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Ask What Your Lawyer Can Do For YOU!
As an elected member of your community’s board of directors one of your first orders of business may be to hire, or meet your current, condo lawyer. If your community does not already have a condo lawyer, how do you choose one? What kinds of skills and experience should you be looking for?
If you live in a condominium association your community definitely needs a condo lawyer. The condominium statutes are complex and your condo lawyer should be qualified to advise your association of its rights and responsibilities. Condo lawyers are also in the best position to interpret the association’s various documents, including the declaration, by-laws and rules and regulations. These documents are literally the constitution of the association and are often complex.
One of the main areas where a condo lawyer should help your association is with the collection of past due assessments. There is only so much that a professional manager or the board itself can do in terms of collections. Once a board has made its best efforts to collect the money owed, the services of an experienced condo lawyer is required. There are many attorneys who claim to be condo lawyers, but it is important that you look at each condo lawyers’ qualifications carefully.
For collection of past due association fees, the condo lawyer should be knowledgeable in all aspects of Chapters 718 of the Florida Statutes, and understand all the statutory prerequisites that must be fulfilled prior to a collections lawsuit being brought against a unit owner who is delinquent. Your condo lawyer should be able to explain their plan for processing your communities’ collection matters; including strategies for collecting without going to a trial.
We all would rather not hire lawyers, including lawyers for our associations. However, if a board does its due diligence, they will find a lawyer who they will connect with and who will assist you in association matters.
Article by Attorney Alan Garfinkel