Journal Notes—October 2020

Journal Notes—October 2020

by Michael Hamline, Editor / Published October 2020

     In October 2019 snowbirds returned to Florida looking forward to life as normal. They planned to enjoy the pool and the clubhouse and to host get togethers with friends to play cards or pickleball. Fast forward to mid-March 2020, when the World Health Organization (WHO) announced a pandemic caused by a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and what had been the normal way of life changed dramatically.

     Now it’s October 2020 and as snowbirds return to their community association, routines are likely to be different. Starting on page eight, multiple service providers who work with community association share what snowbirds can expect from the 2020 season. Repairs and renovations will still need to be made. New laws have gone into effect that deal with emotional support animals as well as exemptions for days when fireworks may be used. However, boards of directors may want to limit in-person contact and use technology like Zoom or GoToMeeting to conduct board meetings. The use of common elements may be limited as well as visitor access to the association property. Most likely the use of facemasks will be mandated in face-to-face interactions. Also, your community has probably dealt with changes necessitated by hurricane preparation in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Patience and flexibility are key this season, but there is still plenty to enjoy in your Florida community association.

     On page 46, Keith F. Backer, Esq., with Backer, Aboud, Poliakoff & Foelster addresses the issue of material alterations and when owners must approve these alterations. At issue is §718.113 of the Condominium Act which was amended in 2018 “to expressly require any approval to be obtained before the alteration was made…” In this case, the approval was obtained after the alterations were made and the Third District Court of Appeal “held that…unit owner approval of a material alteration after the alteration was complete was not sufficient to satisfy the requirements of the statute.” The decision has led to further questions and some uncertainty on what this means for the alterations that have already been completed.

     From everyone at FLCAJ, we wish you a pleasant stay in Florida this year and enjoy the month of October.