MATERIAL ALTERATIONS CLARIFIED ---- MAYBE
Eric Glazer, Esq.
Published July 27, 2020
Several years ago, our firm was involved in a lawsuit
representing many condominium unit owners against their
association, alleging that material alterations were made
without a 75% vote of the unit owners before the material
alterations were made. ']
We alleged that the amount of the assessments for these material
alterations were staggering and the 75% vote was only obtained
after the group who bought all these units after they were
foreclosed upon owned at least 75% of the units who then decided
to vote in favor of these “material alterations.”
The Dade County trial judge, The Honorable Jennifer Bailey,
ruled that it made no difference when the 75% vote was taken, as
long as it was taken. She ruled that the statute did not
specifically state that the vote needed to be taken “before” the
material alterations were made and that the vote could be taken
after the material alterations were made. I argued in response
that said interpretation of the statute would lead to a
potentially absurd result. Suppose the massive material
alterations are made without a 75% vote, and the vote eventually
is against the material alterations? What do you do now?
Assess the people who didn’t want the material alterations to
now put the building back to the way it was? When would be the
deadline for the 75% vote if you could do it after the material
alterations were made? Eventually?
Now our firm was not appellate counsel nor were we the firm who
represented the plaintiffs at the evidentiary hearings the
appellate decision refers to. However, last week, the 3rd
District Court of Appeal ruled on this issue. It again
clarified what a material alteration is. It again clarified
that “repairs” are not material alterations and that a Board
does not need a vote of the owners in order to make repairs.
And the court ruled that in order to make a “material
alteration” the vote must be obtained “before” the material
alteration is made.
If you live in a condo, and especially if you are on a condo
board of directors you must read the decision.
Here it is:
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 Sachs, 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.