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Business litigation involving condo associations commonly occurs

In Florida business disputes regarding the operation and management of condominium homeowners’ associations are relatively common. In general, a condominium association is formed by the homeowners to manage the communal functions of the complex. Business litigation that arises often involves an interpretation of the condominium bylaws and breach of contract disputes.

The association is organized somewhat like a small corporation, with a board of directors, officers and bylaws to govern the group’s procedures. When the individual members of the association are not happy with how the board and officers are running things, business litigation may be filed to obtain relief. The Arbomar Condominium development is located on Longboat Key where it fronts on the Gulf of Mexico. A group of homeowners recently initiated litigation against the association president and three of the five board members.

The suit alleges that the president, a former licensed contractor from Maryland, has engaged in illegal and unauthorized renovation projects in the complex. It’s alleged that he is performing the renovations without a contractor’s license in violation of Florida law. Searches of local records by Herald-Tribune reporters in fact show no permits for renovations at that location.

The suit also alleges that the president has renovated several units without board approval. He is also accused of holding meetings in private, spending unauthorized funds on attorneys and setting new assessments against members without going through the procedures required by the bylaws. The suit also claims that he has violated building code regulations by using hazardous building materials.

The plaintiffs in the business litigation claim that contractors are legally required to file all renovation plans, which allegedly has not been done. Additionally, prior to the lawsuit, there was early controversy created by the firing of the building manager. He had reported the board’s allegedly illegal renovations to the state, and was fired shortly thereafter. In addition to the litigation recently filed, it appears that the building manager, if he is not reinstated, is well-situated under Florida law to bring employment law litigation based on a retaliatory firing.

Source: Herald-Tribune, “Unlicensed work at Longboat Key condo sparks lawsuits“, Josh Salman, July 24, 2014

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