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Tampa Real Estate Lawyer > Blog > HOA Condo Association > Who Watches The Watchers? Florida’s Condominium Act

Who Watches The Watchers? Florida’s Condominium Act


According to the most recent available data, Florida is the U.S. state with the second highest number of community associations, with roughly 38 percent of that number being condo boards. Condominium associations are similar to, yet different from, homeowners’ associations (HOAs), requiring different powers for their boards of directors. Florida law has two different chapters governing HOAs and condominium associations, and the Florida Condominium Act, Chapter 718, is the law regulating the conduct of condo boards. Its provisions are relatively clear, yet capable of interpretation.

Very Little State Regulation

Something many Florida condo residents are unaware of, at least until they have lived in a condominium association for a period of time, is that the state actually has little power to regulate the actions of condo boards unless their actions are explicitly illegal. The state does have what is known as the Florida Condo Ombudsman, but their office does not enforce state laws; rather, it is meant to be a ‘neutral’ office that assists both boards and owners over questions of interpretation.

After the deadly collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida in 2021, state legislators have made some changes to the way community associations are governed, most notably in the realm of required inspections. The new laws went into effect in 2023, requiring ‘milestone inspections’ after a building reaches a certain age, and modifies certain provisions of the required Structural Integrity Reserve Study (SIRS) to clarify what is in fact mandatory, and what is not. Still, condo boards remain mostly self-regulating in Florida, for better or worse.

Filing Suit May Be Your Best Option

Because of the lack of state regulation, the best way to seek a fundamental change to the law or get a definite ruling on a point of law (as opposed to neutral information) is to file a lawsuit or seek another form of mediation, such as arbitration or mediation. In general, lawsuits against one’s condo board are frowned upon if one has not investigated alternative dispute resolution (ADR) beforehand, but ADR is rarely explicitly required (arbitration used to be required for ‘central disputes,’ but as of 2021 mediation and ADR are merely ‘encouraged’). The three most common major reasons why condo owners file lawsuits against their boards, among others. They are:

  • Alleging that a condo board has overstepped their power and/or breached its fiduciary duty;
  • Issues over the upkeep or usage of the association’s common elements, such as the pool, parking lot, or tennis court; and
  • Issues concerning emotional support animals or service animals.

While there are, of course, other reasons why an owner may decide a lawsuit is necessary, these three tend to be the most important to each side and potentially, the most highly charged. If you wind up in a situation where filing suit against your condo board is your best legal option, it is important to have an experienced attorney on your side to protect your rights.

Contact A Tampa Condominium Association Attorney

If you have purchased a Florida condominium, it can feel somewhat worrisome that the state does not regulate condo boards very thoroughly. However, a Tampa condominium association attorney from the Seward Law Office can help to set your mind at ease and guide you through the legal process. Contact our office today at 813-252-6789 to schedule a consultation.



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