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Success L aw
IT’S ALL YOURS!
With so many new condominium developments nearing completion in town, it’s important to keep in mind
that the turnover of these properties from the developer to the owners is perhaps the most critical phase for
ensuring the association’s long-term financial well-being.
T I P S BY H E L I O D E L A TO R R E
1. When will control be turned
over? The developer and owners
should meet to establish this. Discuss
the election process, the records that will be
turned over, and the status of the financial
review required to be performed by an
independent auditor. Start planning the
turnover process early to avoid last-minute
Send formal notice. Your bylaws
require that formal notice be sent
to all owners advising them of the
turnover meeting and pending election.
Essentially, this marks the start of the
campaigns for the new owners who wish to be
considered for the board of directors. Find out
who’s willing to participate and serve.
3. Get educated regarding the
process. Take advantage of available
industry seminars on the turnover
process and association governance. Ask
questions and review available financial
information. This will jump-start everything.
4. Review the budget and reserves
to start planning next year’s
budget. Owners may have been
allowed to become delinquent in paying their
association fees by the developer and your
assessments may be too low. The new board
must establish an effective and comprehensive
collection policy and make many important
5. Retain an experienced
accountant with experience
in turnovers. This professional
will conduct thorough examinations of the
association’s financial records and the turnover
audit delivered by the developer.
6. Inspection time. After turnover, a
thorough inspection of the property
must be performed by highly qualified
local engineering consultants, who will issue
detailed reports regarding construction
deficiencies. Any that are identified require the
issuance of notices of defects in order to initiate
the construction claims process.
7. Construction claims necessitate
complex and sometimes lengthy
negotiations. These include
conversations with the developer, the architect,
the general contractor, all subcontractors
and their insurers in order to work together
toward reaching a satisfactory settlement. If
a settlement can’t be reached, litigation may
become a necessary recourse.
8. Establish realistic reserves.
The engineers should also help to
determine the proper level of reserves
that will be needed for future repairs, and this
analysis should include determinations of the
useful life of the major building components .
9. Legal considerations. The new
board should most certainly retain
highly qualified, experienced and
proven legal counsel to handle a wide variety
of issues that may arise, including those
involving the turnover process, financial and
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Helio De La Torre is a Partner with Coral Gables-based Siegfried, Rivera, Hyman, Lerner, De La Torre,
Mars & Sobel, P.A. who focuses on representing condominium and homeowners associations in turnovers
and construction claims; 305.442.3334; SRHL-Law.com; FloridaHOALawyerBlog.com.