TBO.com: Tampa Bay Online, The Tampa Tribune and The Tampa Times - breaking news and weather.
Thursday, Oct 02, 2014
Lifestyle Stories

How Much Of A Condo Does A Condo Owner Own?

Tribune correspondent
Published:   |   Updated: May 23, 2013 at 02:38 AM

I live in a condominium. Please clarify what I actually own. My friend is telling me that I do not own the structure itself, just the space.

A.C.

Hollywood

There are two documents that you need to read. The first is your deed and the second is the declaration (your documents).

You will find that your deed says you own a unit and an undivided interest in the common area. The declaration will define the unit boundaries. Most will say the surface of the exterior walls and the surface of the ceiling and flooring define your unit. Many will define the windows and doors as either the common areas or part of the unit. If you have storage rooms or assigned parking or some other limited common areas that will also be defined.

Let's approach what is meant by undivided interest. This is exclusive to condominiums, HOA have different ownership conditions. The undivided interest means you own that fraction of the common areas. You and your fellow owners cannot go to the pool and say I own that square, but you can say I own my fraction of all squares. As to your apartment or unit, you usually own the inside boundaries of the paint/wallpaper, floor covering and ceiling finish.

We have a unit owner who is creating a problem by falsely stating she is speaking for the association. I understand there is a portion of the Florida condominium law that states a unit owner cannot claim they are speaking for the association. Could you tell me the specific law that addresses this problem?

J.C.

Miami

There is a sentence in FS 718.111(1)(c) that says: "A unit owner does not have any authority to act for the association by reason of being a unit owner."

I would send her a certified letter informing her that she does not have a right to represent the association and that if she continues, the association will take legal action. I would also tell her that if her actions cause financial losses, she will be responsible for the expenses.

I would also discuss the matter with your attorney.

Tonight our board of directors, in a contentious meeting, voted to allow a companion animal in our building. The board reasoned that not allowing a companion animal for a medical condition certified by a health care professional would put us in violation of the Fair Housing Act and open us to costly legal action. Your perspective would be appreciated.

N.A.

Fort Lauderdale

Your board made a very wise decision. It involves more than just the Fair Housing Act; it is also involves the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Both acts demand immediate attention and accommodation when a disadvantaged or disabled person makes a request.

I was once advised by an attorney to take immediate action if a request is submitted by a handicapped person who submits a written request for special services.

Subscribe to The Tampa Tribune

Comments