I recently represented an elderly gentleman who improvidently entered into a contract to purchase a condominium apartment. After signing the contract, he became aware that the condominium owner’s association monthly assessments were far in excess of what he could afford to pay. He waited several weeks before hiring me to assist him and had even paid an additional deposit and signed an extension of the agreement to the purchase contract. Consequently, making the argument that he had been misled by the seller may have proved difficult.
Luckily for the client, and unfortunately for the seller, neither the seller nor the seller’s realtor had provided the full complement of documents required to be provided to purchasers of residential condominium properties pursuant to Florida Statutes Section 718.503. With respect to a seller who is not a developer, the statute requires that the seller provide to the buyer a copy of (1) the declaration of condominium, (2) articles of incorporation of the association, (3) bylaws and rules of the association, (4) pertinent financial information (5) the frequently asked questions and answers document mandated by Florida Statutes section 718.504 and (6) a “governance form” required by the statutes.
In this case, I was able to establish that a portion, but not a complete copy, of the declaration of condominium had been provided and the seller had failed to supply a copy of the articles of incorporation and the frequently asked questions document. The failure to provide the documents rendered the purchase contract voidable and I was able to have the contract cancelled and the deposits returned.
This article is intended as a cautionary note to sellers of residential condominium units to carefully examine the package of condominium documents that they supply to the buyer and to document the receipt by the buyer of those documents.
About the Author:
Mr. Zwemer is an attorney and Shareholder in the Fort Pierce office. He concentrates his practice in the areas of commercial business and real estate litigation, creditors’ rights and bankruptcy. He has successfully litigated a wide range of cases in federal and state courts and regularly represents financial institutions in business and bankruptcy cases and litigation in Fort Pierce and Port Saint Lucie.