What are My Legal Rights as a Condo Owner in Florida?

The legal rights for Condo owners in Florida are defined and outlined in the Florida Condominium Act.

Among others, this act also contains the rights and obligations of homeowner associations.

In this article, I advise condo owners residing in Florida about their legal rights.

What is a Condominium?

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, a condominium is an individual ownership of a housing unit that is part of a multiunit structure.

An image of a highrise building with condo units

Therefore, in a complex with several condos, you expect to find shared spaces and common elements such as a shared parking lot, fitness center, garden, streetlights, walkways, etc.

To maintain peace and overall satisfaction of people in the community, it is important to have rules and regulations.

Thus, these are enforced by the homeowners association that one automatically joins by owning a condo.

These rules, requirements, and limitations help condo unit owners and their respective associations to manage their shared property.

The board of homeowners associations usually makes these rules and regulations and outlines them in the association’s covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs).

What are the legal rights for condo owners in Florida?

As stated above Condo owners living in Florida have several legal rights as outlined in Florida’s Condominium Act.

An infographic of five legal rights you have as a condo owner
An infographic of five legal rights you have as a condo owner

1. Right to exclusive ownership of your condo unit.

As a condo owner, one has the right to exclusive ownership rights of their individual units.

This right also contains a responsibility to pay the HOA fees and dues. These fees help in the maintenance of the buildings, grounds and facilities.

As an owner, one can also occupy, modify, or sell the condo. These rights extend to the interior space of their condo, subject to the governing documents of the condominium association.

The Condominium Act also allows an association to restrict the sale or rental of a condo unit.

2. Right to have membership in the association and full voting rights as provided in your declaration of condominium.

All unit owners are members of the association by virtue of their ownership of a condominium unit

The Florida Condominium Act encourages condo owners to participate in the homeowner’s association’s democratic processes.

According to the Florida Condominium Act, each condo association must hold an annual meeting where the election of board members is one of the meeting agendas.

In addition, important matters and voting happen at such meetings. Failing to attend the meetings can be detrimental for you as you might miss out on voting on important matters that affect your legal rights as a condo owner.

However, an association may suspend the voting rights of a condo owner due to nonpayment of any fee, fine, or other monetary obligation due to the association which is more than $1,000 and more than 90 days due.

3. Right to use the common elements and association property without paying a use fee.

Condo owners are permitted by the Florida Condominium Act to have legal rights to the association property and common elements that otherwise would be available for use by unit owners.

In the case, that you have rented the Unit and you are not a unit owner, the Act also provides that the owner of a rented unit shall not have use rights of the common elements, except as a guest, unless the rental agreement provides otherwise.

4. Right to expect the association to maintain the common elements.

The association has the authority to pass reasonable rules and regulations that relate to the elements of the condominium that affect the owners as a whole

Therefore, during the general meetings, they may ask you to vote on issues such as whether pets are allowed or how to use common spaces such as swimming pools.

The association requires those rules and regulations to promote the health, happiness, and peace of mind of the majority of the unit owners since they are living nearby and using common facilities.

5. Right to view the official record of the association

However, this right is dependent on your association rules. Some associations do not guarantee this right.

Yet, if you want to present issues to the board, some board meetings are usually open for all association members

The right to attend such meetings includes the right to speak at such meetings with reference to all designated agenda items.

Conclusion

Generally, the rules that govern condo owners comprise the Florida Statutes, the Florida Administrative Code, the declaration of condominium, the articles of incorporation, the bylaws of the association, and the rules and regulations promulgated by the condo board.