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Can your condo association deny your visitors parking?

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Probably not, while condo associations may be contending with complex management issues MSN Real Estate reports that condo associations are becoming increasingly aggressive in dealing with them. Operating within the law may be a vicarious situation for condominium management, however, falling outside of the parameters of the law can lead to serious legal matters ultimately affecting the well being of the entire community. Perhaps your neighbor drops your child off from school at your door until you get off from work daily, or you have a visiting nurse or therapist, or perhaps you have fallen down, called someone then blacked out. There are countless reasons why NOT to deny entry across the board to visitors of a community with little or know knowledge of circumstances and apparently the State of Florida has recognized this.

According to Charles B. Jimerson, Esq of Jimerson and Cobb, P.A.:

"Recent changes to the Florida Statutes may require many condo associations to modify their parking management programs. The Florida Legislature enacted House Bill 73 (“HB 73”), effective July 1, 2013, which limits the association’s power to suspend unit owners, tenants and guests from using specific common elements under Section 718.303(3)(a), Florida Statues. Among the new changes: an association may no longer suspend the right of owners, tenants or guests from using parking spaces. Until recently, this statute has been a broad source of power for associations to incentivize unit owners and residents to comply with the rules of the association. But the legislature giveth; and the legislature taketh away. So how do these new changes affect the status quo of an association’s parking program? Will condo associations be liable for expenses and damages for towing unauthorized vehicles? And how does the condo association comply with the new law, and yet still accomplish the goals of the association? This bLAWg post seeks to answer those questions and more."

Jimerson continues:

"Prior to HB 73, condo associations were statutorily-empowered to take action against owners and/or residents that did not comply with the provisions of the declaration, bylaws, or rules. Sanctions could include suspending, for a reasonable time, the right of a unit owner, tenant or guest to use the common elements, common facilities, or any other association property. See Fla. Stat. § 718.303(3) (2012). But since July 1, 2013, the new amendment to Section 718.303(3)(a) prohibits an association from suspending “the right of a unit owner, or a unit owner’s tenant, guest, or invitee, to use . . . parking spaces.” Fla. Stat. § 718.303(3)(a)."

With that said, if you are a condo association and your attorney is telling you the association can suspend owners, tenants or guests from parking in the community: you may want to seek a new attorney who keeps up with the changes in the law. No, the condo association or the board are not ogres and there are reasonable concerns for their decisions. Most boards are also not experts and may well need to be educated to prevent lawsuits. There are also legitimate reasons why condominium owners may fall behind. Some of those owners may have carried the community while other owners were undergoing hard times. Despite the horrific economic downturn some citizens in South Florida are at long last recovering from the nightmare. There should not be a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" process to manage condominium communities and burning the bridges between boards and owners. One wonders what has become of the semblance of community in the condominium? Are communities doomed to endure "gestapo" tactics while investing in their American Dream? The idea of a condominium community once was about community, where people banded and actually worked harmoniously together for the benefit of the whole. With an entire legal sector emerging devoted to condominium flagrances on either side, hopefully, a more humanistic process will emerge and we can bring the community back to our condominiums.

Condominum Owner Resources

Condo Insurance

Florida Condo Attorney (example)

Condominium Association Resources

Association Resources (CAI)

Florida CAI Chapter

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