Tampa HOA & Condo Association Lawyer
Millions of Floridians benefit daily from the work that community associations do to enhance the security, quality of life, and property values in their living communities. In Tampa, Seward Law Office helps Homeowners Associations (HOAs) and Condominium Associations (COAs) navigate Florida laws and their own governing documents to capably handle the many complex tasks involved in running a community association. Call Seward Law Office for the invaluable legal advice and professional assistance you need to help your HOA, COA and the community you serve run, grow and thrive. Tampa HOA & COA lawyer Alicia Seward and her team are here to help with any of the following:
- Mortgage Foreclosure Representation
- Enforcement of Association Rules
- Self-Managed Associations
- Homeowner & Condo Unit Owner Representation
Comprehensive Legal Advice for Tampa HOAs and COAs
Community associations provide a valuable service to property owners in the association by setting and enforcing standards that maintain property values and quality of living. Seward Law Office can help you achieve your goals by giving you the practical advice and technical assistance you need to perform your duties skillfully and successfully. Some of the main services we offer HOA and COA governing boards are:
Review and amend/revise governing documents – Are your Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions comprehensive and up-to-date? Are they generic, or do they truly reflect the needs and desires of your community association and its members? We’ll review and revise your CC&Rs as needed, as well as any association by-laws, policies, procedures, rules or regulations that are outdated or don’t meet the requirements of current law or your present needs and goals. Let us help you set up member agreements, by-laws, board procedures, board member duties, governance, voting procedures, meeting formats, dispute resolution procedures and other processes to aid the smooth operation of your board and association.
Legal opinions on proposed association actions – Legal advice is always warranted and welcome before you make any substantial changes or take significant actions involving a unit owner, community facilities or the association in general. With years of experience representing community associations, attorney Alicia Seward is available to interpret and enforce governing documents. Well-versed in mediation as well as litigation, Attorney Seward can help your board and association resolve election and voting disputes that may arise.
Contract review and negotiation – Community associations work with countless entities, including vendors, suppliers, contractors, banks, developers and, of course, homeowners. The team at Seward Law Office assists in negotiation, drafting or review of construction and remodeling contracts, property management contracts, easement insurance, member agreements, and more. Carefully-drafted contracts can help avoid litigation or help protect your position and interests should disputes later arise.
Tampa HOA FAQs
Whether you are an HOA Board member, a self-managed association, or an HOA homeowner or condo unit owner, you likely have questions about how homeowners associations and condominium associations are run. See below for some frequently asked questions about HOAs in Florida, and seek out the advice of an experienced HOA attorney for other questions or specific issues you may have. In Tampa, call Seward Law Office at 813-252-6789.
What Is a Condominium Conversion? How Does a Condominium Conversion Work Under Florida Law?
A condominium conversion occurs when an apartment complex converts from renting out apartments to selling the units. Instead of renting on a monthly basis, a condo unit owner owns their unit and also has a shared ownership interest in the building’s common areas.
Developers create the form of real property condominium ownership by complying with the requirements set out in Parts I and IV of the Florida Condominium Act. This law requires the developer to notify tenants of an intended conversion and their right to remain as a resident until the expiration of their rental agreement. Tenants also have a right to extend their rental agreement for a definite period in certain circumstances. They additionally have a right to cancel their rental agreement, as well as the right of first refusal to purchase their unit.
Tenants have a period in which to decide whether to purchase their units during the conversion. Tenants will likely consider their ability to pay and desire to own based in part by the purchase price and the condition of the building. Developers are required to disclose the condition of the building. Developers should also implement some combination of converter reserves, surety bonds and developer warranties to help protect tenants from buying a condo unit and then immediately getting stuck with huge costs to repair or replace roofs, elevators, pavement and parking structures, heating and cooling systems, swimming pools, etc.
How Are Reserve Accounts Used?
Reserve accounts are funds set aside by HOAs or COAs for capital expenditures and deferred maintenance. Under Florida law, COAs must maintain reserve accounts sufficient to replace a roof, paint buildings, resurface streets or perform any expenditure over $10,000. COAs must also perform a reserve study every three years to make sure their reserve account is adequately funded. Rules governing reserve studies and reserve accounts for HOAs can be found in the governing documents for the HOA. It is certainly prudent for HOAs to perform reserve studies and include reserves in their annual budget. When reserve accounts aren’t maintained, HOA members get hit with steep assessments for emergency repairs, and some members wind up delinquent on their assessments because they can’t afford extraordinary special assessments.
What Are the Requirements for HOA and COA Insurance in Florida?
The Florida Condominium Act requires the condominium association to adequately insure, considering replacement cost for the value of the property. The law requires an independent insurance reappraisal every three years.
Florida HOA law doesn’t have requirements for insurance, so the HOA’s governing documents control. These documents might require a certain amount or a minimum amount of insurance to be maintained. How much of the building the HOA insures varies: for instance, it might cover from the outside wall to the unit wall or halfway to the unit wall, or it might cover all the way to the inside of the unit wall, with exclusions for unit owner upgrades. There is no requirement to reappraise under the law, but it is certainly helpful to ensure the HOA is maintaining enough coverage as property values rise.
Do HOAs Need D&O Insurance?
HOAs are corporate entities; D&O insurance protects the Board’s Directors and Officers from personal liability if sued in their capacity as a Director or Officer of the community association. Florida HOA law requires that an HOA “shall maintain insurance or a fidelity bond for all persons who control or disburse funds of the association.” This definition would likely include the president, secretary, treasurer, or anyone authorized to sign checks for the association. The insurance requirement can be waived, but only if the waiver is approved by a majority vote annually. Seward Law Office advises self-managed associations and other Tampa HOAs on essential topics such as insurance requirements, enforcement of association rules, and mortgage foreclosure representation.
The Advice and Representation Your Tampa HOA or COA Needs
HOA board members are neighbors who volunteer their time and try to run the association as best they can for the benefit of all members. Seward Law Office is here to assist in that process with advice and counsel and technical assistance wherever it is needed. In Tampa, call Seward Law Office at 813-252-6789 to speak with an experienced and dedicated Tampa HOA and COA lawyer.