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Are There Any Actual Lawyers Here Who Have Some Knowledge of Condominium Law?

 
 
Reply Tue 6 Mar, 2018 09:21 pm
I have a reason for asking, but I prefer to ask an actual lawyer.
 
Sturgis
 
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Reply Tue 6 Mar, 2018 11:50 pm
@Brandon9000,
While I don't know specifically about condo laws, you would be best advised to mention which state or commonwealth you're in, as each has their own laws.

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Brandon9000
 
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Reply Wed 7 Mar, 2018 04:41 am
Florida. Are you a lawyer? I do not require an expert in Florida condo law, just a lawyer who is slightly conversant. I'm just trying to avoid having well meaning non-lawyers tell me things that are wrong.
jespah
 
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Reply Wed 7 Mar, 2018 07:39 am
@Brandon9000,
Well-meaning real lawyers will tell you to contact a lawyer who's admitted in your jurisdiction. We are bound by ethical considerations and can't just speculate off the cuff without potential repercussions for us or for you.
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PUNKEY
 
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Reply Wed 7 Mar, 2018 11:07 am
@Brandon9000,
Make it a real estate lawyer specializing in condo affairs.
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Sturgis
 
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Reply Wed 7 Mar, 2018 04:37 pm
@Brandon9000,
No, not a lawyer, rather a retired high school science teacher. I have however watched many episodes of Perry Mason...although they seem more about murders.

Sorry I can't be of more help.
ekename
 
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Reply Wed 7 Mar, 2018 07:35 pm
@Sturgis,
This reminds me of the famous case where Perry turned both pink and blue when he failed a litmus test.

The answer turned out to be five: between forensics.


https://www.jimersoncobb.com/blog/resources/faqs/condominium-law/
Florida condominium law is found in Chapter 718, Florida Statutes, known and cited as the “Condominium Act.”
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Brandon9000
 
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Reply Wed 7 Mar, 2018 09:35 pm
A real lawyer will cost me between $200 and $700 to listen for 30 minutes. That's pretty expensive for just getting a few concepts, which is all I want. Please don't kidnap my thread. I want to ask a couple of hypotheticals about condominium law. All I want at this point is speculation. Speculation is fine. Any lawyer roughly familiar with that sort of thing will be able to give me at least some idea. If you don't want to talk to me, don't stop me from talking to others.
ekename
 
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Reply Wed 7 Mar, 2018 11:31 pm
JimersonCobb is a Florida based law firm that compiled this extensive set of faqs.

https://www.jimersoncobb.com/blog/resources/faqs/condominium-law/
Brandon9000
 
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Reply Thu 8 Mar, 2018 05:50 am
@ekename,
Thanks. It's great. It just doesn't answer my questions.
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oralloy
 
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Reply Thu 8 Mar, 2018 08:10 am
@Brandon9000,
Brandon9000 wrote:
A real lawyer will cost me between $200 and $700 to listen for 30 minutes. That's pretty expensive for just getting a few concepts, which is all I want. Please don't kidnap my thread. I want to ask a couple of hypotheticals about condominium law. All I want at this point is speculation. Speculation is fine. Any lawyer roughly familiar with that sort of thing will be able to give me at least some idea. If you don't want to talk to me, don't stop me from talking to others.

I advise just posting your questions. If a lawyer sees your actual questions and thinks they are general enough to answer on an internet messageboard, maybe they'll answer.

If a lawyer just sees a vague reference to answering questions without much clarification as to the nature of the questions, they'll assume that they aren't the sort of questions that they should answer over an internet messageboard.


Another thought: I believe there are websites where you can pose general legal questions and have real lawyers post answers. Now and then over the years I've had occasion to look up legal terms and I've run across those websites in my internet searches.
Brandon9000
 
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Reply Sat 10 Mar, 2018 08:19 pm
@oralloy,
Yeah, I think you're right. Alright, then. The question has to do with Florida condominium law. I live in a condominium in Florida. I've lived there for decades. Recently, they sent me a "violation" note for a behavior that's completely harmless, that several other owners do, and that I have been doing since I moved in back in the 90s. I didn't read the letter until a month later, by which time they had sent me a second notice, this time threatening to fine me up to $1,000 and forcing me to pay for their legal costs. The tone of the second letter scolded me as thought I were a naughty child. It was a form letter with the offense written near the top. It was undoubtedly designed to intimidate people out of thoughts of resistance.

This started me thinking about the situation. I might be willing to get a lawyer and spend even as much as a few thousand dollars to stop someone from bullying me, but paying for their expensive lawyers, who might charge hundreds of dollars per hour, is something else again. Paying $5,ooo for my own lawyer is one thing - if it went that far - but paying another $10,000 for their lawyer is something else. That's $15,000. In the case of a protracted court fight, I could see the total running higher than that.

But I thought it was probably an empty threat. In Europe, the loser of a civil court case can be forced to pay both sides' legal expenses. In a system like that, what non-wealthy individual would ever risk suing a misbehaving corporation and risk paying the corporation's lawyers and being ruined for life? Even if he were in the right, it would be a horrible risk. But in America, each side is responsible for its own legal expenses. However, then I discovered that in Florida law regarding homeowners' associations, there are two separate legal provisions that state that the prevailing party may collect legal expenses from the loser. I believe they are statutes 718.303(1) and 720.305.

I'm sure they were rationalized as being a way to reduce frivolous nuisance law suits, but what a chilling effect they must have on homeowners who have actually been wronged by their homeowners' association. What person who isn't rich would be willing to risk paying $15,000 or $20,000 for daring to challenge his HOA (homeowners' association)? Maybe if I were younger, I would have time during my life to recover, but I'm just a couple of years from retirement.

If you take this thought to its logical conclusion, even if an HOA behaved outrageously, sure you'd think you would win in court, but if, by some chance, perhaps a technicality, the HOA prevailed, the homeowner might find himself owing tens of thousands of dollars. What person who knew that it is a "loser pays" system and is not wealthy would take even a 5% chance of this happening? The HOA could even falsely claim that they saw you doing something you never did and fine you for it - repeatedly. What are you going to do, take them to court knowing that you could end up paying both sides' legal fees? Even if you were in the right, you could still lose in court. It seems like you would have a choice between moving out or facing an expense which would severely damage your life.

Is this analysis wrong?
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Ticomaya
 
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Reply Sun 11 Mar, 2018 10:59 am
My suggestion would be to look in your geographic area for a lawyer that specializes in HOA law. I would suggest that you find a Florida real estate lawyer, versed in this area of the law, and pay them for a consultation (perhaps via telephone, if you cannot find one in your local vicinity). During that consultation you might get the answers you need, or at least get yourself pointed in the proper direction so you can decide what your next step should be. Short of that, you might try posting your question on AVVO, and you might get a lawyer to respond with helpful information, depending on how well you worded your question. Good luck.
Brandon9000
 
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Reply Sun 11 Mar, 2018 01:43 pm
@Ticomaya,
Thanks. Hesitant to spend the money. We just remodeled our home, had no choice but to replace a car, and are planning a two week vacation. Not eager to pay a lawyer hundreds for a half hour of discussion. Also, I already acceded to the HOA, so at this point, it's just my curiosity and concern for the future. Still hoping for a lawyer here to discuss my question, but, you're right, there may be legal Web sites to post on.
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Brandon9000
 
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Reply Tue 13 Mar, 2018 05:07 am
Well, the theme of the board is supposed to be "ask an expert." I guess that there are no experts or they're not talking. I'm certainly not going to go spend $300 to satisfy my curiosity.
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Brandon9000
 
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Reply Fri 17 Aug, 2018 07:01 pm
Thanks for not wasting 5 minutes giving me a high level overview. It's much better to pay hundreds of dollars to get a few generic questions answered.
Ticomaya
 
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Reply Fri 24 Aug, 2018 09:03 am
@Brandon9000,
Brandon9000 wrote:
Thanks for not wasting 5 minutes giving me a high level overview. It's much better to pay hundreds of dollars to get a few generic questions answered.

Brandon, you have received several pieces of advice from real lawyers (I am a real lawyer. I don't play one on TV. I did not sleep in a Holiday Inn last night). I pointed out AVVO to you. A2K is not a legal website. You are seeking specialized legal information about condo law from a Florida lawyer. Expecting a member of this forum to possess those qualifications might be expecting too much.

And further, lawyers have spent a LOT of time, effort, and money to become lawyers. A lawyers time and advice are his/her stock in trade. That's how we earn our living, you know. Expecting free legal advice pertaining to your specific issue might also be expecting too much.
Brandon9000
 
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Reply Tue 4 Sep, 2018 07:08 pm
@Ticomaya,
You're right. I didn't notice your AVVO suggestion, although I did notice the others just giving me easy platitudes, rather than commenting. Thank you for the suggestion. It's worth exploring. I can only say that I have answered many questions here about areas in which I have worked professionally and was never afraid that it would put me out of a job.

At the time that I asked the question, my condominium association had sent me four notices of violation in a single month and were threatening to fine me if I didn't comply immediately. To give you some idea of how serious my violations were, one was having a lamp next to my front door that looked a lot like my neighbors lamps, but not quite enough like them. They demanded that I change it immediately. That lamp had been sitting there for five years. It wasn't clear to me at that time that they weren't going to keep sending me preposterous notices of violation. When I considered going to court to fight them, I noticed a peculiarity of Florida law which allows the victor in a dispute regarding a condominium to collect legal expenses from the loser. This meant that if I were absolutely in the right, but lost because they were buying expensive lawyers with my money, I could be ruined for life. At the time, I wanted to know just how scared I ought to be to face them in court because of that Florida law. They have never sent me violation notices again, but I would still like to know. I general, they are classic bullies in that they like to throw their weight around, but run away immediately if anyone stands up to them.
Sturgis
 
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Reply Tue 4 Sep, 2018 10:32 pm
@Brandon9000,
Sometimes platitudes are what keeps the thread moving until someone with the response you seek arrives.
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