Who Do You Call? Fraud, Mismanagement and Rule-Breaking

In most instances, the board or management team of a condo or HOA is equipped to handle the wide variety of issues that arise day-to-day, from a leaky roof to dealing with municipal bureaucracy. There are other, bigger issues—things like embezzlement and fraud, for example—that require experienced outside professionals to resolve.

“Directors in Florida are held to a standard of care that requires them to seek and rely upon the opinions of trained professionals where appropriate,” says Attorney Jonathan S. Goldstein, a senior associate at the law firm of Haber Slade in Miami. “In many instances this includes legal counsel, because there is an element of legal compliance and there are potential risks and liabilities in taking various types of actions.”

The State of Florida provides a number of rights for condominium owners through Chapter 718, Florida Statutes, also known as the Condominium Act, notes Chelsea Eagle, deputy director of communications for the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). Board members, under this provision, are held to account.

Eagle points to the Act, which states: “A director is expected to carry out his or her powers and duties, as any other ordinarily prudent person would do under reasonably similar circumstances. Directors have a fiduciary relationship with the unit owners, and have the responsibility to act with the highest degree of good faith and to place the interests of the unit owners above the personal interests of the directors.”

She continues that DBPR is a regulatory agency that enforces administrative law, as opposed to criminal law, for more than one million of Florida’s businesses and professionals. “These include community association managers, condominiums and cooperatives,” she says.

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22 Comments

  • How do you go about filing a complaint against Board and Prop Management for financial mid management? We suspect the board has exhausted its op ex budget on items that are deemed Capital Expense. The Board is now asking for a vote on Special Assessment to cover items.
  • My friend was appointed as sec/treasurer to her board in December 2018. She is not permitted to sign on checks although our docs say 2association only signers property management sent her thumb drive with financials and if she wants to see more she has to go to attorney office. She discovered a solid case of fraud/theft by president and told manager and told president. Her and another board member that supported her are being recalled by president. She has solid evidence and recordings of how she has been bullied and and belittled. She is a senior from Brazil who has lived here 40 years and is only one who stands up to them she is filing with DBPR. Our attorney for over 25 years supports manager. Don’t have money for attorney. What can she do. 3member board in 14 unit condo that is part of 19 condo run by same co
  • We are being reassessed for outdoor electrical boxes which is part of the association's obligations and the reassessing us so that the homeowners on the condos have to pay for it also things are being relabeled balances are going 2-0 on certain entities on our budget and other entities are being doubled or tripled who do I call please help me
  • We recently bought an investment condo in Tampa. We are absentee owners who live near Atlanta. The HOA management company refuses to give us the names or contact info of the board of directors. Is this lawful? I’ve never heard of such a thing. I am President of our HOA up here in Ga. we have approximately 350 homes in our community. Every resident has my name, my email address and my phone number as well as that of the rest of our board members. Our residents know they can reach one of us at any time. We also have a management company with which we work in tandem. I am completely miffed that I have no idea who the board is at our condo and I just don’t believe that withholding this information from an owner is appropriate. Please let me know what recourse we have that will help us get this information to which we are entitled. Thank you!
  • Yanser_falcon@yahoo.com on Sunday, December 30, 2018 1:17 PM
    Can an association manager make a housekeeper or maintenance employee access a unit and walk some resident's dog just because the dog is making a lot of noise inside the unit, apparently because they owner forgot to walk the dog before leaving the unit? I need an answer ASAP please... thanks
  • We purchased property in FL and was not advised of HOA..we are only here three months out of year. We signed on for HOA but about twenty in location only pay dues. My husband recently underwent major heart surgery..I received letter from HOA, which I thought was for dues, put check in mail, due to my circumstances, didn’t real letter. The president called me twice threatened to put 500 dollar lien on property for dock repairs..is this legal since all homeowners haven’t participated since we have been here for 17 years ? What’s my recourse?
  • our docs say no trucks,trailers,vans boats or other commercial vehicle may be parked overnight on property. i have a pick up that is registered as a passenger vehicle. i am not being allowed to have it at my condo. my contention is that its not a commercial vehicle so it should be allowed. also, parking stickers are being issued to mini vans. why is that ok? seems the rule is being read two different ways. what can i do?
  • There is been a board in the condominium building I’m living in the past 15 years . We will be voting for getting a new board in the next month or two . It is most unfortunate that the president of the board association, has control of all the elderly people ballots Because they trust him . They also have control the ballot box in which they are the only ones I can count the votes . They have refused to show any of the financials to the people who are condominiums in our building . And they want to wait until the new board is put in place before they move forward with any actions . My question to you is is there an independent person that can come in and look into of all the illegal matters have been handled . This is not just me speaking off-the-cuff , many people are very well aware of what this man is been doing . I would like to know if there is an association and just come independently and look at all the records , without my name being involved .. I can promise you it will not be a waste of time , and there are many people in the building after the new board comes on like an investigation . I myself , Would like to have this get underway as soon as possible . And this will not be a waste of time I could guarantee that I remain respect fully yours , Suzanne Kent cooke
  • Being here since the 1980s we have seen our condo board go from bad to worst. At the beginning we had an office secretary who was married to the president of board. She was the only person allowed in office and had access to all. They would abuse verbally anyone who questioned them. They treated us like animals from third world country. Since then board figured if they can do it so can we. Our president has ten minute meetings our vice president does not live on premises and has no clue on what is going on and to boot has other units in building were her son and wife( wife in question) rent all under one year of purchase which is illegal. We have building directors that purchase to turn around condos and rent in less than a year. Totally abusing their powers. We have asked for financial records as money goes missing and no one has answers to questions. Avoiding us because most of us our in our 70s and some just do not speak English. Where can we go to get action. The DBPR is a total joke and waste of time, we feel board members are taking advantage of us because of our age and its uncalled for. Its a crime to beat an elderly person , we feel eden isles condominium is doing just that without the physical aspect.
  • On 2-1-2017, I was double billed first quarter. I paid in full 1st quarter by check using the coupon book provided, the check cleared my bank but they said I did not pay. They billed me for Feb, Mar and Apr. and fees were to be sent to Phoenix Arizona, under new management name. I called, they said I cannot call, I must write, so I wrote, twice, and no reply. During this same time period, my in-house water bill went well over the usual amount. I called and wrote to the Water Co. and the HOA on the same letter, so that both parties would receive the same information. The Water Co. responded, found out that someone had tampered with the water meter governing the irrigation. The HOA said they do not do the irrigation, but the yearly budget shows that they do. I never once said I would not pay, I just wanted a corrected coupon book. To this day, I have been sued, and forced to pay attorney's fees or have my home sold at auction. I NEED HELP FOR THIS FRAUD.
  • As of this date, I have not received any help and I was forced to pay a debt collector the fees which were already paid, plus the continuing fees. I never said that I would not pay, just amend the payment coupon book to rectify their mistake. According to the Florida State Law, arbitration or mediation is the way to settle disputes, and filing a law suit is not legal. As a homeowner, I have no rights and they threatened to auction my home if I did not pay. Why have Florida laws governing homeowners Assoc. if they are not enforced.? Please help me as I am 86 years old and have become a victim, pay up or else. Thank you for any help you can give me. Rita
  • Jennifer C Butts on Monday, May 18, 2020 3:36 PM
    I've sent Best Beach Getaways multiple emails and called at least 20 times with no response. I rented 2 condos from them for June. The condo is Ocean Villas in Panama City Beach Florida. Can someone lead me in the right direction to reach this agency? Any help is appreciated. Thanks, Jennifer
  • Approved assessments for projects not completed in 65 day is consider Exploitation iaw FL Statue 825.103. Is this eight or is it longer ?
  • I live in a 55+ mobile home co-op community in FL. Our Board of Directors President has been accusing residents of breaking rules and regulations when none have been broken. The Board selectively enforces the rules and regulations. They are accusing people who have not broken any rule and charging them a $2,000.00 fine. They have accused my husband via mail on letterhead from our Management Company (who only does our financials) of false violations. The letter states to advise of our intentions which we tried to do but the phone number on the Management letterhead was an incorrect number. After getting the right phone number we were told by the Management Company that "they only do our financials" and that the letter did not come from them and therefore could not help us. I read the letter to them and also told them that the letter came with there address on the envelope as well as the letter. They said they could not help us, they did not write the letter. Our Board President told us if we ever have a question just ask any Board Member. My husband asked two other Board Members and after them arguing with him he got a letter for harassing the Board member. This is just the beginning. Can someone pls HELP us?
  • Can the CAM management company & the board of directors break into our unit with a locksmith, while NEVER having tried to contact us through mail, phone call, or text? They had all that information. We were out of town. They pretended they needed to check our unit because the new owner in the unit below us had leak problems. There were problems in that unit for the past 30 years, but now it was an emergency.
  • Can a CAM management company and the condo association board of directors break into a condo without giving any warning to the condo unit owners? We were out of town. They never tried to call us, or send a certified letter, regular letter, or text, so that we could have overnighted the keys to them. There was a new condo owner who moved in below us who complained about the 30-year plus leaking lanai he had just moved into. It obviously was not disclosed by the previous owner about his multi-decade leak. They broke into our unit, damaged the door, destroyed our matching lock, and one of them stole some signs we had on the kitchen counter. What recourse do we have now?
  • I have a condo in Fort Myers in an over 55 community. About a week and a half ago my snowbird tenant called me and said there was water on the bathroom floor. I immediatedly notified the management company as well as a plumber. When the plumber came to inspect it he said that every time the unit above me used their sinks or toilet the water comes down to my unit due to a broken pipe . The president of the association took it upon herself to call a friend of hers that is a “handywoman” to come in and fix the pipe even after I told her that my homeowners insurance told me it HAS to be a licensed, certified plumber with liability insurance and certificates etc. They said they would not be responsible for anyliabilities or issues if I hired anyone but that because the Florida law mandates that. Also I noted in the documents for the assosiation if anyone needs any plumbing, electrical or contracting work done it has got to be by a licensed professions with liability and certifications. It is now 1-1/2 weeks later and I want to hire the plumber that was there today and the association keeps telling me that they have already repaired it and I am not to hire any plumber. Meanwhile, my tenant had to leave due to coughing and not feeling well , as well as the people upstairs because they could not use their toilets or sinks . And in addition to that I had a mold restoration company come in today and it going to run thousands of dollars to remediate the place, remove and replace all the molded sheetrock, replace the carpet, etc. Apparently this has been going on for some time but no one knew it until last week. More impodrtantly and more frustrating is that this same exact incident happened about 8 years ago and all of my carpets, and walls, flooring etc. had to be either replaced or repaired. I believe it was never fixed properly the first time by a licensed plumber and has been leaking this entire time behind the walls. The president is insistent that the problem is repaired because her friend went in yesterday for a few hours and as they claim repaired all the damaged broken pipes behind the wall. The association calls that "repairing the problem". I call it “putting a band- aid on the problem” until it resurfaces again, just as it has. I did much research on plumbing requirements in florida , and spoke to numerous plumbers, insurance agents and Pam and not one person or article permits an unlicensed handywoman to repair broken pipes behind walls, yet my associaion & management company is telling me they fixed the problem and are basically not responding to me . What worries me more is that the plumber that went in today told me he believes even after this woman claims she fixed the problem he believe it still exists because after l-1/2 weeks of shutting down the water and numerous days of fans - the walls registered today as still very wet. He told me the problem is probably only getting worse. My hands are tied because the association is supposed to be absorbing the cost for the plumbing but refuse to hire a licensed plumber which is breaking the law. In addition to that, either I or my insurance will be forced to cover all of the remediation, which was all caused by the damaged pipes behind the wall,and this just does not seem fair to me. I could see paying for remediation IF i caused the problems in my unit in the front of the walls, but all the mold and damage to floors, walls, rugs etc. was due to the issue that started in the pipes behind the walls. It is going to be thousands of dollars just as it was 8 years ago. I hesitate to go through my insurance because it will probably skyrocket, but will probably have to do that cause I cannot affort the cost of a remediation. Can you help
  • I am having an extremely hard time with my HOA board with his new as a bike a year ago January president has a felony in his background also embezzled funds bid fixing in Palm Beach. I have pointed out this president's impropriety in hiring his own new Landscaping Company inspiring a legitimate well run outfit. He has done many things on the property as an electrician and plumber irrigation specialist sump pump specialist the list goes on is not hired unlicensed contractors to do work nor pull permits I have been calling the HOA out on these improprieties and have become a huge Target remodeled one of my homes and they held me up for so long that I cannot afford to have the work finished because of the price of wood has almost tripled and I have lost my contractors because they have moved on to other projects. They will not give me the information on our insurance company they actually don't respond to any emails or letters. I have not been able to rent my second property because I couldn't finish my first property and I lost the revenue over season for income which I need. I have hired an attorney and he does not seem to take me seriously nice letters do not work with this board they just ignore you and prolong the time it takes to send letters back and forth out of spite. I have several other people who are also complaining we tried to have him ejected from the board we were three votes short. Very small HOA mobile home Co-op and there's absolutely no need for this ridiculous board to allow selective enforcement of HOA rules and regulations initially of which they did no idea because I never read the rules. I am beside myself because I can't seem to get anyone to take me seriously without charging an arm and a leg.
  • I had an issue with the HOA. Who can I discuss ths with
  • The board is voting off our president because he does what he wants and does not tell the board members. My question is can he vote when we are voting off the board?
  • I am a member of the board. I requested many financial documents from the management company. The president of the board knows all about it. But they all refused to give me the documentation requested. Who is able to help me if the president of the board and the management company refused to give me the documents requested. They all have ignored my request.
  • I have lived in my Fl.condo for many years and served on the Board. We govern by the Fl. Statutes, the Condominium Act and the Condo Bylaws. You can get most answers by first going on line to get the state laws governing Your state. In Fl. A Board must allow a homeowner to inspect most documents when A certified letter with return address is sent within 5 days of delivery. If not a complaint to Dept. of Business and Professional Regulations Will notify the Board and request the documents and will be charged fines If Board does not comply.