Although you may not know it, your condominium could be terminated by a vote of the owners. This simply means that the provisions of your Declaration of Condominium would no longer apply and you can in effect be forced out of the property.
All declarations of condominium contain a section regarding how the condominium may be terminated. Generally speaking, those condominiums that were built prior to 2007 have language in them that require as much as a 100% vote of the owners in order to terminate the condominium. Needless to say, that is pretty difficult to obtain.
However, in 2007, when the condominium market really started to bottom out and in an attempt to again help developers, The Florida Legislature enacted the following new law:
3) OPTIONAL TERMINATION.–Except as provided in subsection (2) or unless the declaration provides for a lower percentage, the condominium form of ownership of the property may be terminated pursuant to a plan of termination approved by at least 80 percent of the total voting interests of the condominium if not more than 10 percent of the total voting interests of the condominium have rejected the plan of termination by negative vote or by providing written objections thereto. This subsection does not apply to condominiums in which 75 percent or more of the units are timeshare units.
So what does this all mean to you? Well, let me tell you what I am starting to see. There are some older properties that are taking up some very prime real estate locations. Developers are making huge offers to owners to sell their units. And if that developer is able to get to the magic 80% number, the remaining 20% are gone and out the door, regardless of whether or not they want to continue to live there or not, regardless of whether or not they paid their dues and regardless of whether or not they have lived there their whole lives.
By the way….suppose you have a mortgage that you still owe? The “plan of termination” that gets filed in the County where the property is located can simply require that you get paid the fair market value of your property as determined by the current value given to the property by the County Appraiser’s Office. Many of you owe mortgages that far exceed the value assigned by your county appraiser. So, not only can you lose your home, but you can still be liable for your mortgage after you get kicked out.
I’ll leave it to Jan to tell you how this all happened. Just now that the term “the comfort and safety” of your own home may be a fallacy if an eager beaver developer comes knocking on the doors of all your neighbors.