How to Combat Against Known Chronic Complaniners
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Last updated: Monday, February 18, 2008

Every association has a chronic complainer. Usually it’s the person out of one hundred (100) that always have to complain about something or another. A common nickname is condo commando, bellyacher or squawker. This person rarely has a resolution to a problem, only complaints. Condo commandos are always the first to attend Board meetings. In public some are quiet, while others are vocal and disruptive.  So what is the Board to do?

Avoid and ignore bellyachers whenever possible is highly recommended.  But if the squawker goes as far as to complain by certify letter, directed to the association, only then, the Board is obligated to respond. The failure to respond in writing could prevent the association from recovering attorney fees and other costs, which could lead to arbitration.

In an attempt to not forfeit recovering attorney’s fees and costs of any future litigation, due to failure to respond, there’re three (3) acceptable responses:

1. Within thirty (30) day, give a substantive response.

2. Notify the queries that advice has been requested from the division.

3. Notify the queries that a legal opinion has been requested.

Basically a substantive response is a response with substance and/or legal fact. Whoever can measure a substantive response is beyond us, so if in doubt, consult with the association attorney.

If the inquirer involves the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), then the board shall, within 10 days of its receipt of the advice from the DBPR, provide in writing a substantive response to the inquirer, or simply forward the divisions direction.

For supporting documents, click here.

For legal decisions, a sixty (60) day notice is required in writing with a substantive response to the queries. The association attorney writes these legal responses.

Regarding the frequency of certified complaint letters, the Board reserves the right to adopt reasonable rules and regulations. The Florida State interpretation for reasonable rules & regulations, would be to reduce the frequency of certified complaint letters down to a subsequent 30-day period, or periods.

718.112 (2):   When a unit owner files a written inquiry by certified mail with the board of administration, the board shall respond in writing to the unit owner within 30 days of receipt of the inquiry. The board’s response shall either give a substantive response to the inquirer, notify the inquirer that a legal opinion has been requested, or notify the inquirer that advice has been requested from the division. If the board requests advice from the division, the board shall, within 10 days of its receipt of the advice, provide in writing a substantive response to the inquirer. If a legal opinion is requested, the board shall, within 60 days after the receipt of the inquiry, provide in writing a substantive response to the inquiry. The failure to provide a substantive response to the inquiry as provided herein precludes the board from recovering attorney’s fees and costs in any subsequent litigation, administrative proceeding, or arbitration arising out of the inquiry. The association may through its board of administration adopt reasonable rules and regulations regarding the frequency and manner of responding to unit owner inquiries, one of which may be that the association is only obligated to respond to one written inquiry per unit in any given 30-day period. In such a case, any additional inquiry or inquiries must be responded to in the subsequent 30-day period, or periods, as applicable.

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