Ask an expert: About your condo, HOA rules

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By: Steven R. Braten Esq. Special to the Boca newspaper
Attorneys at Goede, Adamczyk, DeBoest & Cross, respond to questions about Florida community association law. The firm represents community associations throughout Florida and focuses on condominium and homeowner association law, real estate law, civil litigation, estate planning and commercial transactions.
Here are attorney Steven Braten’s answers:
Q: I have heard a lot of different opinions on whether my condominium association must opt out of the requirement to retro fit a condominium building with a fire sprinkler system by Dec. 31. Can you please explain this issue?
M.L., Boca Raton
A: There have been numerous opinions circulating over whether all condominiums are subject to Florida’s fire sprinkler retro fit requirement, which originates from a national model code that the Florida Legislature adopted, Florida Administrative Code 69A-3.012. The deadline to comply with the retro fitting of condominium buildings that are covered with a fire sprinkler system has been extended. To be subject to the fire sprinkler retrofit requirement, your condominium association’s building or buildings must have the highest occupiable story higher than 75 feet above the lowest level of the fire department’s vehicular access. It must also not currently have fire sprinklers in the units and common areas of the building. The code does not require an existing and properly functioning fire sprinkler system to be upgraded. To verify whether your condominium building is subject to the fire sprinkler retrofit requirement you should contact your local fire official. Many of our clients in low-rise or mid-rise condominiums are opting out to be “safe.” To opt out of the code’s fire sprinkler retro fit requirement, Section 718.112 of Florida’s Condominium Act requires the association to obtain a favorable majority vote of the total voting interests of the condominium. If your building meets the code’s height requirements and your association elects to opt out, the association will need to have its building(s) evaluated by a fire protection engineer and establish a plan for an Engineered Life Safety System. For more information on this issue, I encourage you to contact your association’s legal counsel.
Steven R. Braten Esq., is Managing Partner, Palm Beach of the law firm Goede, Adamczyk, DeBoest & Cross. Visit www.GADClaw.com or ask questions about your issues for future columns, send an inquiry to: bocaquestion@GADClaw.com. The information provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The publication of this article does not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader and Goede, Adamczyk, DeBoest & Cross, or any of our attorneys. Readers should not act or refrain from acting based upon the information contained in this article without first contacting an attorney, if you have questions about any of the issues raised herein. The hiring of an attorney is a decision that should not be based solely on advertisements or this column.