Firm shareholder Roberto C. Blanch provides vital input and insight into the issue of bulk buyer investors taking control of the condominium boards for aging local enclaves in a Miami Herald article on the topic in today’s edition of the newspaper. The article reads:
. . .The situation at the two-story building at 2033 Calais Drive is, in some ways, a reflection of forces resulting in steep costs for many South Florida condo owners. Those costs include inflation, ballooning insurance prices and a condo safety law that was enacted after the deadly Champlain Towers South collapse in Surfside and will require associations to maintain reserves for structural repairs by 2025.
Properties such as Fiorda’s 1959 building have become red meat for investors in North Beach, a gentrifying neighborhood full of aging coastal structures and one of the last Miami Beach slivers that some middle-class and working-class families can afford.
But the substantial, sudden cost increases at 2033 Calais Drive also reflect the tactic of investors taking over condo boards and making spending decisions with limited input from other owners who must also foot the bills. Condo associations in Florida have broad latitude to make financial decisions under a “business judgment rule” that protects directors from liability as long as they can show a reasonable basis for their spending, said Roberto Blanch, a South Florida condo lawyer.
“There is this gray area, I think — let’s call it this wiggle room — that might be enough to let them get away with some unsubstantiated or some uncorroborated increases,” Blanch said. “The board can always get away with saying, ‘We’re just spitballing here.’”