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Old 03-25-2014, 06:47 AM
 
10,334 posts, read 8,192,769 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doodlemagic View Post
This is why many people hate and refuse to live in condos, associations, co-ops, because other people have a say waht you can do with your property and can ask you for info like this or refuse to allow your sale go through. My question is even if you somehow talk your way out of giving this do you even want to live somewhere where some guy in his freetime afterwork can play im mr important and throw his condo power around?
I don't have a lot of choice. For this price I cannot buy a house in Florida. And I don't want to rent; there's just as many rules and regulations.
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Old 03-25-2014, 07:45 AM
 
Location: Lakewood Ranch, FL
5,444 posts, read 8,513,639 times
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The "docs" are: Declaration of Condominium, Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, and Rules. These are usually what you find on the Clerk's website. You should also request the most recent year end financial statement and the "Questions and Answers" document which provides answers to most concerns. If I was in your place, I'd want to know: why did they decide to not keep reserves, when was the last special assessment, will you need to pay any part of that assessment, are there any upcoming assessments anticipated, did they finish the year in the red or black, when was the last time that they had an audit, are they aggressive in going after delinquent unit owners and those who break their rules? I'd also make it a point to find out what their rental policy is--you may need to use it at some point.

It sounds like you are making some progress. FWIW, I want to reiterate that I am not trying to scare you or dissuade you. Many condo buyers have absolutely no clue about what a condo is, how it works, etc., and they do just fine. You asked for info so I am providing you that info. The worst thing that can happen is that you'll know more now than you did before.
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Old 03-25-2014, 07:52 AM
 
Location: Lakewood Ranch, FL
5,444 posts, read 8,513,639 times
Reputation: 6578
Quote:
Originally Posted by ellemint View Post
I'm not as convinced about the value of reserves as some of you are. My last condo had about $180,000 in reserves for a complex of 90 units. When it came down to getting new roofs, they only took about $10,000 out of reserves and the rest was levied as an assessment that for me ended up at about $2,300. The board didn't want to touch the reserves even though that's what they are there for! Same thing happened when they re-paved and mended the driveways and roads throughout the complex --- another assessment.
In our association, we have different reserve accounts for the roofs, painting, and the road which is private. Our manager has told us, if I recall correctly, that the funds cannot be moved from one reserve account to another. If that is true, maybe your condo had an adequate amount in total but an insufficient amount in the specific accounts that needed to fund the work. Just a guess though...
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Old 03-25-2014, 08:30 AM
 
Location: Ocala, FL
3,553 posts, read 6,422,416 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbronston View Post
Our manager has told us, if I recall correctly, that the funds cannot be moved from one reserve account to another.
Not necessarily true any longer in Florida. It was that way for many years.

Reserves are technically not required, but foolish not to have them.
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Old 03-25-2014, 09:06 AM
 
Location: Lakewood Ranch, FL
5,444 posts, read 8,513,639 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dontaskwhy View Post
Not necessarily true any longer in Florida.
I know or seem to recall that the funds can be moved or used for other purposes by a majority vote of the association members but I'm pretty sure that the board doesn't have the ability to do that on their own. Are you on a board that found a way to do this? I'd appreciate hearing about it. This could be useful info to me.
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Old 03-25-2014, 09:33 AM
 
10,334 posts, read 8,192,769 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbronston View Post
The "docs" are: Declaration of Condominium, Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, and Rules. These are usually what you find on the Clerk's website. You should also request the most recent year end financial statement and the "Questions and Answers" document which provides answers to most concerns. If I was in your place, I'd want to know: why did they decide to not keep reserves, when was the last special assessment, will you need to pay any part of that assessment, are there any upcoming assessments anticipated, did they finish the year in the red or black, when was the last time that they had an audit, are they aggressive in going after delinquent unit owners and those who break their rules? I'd also make it a point to find out what their rental policy is--you may need to use it at some point.

It sounds like you are making some progress. FWIW, I want to reiterate that I am not trying to scare you or dissuade you. Many condo buyers have absolutely no clue about what a condo is, how it works, etc., and they do just fine. You asked for info so I am providing you that info. The worst thing that can happen is that you'll know more now than you did before.
thanks. I kinda doubt they will have the "question and answer" document, even if they are required to...

The last assessment was about 7 years ago. I still have to work at getting the other info.
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Old 03-25-2014, 09:35 AM
 
10,334 posts, read 8,192,769 times
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I did talk to a lawyer, who said all the I.D. required for the application was excessive. In fact he said it was like "Nazis" lol. He said he would not hand over copies of all that I.D. and suggested instead that I ask the association what is it they need them for, and also, what is it they really want to know about the applicant. But if the association insists, I'm not sure what I'll do then.

He said the risk of identity theft is too high to have that kind of information released to people that you don't know how secure their record-keeping is.

I would think the two main things and association would want to know would be criminal background, and maybe a credit check?
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Old 03-25-2014, 09:54 AM
 
36,739 posts, read 26,546,930 times
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I wouldn't want to live in a place governed by a group like that, no matter the price.
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Old 03-25-2014, 10:25 AM
 
Location: Lakewood Ranch, FL
5,444 posts, read 8,513,639 times
Reputation: 6578
I don't know why people feel the need to chime in here about how they would never live in a place like this or that. A. No one asked you. B. It doesn't address the OP's concerns. It's a free country and we are free to live where we want and in whatever arrangement we desire as long as we can afford it. It's a really simple concept, really....if it isn't what you want, don't buy one.

ellemint, I agree that it doesn't hurt to ask about all the info they requested. In fact, I think someone mentioned earlier that they may be using the same form that they've used for years without ever giving it a second thought. I have a rental condo where the management company requires a full application that includes SS#, driver's license, etc. (but not account numbers) and then literally does nothing with it! I am reasonably sure that they are doing it so they'll have it IF they ever need it. My association does do a credit report, a criminal history report that includes bad checks and even terrorist watch group info, aliases, etc. The odd thing about it is that they can require it and you can elect not to do it by passing on the purchase, but the ability to reject an applicant is very limited and very tricky legally. They have to have (or should have) the criteria for acceptance/rejection in their docs and it must be applied to every case in order to stand up to scrutiny and challenge.

Regarding the "condo Nazi" term, I have to admit that I've used that phrase myself although it is obviously inappropriate. Most often, the people in a condo aren't particularly concerned with all this stuff and they 'just live there'. For some, it is all very important to them and they have the right to feel that way since every other owner agreed to live by the rules that run the place, whether they gave the matter the degree of scrutiny it warranted or not. I ended up on my board because I was concerned about what I perceived at the time as over-zealousness and some ridiculous rules I wanted changed. What I didn't know at the time was that almost no one wants to be on a board of a condo that runs well enough and, once you are on, it almost impossible to get off...LOL. We only have three board members and, if I leave, the state essentially takes over and that will cost more so I'm stuck! Word to the wise....
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Old 03-25-2014, 11:09 AM
 
Location: Ocala, FL
3,553 posts, read 6,422,416 times
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Bbronston, as I understand reserves can be placed in a general reserve account instead of separate reserve accounts with approval of the owners/members.
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