Shared by Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
When buyers shop for condos, they are often sold on the wonderful the amenities. One of the more common selling points in Florida is a swimming pool for the exclusive use of condo owners and their guests.
But not in Briarwinds Condominium in Southwest Dade. It seems the condo board has voted to lease the pool to the local YMCA, despite objections of condo owners.
Board President Dan Suarez – who owns a condo at Briarwinds but does not live there – offered the following explanation:
Suarez told unit owners that the deal was in the best interest of the condominium community.
“There’s been a lot of loitering, sex, alcohol, drugs,” he said. “We feel that if the YMCA is visiting, they can take better care of the community and deter people who don’t belong here.”
Briarwinds reportedly has 110 units, and “more than half of all units are leased to tenants as rental apartments.” It’s unclear who has been loitering around the pool, and how leasing the pool to YMCA members who do not live in the condo association is going to be helpful.
And there are more pitfalls. The legal experts say that opening the pool up to non-members creates legal liabilities for the condo association. If someone were to be injured at the pool, condo owners would be on the hook for the cost of any lawsuit. And opening a private pool to the public means that the condo association would need to be ADA compliant (see here for Americans with Disabilities Act requirements for public pool access).
According to the Miami Herald report, official condominium documents do not allow for the association to lease the pool to non-members, at least not without the vote of approval from two-thirds of condo owners.
If a condo owner were to violate a restriction or rule, the board would probably issue a fine or worse. But the condo board can get away with a blatant violation of the declaration of condominium and its by laws, because there is no state oversight or penalty for association board members that choose to ignore the so-called “contract” with owners.
The only recourse for owners is to initiate an expensive civil suit, and hope that in maybe 2-5 years they’ll previal and be awarded their legal costs.
Kudos to Miami Herald for covering this issue, as it may put some pressure on Suarez and fellow board members to reconsider their actions. You can read the full article below.
Unit owners battle condo board members for leasing their private pool to YMCA