Florida Condo Association Disputes - Pre-Litigation Requirements

Posted over 5 years ago. Applies to Florida, 6 helpful votes

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1

Attempt to Resolve

- Fla. St. Ch. 718.1255 requires a unit owner to submit a letter offering resolution, by certified mail, return receipt requested, and regular mail, to the registered agent of the association. The registered agent can be found on www.sunbiz.org - The letter must identify the issues to be addressed, the resolution sought, and notice that if the matter is not resolved a petition for arbitration pursuant to 718.1255 will be submitted to the Department of Business and Professional Regulations.

2

Waiting for a Reply

- Unlike the Homeowner Association Act, the Condo Act does not provide a statutory period for a reply. It is customary to allow twenty (20) days (compatible with the Homeowner Association Act) or thirty (30) days

3

Tip

- If the association is willing you can suggest mediation

4

Non-Binding Arbitration

- If the association is not willing to resolve the issues, the next step is to petition the Department of Business and Professional Regulations ("DBPR") for non-binding arbitration - Like any litigation, you can represent yourself or a spouse pro se, but not anyone else; however, it is best to have the assistance or representation of a lawyer to ensure your case is not dismissed for inadequate pleading - There is a $50 filing fee - The petition must include proof of compliance with the requirements to attempt resolution prior to submitting a petition - DBPR may order mediation if the arbitrator believes it will be helpful

5

Trial De Novo

- If arbitration is not successful and the parties do not agree the arbitration is binding, either party can petition for a trial de novo - The decision of the arbitrator is admissible as evidence - The prevailing party is entitled to attorneys' fees and costs, including those of arbitration.

6

Things to Know

"Dispute" does not include any disagreement that primarily involves: title to any unit or common element; the interpretation or enforcement of any warranty; the levy of a fee or assessment, or the collection of an assessment levied against a party; the eviction or other removal of a tenant from a unit; alleged breaches of fiduciary duty by one or more directors; or claims for damages to a unit based upon the alleged failure of the association to maintain the common elements or condominium property.

Additional Resources

Law Office of Barbara Billiot Stage, P.A.

CyberCitizens for Justice, Inc.

CyberCitizens for Justice Educational Materials

Florida Statutes

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