Condo Associations: Preparing First-Time Condo Buyers On What To Expect

Every owner of condominium property automatically becomes a member of a Florida condo association. With that membership come certain rights as well as certain responsibilities. The primary right that the owner has is to vote at the condo association meetings and elect board members. Responsibilities include payment of condo fees and assessments, compliance with association by-laws and rules, and maintaining a condo unit in conformity with those by-laws and rules.

As real estate professionals, it is our responsibility to help prepare buyers that we work with on how a condo association works and the various terms that a buyer may encounter during their ownership. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Individual Units

Ownership of an individual condominium unit is defined by the declaration of condominium and ordinarily consists of the interior walls and everything within the interior walls of a dwelling unit. Anything outside of that unit is usually considered to be a common element, such as the entryway, the swimming pool, the tennis courts, the parking lots and more.

Common Elements

This is property both inside and outside of buildings that the individual condo owner has an undivided interest in. It would include any common hallways, garages, parking lots, recreational facilities and open space on the property described by the declaration of condominium. If for example, there are 100 units in a condominium development, each individual unit has an undivided one percent interest in the common elements.

Common Owners' Responsibilities Inside Their Units

Owners are responsible for any repairs within the walls of their dwelling unit. They might be responsible for damage to other units from leaks or flooding from a burst pipe. Depending on the by-laws, the unit owner might be responsible for maintenance or repairs of any pipes or electrical wires running behind their walls. The association is responsible for anything on the common elements.

CONDO ASSOCIATION DOCUMENTS

When a Florida condo association is formed,  several documents are created. Chapter 718 of the Florida Statutes mandates that certain documents be provided to purchasers of condos and provides those purchasers a prescribed recission period once they receive the applicable documents. Which documents are provided and how long the recission period will be depends on whether or not the condo is being resold by a private individual (resale) or if it is being sold by the developer as a “new build.” 

Below you’ll find a table of all the documents and under which sale type they must be provided to a purchaser:

Document Name
Resale
New Build
Declaration of Condominium
Required
Required
Articles of Incorporation
Required
Required
Bylaws of the Condo Association
Required
Required
FAQ
Required
Required
Most Recent Year-End Financial Report
Required
N/A
Rules of the Association
Required
N/A
Governance Form
Required
N/A
Prospectus
N/A
Required
Estimated Operating Budget
N/A
Required

After a condo purchaser signs the purchase and sale contract as well as receives the above statutory required documents, they have the following recissions periods:

  • Resale: 3-days business days
  • New Build: 10-days calendar days
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