The condominium regulations determine the restrictions on modifications

Dear Poliakoff,

I live in a high-rise co-op governed by Chapter 719 of the Florida statutes. Sections of the interior walls of the main lobby and residential upper floors are covered with vertical tongue-and-groove siding of white painted cypress. The Commission intends to sand the walls to remove the paint and restore the cypress wood to its original natural color. They also intend to replace the existing stone floor shown in the photo with a stone of a different color.

I do not see in any of the cooperative documents any language allowing or prohibiting the work envisaged other than the restrictions imposed in the regulations on the cost of improvements and modifications to common areas. See the attached Rules section. The question I have is, does changing the stinging cypress walls to a different color and replacing the stone floor with a different colored stone requires shareholder approval?

Signed, AM

Dear AM,

You may know that in a co-ownership association, article 718.113 provides that “there will be no material modification or substantial additions to the common elements or to the real estate that is the property of the association, except in a manner provided for in the declaration such as the registered original or as amended according to the procedures provided therein… ”, and if no procedure is foreseen, the approval of 75% of the voting rights is required. However, despite the similarities between condominiums and co-ops, in general, there is no similar language in the Cooperative Act (nor in the HOA Act, for that matter). You should therefore consult the constituting documents of the association to determine if there are any restrictions on changes to the property. In your case, your statutes provide that any “addition, modification or improvement of common areas” (note that this would include both material and immaterial changes) that cost less than 1% of the annual budget for an individual modification; or less than 5% of the annual budget for all changes made during a fiscal year; may be approved by the board of directors without the approval of the unit owner.

So the analysis is really that simple. You described two separate changes. Is the cost of each modification less than 1% of the annual budget? Is the cost of the two developments, taken together, less than 5% of the annual budget (and will they be undertaken in the same fiscal year)? If so, these changes may be made by the board of directors without shareholder approval. If, on the contrary, either modification exceeds 1% of the annual budget (or if both together exceed 5% of the annual budget), shareholder approval is required.

Note that this language is not really a limitation on the cost, in particular. Cost thresholds are simply a guideline for when member approval of changes is required. It’s pretty common, in fact – many modern condominiums and co-ops allow boards to make any type of change in common ownership, up to a point.

An interesting quirk of this type of language, however, is that even though the Condominium Act would allow unimportant changes without member approval, regardless of the cost, these provisions bring all changes back to their thresholds. vote. So effectively, any costly changes or additions to the property, even if otherwise unimportant, would likely require member approval.

Dear Poliakoff,

I live in a community governed by an HOA. According to our founding documents, the HOA is responsible for all landscaping and trees installed by the builder. The HOA has reminded homeowners over the years that trees and shrubs are the responsibility of the HOA and that we should not prune or cut them under any circumstances. My question is, therefore, is the HOA also responsible for the damage these trees cause to driveways, sidewalks, pipes through the root system or vehicles and people (if the tree falls or a large branch breaks and falls)?

Signed SG

Dear SG,

There is no strict liability related to landscaping maintenance (where liability would apply regardless of fault), so any liability would be based on a theory of negligence – the association has t -she acted in a different way from an association; and, if so, was their recklessness the cause of the damage?

I think it is highly unlikely that any facts exist to show that the root damage could have been caused by the negligence of an association – the roots grow, and I have never heard a landscaper or an arborist suggest that the Tree maintenance requires some sort of extensive root pruning. But, if for example the association carelessly cut a branch, causing a neighboring branch to collapse and fall on a car (for example), there might be a case where the association could be held responsible. .

Ryan Poliakoff, partner at Backer Aboud Poliakoff & Foelster, LLP, is a certified specialist in condominium law and planned development consulting. This column is dedicated to the memory of Gary Poliakoff, pioneer of the community association legal industry, tireless advocate and author of treatises, books and hundreds of articles. Ryan Poliakoff and Gary Poliakoff are co-authors of New Neighborhoods — The Consumer’s Guide to Condominium, Co-Op and HOA Living. Email your questions to condocol[email protected]. Please be sure to include your location.

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