of Condo Craze and HOAs, a weekly one hour radio show that airs
at noon each Sunday on 850 WFTL.
He is the first attorney in the
State of Florida that designed a course that certifies
condominium residents as eligible to serve on a condominium
Board of Directors and has now certified more than 10,000
Floridians all across the state. He is certified as a Circuit
Court Mediator by The Florida Supreme Court and has mediated
dozens of disputes between associations and unit owners. Eric
also devotes significant time to advancing legislation in the
best interest of Florida community association members.