Dealing With Condo Termination In Florida
When you buy a condo in Florida, you are likely doing so with the expectation that you can live your golden years out there. However, recent years have given the lie to that statement, due to the evolution of a process that is known as condo termination. There are various reasons why this might occur in your building, but the crux of the issue is that even if you own your condominium free and clear, complete with deed and covenants in force, you may be “terminated” if the right (or wrong) investor comes along. If this has happened to you, know that contacting an attorney to discuss the issue may make a big difference in your case.
What Is Condo Termination?
Condo termination is most common when an investor wishes to develop or rezone a parcel of land and one or a small handful of residents resist. Often, what will happen is that the investor slowly acquires all the units (and thus, the voting power) and then “votes” to terminate the condominium enterprise. Florida law holds that at least 80 percent of a condominium complex’s voting interests must vote in favor of a plan of termination, and such a plan will pass unless at least 5 percent of the owners oppose the plan in writing.
This is done for a variety of reasons – one of the most common is when the condo association is simply not economically viable, but another, potentially more sinister one is when a building’s new owner or owners believe they can make more money (or save more money) by rebranding as an apartment complex, or by simply tearing the building down. This goes doubly in 2022, as Florida’s governor recently signed a sweeping package of condo reform laws, imposing potentially significant repair and upkeep costs to many condos that have not been inspected in decades.
Leaves Owners In Limbo
If you live in a relatively new, beautiful, waterfront building, having your condo terminated out from under you may bring you a significant profit – the land is still quite valuable, and investors may be more willing to pay top dollar to acquire the rights to the land your home stands upon. However, condo terminations cause real, long-lasting harm to those in lower-income situations, and in less valuable buildings. In such cases, those whose homes are “terminated” may be priced out of the skyrocketing real estate market, leaving them in a difficult position.
It is extremely rare for an individual condo owner to be able to stop a termination, particularly if it is a mass termination of units in the same building. Generally, even if one argues that the covenants grant them an unassailable right to own their property, the response is that covenants are implicitly changeable, and that it is good public policy to guard against economic waste. Nonetheless, consulting an attorney on the subject can at least make sure that you are dealt with fairly, and that your rights are protected during what can be a protracted – and even potentially ugly – legal process.
Contact A Tampa Condominium Law Attorney
A condo termination can feel unfair – you paid for your property, and the idea of someone unilaterally taking it away is upsetting. However, competing legal interests are at play, and it is a good idea to consult a Tampa HOW & condominium association attorney to figure out what path to take through the process. Attorney Alicia Seward and the Seward Law Office are ready to try and assist you. Contact our office today at 813-252-6789 to schedule a consultation.