Most large Florida condominiums are overseen by property management companies that are hired by the Association to handle the day to day operations for the condominium. (Small Florida condo associations usually have an individual condo manager to manage the property.)
Either way, a good condo manager is adept at handling all sorts of things, from problems with common area maintenance to dealing with personality clashes between unit owners.
Good condo managers are a great thing for an association to have. However, a bad condo manager can make the daily life of condo owners very stressful. A terrible condo management company can make daily condo life dismal.
Getting Rid of Bad Condo Managers: The Contract Controls
So, how can condo owners remove and replace a bad condo manager? Well, it’s not that easy.
First of all, managers and property management companies are hired by the Powers that Be on the Board of Directors of the Condominium Association. The contract is between the Condo Association and the Manager; individual owners aren’t a direct party to the contract and therefore they can’t do anything on their own.
The Florida Condominium Act provides specific things that must be included in these agreements, as well. According to Florida Statutes 718.3025(2):
In any case in which the party contracting to provide maintenance or management services fails to provide such services in accordance with the contract, the association is authorized to procure such services from some other party and shall be entitled to collect any fees or charges paid for service performed by another party from the party contracting to provide maintenance or management services.
Actions Open to Individual Condo Unit Owners
So, according to the Florida Condo Act and in most, if not all, contracts, individual condo owners are not able to terminate or deal with substandard condo management by themselves. Unit owners must move through the governing process and address their concerns through their association.
1. Petition the Board of Directors under Florida Condo Act
Under Florida law, 20% of the condo owners can formally petition the Condo Board of the Association to deal with the unsatisfactory Condo Manager. See, Section 718.112(2)(c)1 of the Florida Condominium Act.
That means, that unhappy unit owners need to get one-fifth of their fellow owners to agree with them and sign a petition in order to formally request that the Board do something about the problem.
2. Special Meeting Under the By-Laws
For many Florida condo owners, the By-Laws may offer an avenue where the unit owners can call a special meeting of all the Condo Association members. Here, the majority vote of the Association could sway the Board of Directors to address the bad management issue.
What If the Board of Directors Is Happy Enough With the Property Manager?
The remedies open to the condo owners who aren’t happy with the condo management is limited if the Board of Directors are happy with the property manager. The relationship is between the Board and the Manager/Management Company and the Board is the one who must make the change.
If a Condo Board isn’t listening to the individual condo owners, then it maybe time to reconsider who’s sitting on that Board. In this type of situation, or where there is one director who is blocking a change, there is a procedure where the condo association can recall a director. If it’s a bigger problem, then unit owners may need to work toward replacing the entire Board with directors that are more empathetic with those who own a majority of the condo units.
Another Hurdle: The Management Contract Provisions
Finally, even if the Condo Owners and the Condo Board are in total agreement that the current management needs to change, the contract between the Board and the Management company must be reviewed.
Normally, the provisions of the property management contract control how the manager is released from their position. Several provisions of the agreement may control over how and when the management company can be removed for “cause” and when the condo manager can be released from responsibility “without cause.”
There will likely be time frames set forth in any termination provision(s). For instance, the manager may contractually need to receive 1, 2, or even 3 months notice of termination if they are being fired “without cause.”
In these situations, having the advice and counsel of an experienced Florida Condo Lawyer to walk both the condo owners and the Board itself in dealing with transitioning between managers is helpful and wise.
Do you have questions or comments? Then please feel free to Chat with Larry in the comments below, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (954) 458-8655. If you have a specific or personal situation, please call or email Larry because he can’t answer specific fact questions in general comments.