February 21, 2024

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RE Q&A: Can Pandemic Postpone Construction Contracts?

4 min read

A condo association signed a agreement, but owners now have a pandemic-era be concerned about construction staff coming into their unit. Could this be lawfully postponed?

STUART, Fla. – Question: We are obviously anxious about COVID-19 and the association is about to embark on a construction undertaking that involves contractors to enter the unit. Quite a few owners are anxious about contractors coming in the unit, even with masks. Can we hold off the undertaking? – P.R., Delray Beach

Answer: There are two sections of this assessment, the board’s duty to sustain and mend the condominium and the construction agreement itself.

Definitely, lots of associations are sensitive to COVID-19 and utilizing several protocols to mitigate the possibility of the virus coming into the community. The to start with issue, nevertheless, is whether or not the undertaking can physically hold out. Since the board has a duty to sustain, mend and exchange the typical components, a condition where all of the roofs are leaking every time it rains in July is various from a purely beauty undertaking. The previous may be essential to continue and the latter can obviously hold out.

The next issue is whether or not the board has any capability to hold off the agreement itself. If the agreement has previously been signed and delivered to the contractor, the association may be in breach of the agreement if it tells the contractors to hold out. On the other hand, the contractor may be dealing with staffing issues owing to COVID-19 and may welcome the overall flexibility.

Further more, the agreement may involve a provision which excuses performance owing to force majeure activities, these as hurricanes and labor strikes and may be drafted broadly to involve pandemics. If so, this may be an justification by the association or the contractor to commence on time. With these provisions, the precise language is extremely vital and is various from agreement to agreement.

I would advise that you have the agreement reviewed by a certified Florida attorney to ascertain your legal rights under the agreement, and then the board can ascertain the most effective training course of action relying on whether or not the operate is vital or non-vital.

Question: Our condominium board just approved developing pickleball courts following to the tennis courts. The price tag is around $thirty,000 but the board insists it can do this with out a member vote. We are upset because the proposed place is currently a sitting down place with mature trees that we love. Can the board do this? – T.D., Stuart

Answer: The remedy is, of training course, probably. If you ended up to assess this concern only under the Condominium Act, the statute involves the membership to authorize any material alterations to the typical components. A material alteration is broadly described as a palpable or perceptive adjust in the use, look or function of a typical aspect.

Listed here, the grime is currently landscaped and has a sitting down place. If the pickleball courts are installed, this place would now be utilized for an work out place. This is a material alteration and the statute would need that at the very least 75% of the voting pursuits approve the adjust to pickleball before the board has the authority to approve the alteration.

The wrinkle, nevertheless, is that the statute also gives that your precise condominium paperwork may deliver for a various approval threshold, and may also deliver that specified alterations are exempt from operator approval entirely. For case in point, lots of paperwork deliver that material alterations can be approved with only a the greater part of the voting pursuits current and voting at a assembly. In the same way, lots of paperwork deliver that only material alterations exceeding a precise dollar threshold need approval.

Listed here, if your paperwork deliver for a little something various than the statute (and lots of paperwork do deliver a little something various) then the pickleball court may be exempt from a vote if the paperwork allow the board to unilaterally approve alterations up to, for case in point, $fifty,000. Thus, the suggestion is that you have your paperwork and the pickleball proposal reviewed by a certified Florida attorney to ascertain if a vote is essential. From the board’s point of view, it’s also vital that the board ensure whether or not or not a vote is essential before you commence construction.

Steven J. Adamczyk Esq., is a shareholder of the law firm Goede, Adamczyk, DeBoest & Cross, PLLC. The info offered herein is for informational uses only and ought to not be construed as authorized information. The publication of this report does not produce an attorney-consumer marriage involving the reader and Goede, Adamczyk, DeBoest & Cross, or any of our attorneys. Readers ought to not act or chorus from performing centered upon the info contained in this report with out to start with speaking to an attorney, if you have questions about any of the issues raised herein. The using the services of of an attorney is a final decision that ought to not be centered only on ads or this column.

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