Florida Administrative Code 61B





We all saw episodes of the TV series "Seinfeld" and we all have read about -- or experienced -- condo commandos at work, leading to condo wars. Our media reports daily about the shenanigans in our condominiums that many of us call home. 

Despite the fact that condominiums have a regulatory agency called the DBPR (Department of Business and Professional Regulations), condo owners experience on a continual basis the failure of this agency to protect their welfare. We see recurrent examples of DBPR employees who would rather write five-page letters trying to explain that they don't have jurisdiction -- no matter true or false -- instead of writing a one-page letter to quickly solve the problem.  DBPR’s so-called “warning letters” are the laughingstock of whole communities. 

Pleas for better education -- an important tool for owners to understand the problems -- have gotten us nowhere.  Maybe we should mention that the DBPR pays up to $250,000 annually to CAI (Community Associations Institute), a trade organization of service providers.   Where does this money come from?  It comes from the annual $4.00 dues paid by each condo owner to the Condo Trust Fund.  What sort of “education” does the CAI provide annually for that $250,000?  The “lessons” for maximum 2,500 "invited" owners -- mostly board members -- are laced with biased information that supports the agenda of CAI.  Don't forget, for this large amount of money it would be so easy to create an educational system that would reach many more condo owners with an informative and unbiased message. 

Former Condo Ombudsman, Dr. Virgil Rizzo, was on the right track when he was unceremoniously fired by former Governor Jeb Bush in May 2006.   Rizzo was fired because he obviously stepped on the toes of some special interests by trying to do his job of protecting the rights and welfare of Florida's condo owners. The contents of Rizzo’s website that contained much-needed information for condo owners obviously angered certain "professionals" and it was gone three days after he was fired. Now only the wording of statutes can be found on these WebPages.  What a waste of good resources!

Since nobody seems to care enough to supply millions of condo owners with easily accessible and much-needed information, we think it's about time to fill this void.  It will be a work in progress.

There is a wealth of excellent information available, information that could help to stop many of these expensive condo wars before they escalate.  If owners and board members alike have the right information, lots of money could be saved each year -- money that could be used for much-needed maintenance and beautification of these communities. 

If all board members and owners did their homework, they often would find that they are on the wrong side of the rules and regulations. We often hear the excuse: "Our attorney and/or manager told us that we can do this." The outcome of many lawsuits has proved them wrong! 

Please never forget:  Nobody else pays the bills for often ill-advised lawsuits.  Only the owners pay the bills.

So please take the time to inform yourself before you commit your money and your neighbors' money to a useless fight!  Even the worst agreement between the feuding parties is better than the best litigation.  Never forget: The only winners in these lawsuits are the attorneys -- not you and not your neighbors!

So please use the information supplied and to wisely help yourself and your neighbors.  Don't forget: KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!