Attorney: HOAs not getting equal rights

Department helps condo associations, not HOA residents

A News 6 investigation has found HOA and condo association residents may be facing the same issues of  alleged mismanagement but only condo association members are getting state assistance to hold  board officers accountable.

[WEB EXTRAS: Get information on your rights: Condo laws | HOA Statutes | Condo Statutes  | WATCH: Extended interview ]

Eric Glazer an expert in community association law and radio host of Condo Craze and HOAs, says allegations  of mismanagement , sleeping security guards and broken entrance gates are the stuff of HOA and Condo complaints.

“We hear horror stories like that," Glazer says, “We hear horror stories of boards stealing money and unfortunately at least over the past year or so it’s reached near epidemic proportions."

On Monday the veteran community association attorney filed a blog essentially blasting state lawmakers for  rejecting a plan that would have provided HOA residents the same free assistance and investigative services  from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation already offered to condominium residents.

“For whatever reason the Florida legislature thinks it’s a bad idea to charge HOA owners a lousy two bucks per year for them (HOA residents) to get the same help."

Glazer has already certified 11,000 community board members anxious to  learn state law  and avoid the legal battles that go with HOA and Condo Association mistakes.

Glazer says the DPBR does ”a tremendous amount of work” for condominium association residents including arbitrators, question and answer hotlines, free online forms and investigators to review resident complaints.

The cost of that service is just $4 per unit every year.

One of the most unsettling cases involving  alleged mismanagement  happened last  November when Mary Haigh was carjacked at gunpoint just 200 feet from her front door.  The mother of two was sitting in her car talking to a relative when according to Orlando police a teen held a loaded handgun to her head. 

Haigh says they had moved to that condo community because they felt a gated community “would be safer.”
Ironically the gate had been broken for weeks and was wide open when the teens walked in the drove away with her car.

“All I could think about was my kids…was I going to  get shot, was I going die?…” she said.

The teens involved were arrested but Haigh and her family  have decided to leave the Orlando area.

Haigh says the condo association gave her an apology- nothing else.

Glazer reviewed the video Tuesday In an email to News 6 he writes, “The condo can absolutely be held liable.  Potentially, even the directors can be personally liable if the gate wasn’t fixed for weeks – and the failure to fix the gates allowed the teens to enter.”

About the Author:

News 6’s Emmy Award-winning Investigative Reporter Mike Holfeld has made Central Florida history with major investigations that have led to new policies, legislative proposals and even -- state and national laws. If you have an issue or story idea, call Mike's office at 407-521-1322.