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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 86365
Experience:  Qualified attorney in private practice including business, family, criminal, and real estate issues.
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I live in a mixing community with condo, townhouses, and SFHs.

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I live in a mixing community with condo, townhouses, and SFHs. There is a master association in charge of the club house, sport facilities, pool, etc, and sub-associations. Due to an unknown reason (probably a mistake from the developer) the SFHs do not have association, they are attached to the master because the covenants. However the parcel owners of the SFHs have not the right to vote for the board of directors as the amended bylaws done in 1994. I read that only those association which parcel owners directly or through their agents with voting rights meet the definition criteria. Wondering if a Master Association meets the definition of "associations" as FS720.301 (9). The word "agent' is not defined, what means "agent' in this context?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Ely replied 9 months ago.
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am sorry for your situation. Before I answer, can you please clarify for me what you mean by "SFH?" This can have several meanings and I want to be sure that we are on the same page.

This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

SFH, single family homes.

Expert:  Ely replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for your follow up. I am typing out your answer now; apologies in advance for the momentary wait.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

In Florida there are several court decisions in which the court decided that master associations do not meet the definition of "associations" as FS718 (condo). The key point is the word "agent", I as parcel owner have not the right to vote, the master board of directors are the directors of the sub-associations, and two members of the single family home owners, however those members are not elected because the SFHs do not have association.

Expert:  Ely replied 9 months ago.
S,

First of all, this is a very unusual situation, I must say. But to answer your question(s):

Wondering if a Master Association meets the definition of "associations" as FS720.301 (9). The word "agent' is not defined, what means "agent' in this context?

A MASTER ASSOCIATION is essentially an umbrella association. See here for a good explanation. However, whether or not the Master Association falls into the definition of an "association" depends on several factors:

While the term “master condominium association” is not defined in Chapter 718, F.S., the
Condominium Act, s. 718.103(2), F.S., currently defines “association” to mean: 4
in addition to those entities responsible for the operation of common elements owned
in undivided shares by unit owners, any entity which operates or maintains other real
property in which condominium unit owners have use rights, where unit owner
membership in the entity is composed exclusively of condominium unit owners or
their elected or appointed representatives, and where membership in the entity is a
required condition of unit ownership. [emphasis added]
The emphasized portion of the definition of “association” is commonly used to
describe a master condominium association. It is important to note, however, that not all
associations identified as “master condominium associations” fall within the definition of
“association”.
First, to meet the definition of “association” under Chapter 718, F.S., condominium
unit owners must have use rights in the real property operated or maintained by the
association. Second, a master condominium association’s membership must consist
exclusively of condominium unit owners, or their elected or appointed representatives. Some
associations include representatives of all projects in the development, including perhaps
single family homes, life care facilities, or commercial entities in addition to condominiums.
If a master condominium association includes non-condominium unit owners in its
membership, it is not an “association” governed by Chapter 718, F.S. Third, membership in
the master condominium association must be mandatory; condominium unit owners or their
representatives may not “opt” out of the association at any time.
It is important to understand the differences between a “traditional” condominium
association and a “master” condominium association. A traditional condominium association
derives its authority from a recorded declaration of condominium, whereas a master
condominium association usually derives its authority from a recorded declaration of
covenants.
"Master Home Associations" by Committee on Real Property and Probate, Florida House of Representatives - here.

So as you can see, whether or not your Master Association fits that definition depends on the above.

The word "agent' is not defined, what means "agent' in this context?

The term "agent" is not defined in Chapter 720. This is left open. If the term is not defined, then it falls back on "legislative intent" and "common verbiage:"

"In attempting to discern legislative intent, we first look to the actual language used in the statute. Joshua v. City of Gainesville, 768 So.2d 432, 435 (Fla.2000); accord BellSouth Telecomms., Inc. v. Meeks, 863 So.2d 287, 289 (Fla.2003). When the statute is clear and unambiguous, courts will not look behind the statute's plain language for legislative intent or resort to rules of statutory construction to ascertain intent. See Lee County Elec. Coop., Inc. v. Jacobs, 820 So.2d 297, 303 (Fla.2002). In such instance, the statute's plain and ordinary meaning must control, unless this leads to an unreasonable result or a result clearly contrary to legislative intent. See State v. Burris, 875 So.2d 408, 65*65 410 (Fla.2004). When the statutory language is clear, "courts have no occasion to resort to rules of construction — they must read the statute as written, for to do otherwise would constitute an abrogation of legislative power." Nicoll v. Baker, 668 So.2d 989, 990-91 (Fla.1996)." Daniels v. Florida Dept. of Health, 898 So. 2d 61 - Fla: Supreme Court 2005.

Here, agent ARGUABLY means someone who has an INTEREST in the property, such as an owner or tenant who has been given the right to vote by their owner, etc. However, in the end, it is on a case by case basis I am afraid, and is up to the Court if the parties cannot decide.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Good luck.

Please note: I aim to give you genuine information and not necessarily to tell you only what you wish to hear. Please, rate me on the quality of my information and do not punish me for my honesty. I understand that hearing things less than optimal is not easy, and I empathize.

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Customer: replied 9 months ago.

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX was about "Master Condo Association" and the relation wih FS718, but my particular case is the "Master Association" and the relation with FS720. Please clarify it for me.


 


Thanks,

Expert:  Ely replied 9 months ago.
S,

You are very welcome. My apologies, and of course.

Chapter 720 has no definition for "Master Association." See here. As such, it falls unto what has been defined before, common usage, and legislative intent. From the links we have seen and the definition of "Master Condo Association," it is a safe bet that a SIMILAR definition would be attached to a Master Association if asked to by the Court. So in general, provided that the Master Association acts as an umbrella association (and in this case, it seems to do so), then arguably, it FALLS UNDER THE DEFINITION of an "association."

My answer for "agent" stays the same.

Unfortunately, the Court has the final say, of course.

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE and submit your rating when we are finished.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.


Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX before rate your answer,


what about my voting right? that is the first premise in the definition.


 


Thanks,

Expert:  Ely replied 9 months ago.
S,

Please ask as much as you need to, for this is why I am here.

what about my voting right? that is the first premise in the definition.

If someone in your situation can be argued to be an AGENT, then one should have the right to vote if one's property included in the Master Association (going with the logic that it is arguably an "association" in the Ch. 720 definition, meaning each owner/agent receives a vote).

However, then this becomes an issue of what is an agent? If the Master Association does not agree with you, a suit may be in order to force the issue.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.


Ok, thank very much.

Expert:  Ely replied 9 months ago.
You are very welcome. Good luck, and please don't forget to rate my answer in one of top three faces and then SUBMIT – it is the only way I get credit for my time with you – or, please REPLY to keep on chatting – I want you to be satisfied.
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 86365
Experience: Qualified attorney in private practice including business, family, criminal, and real estate issues.
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