E.F. from Broward County, Florida writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Can Condo Declarations be modified?
Mister Condo replies:
E.F., yes and no. The documents that actually define the association are terribly difficult to amend and for good reason. The Declaration actually defines the condominium and the association. all of the transaction that have occurred since the association was declared (via the Declaration) have been done so in accordance with the Declaration. All sales, all mortgages, even the relationship with local municipality were based on the Declaration. Altering the document is contingent upon many things, often outlined in the document itself. State and Federal law supersede the document but there are times when it is in the best interest of the association to modify their Declaration to accurately reflect law changes, especially when their documents contradict the law. This is done to avoid confusion for owners and the Board. The Declaration has ramifications outside of the community and if it is ever altered, local municipality records (usually County) must also be updated. Many Declarations state the exact method of amending the Declaration – supermajority of homeowners, some state stakeholders, meaning even mortgage holders have a vote. The real question when amending the Declaration is why do it? Unless a strong argument can be made for altering the Declaration, it is often best just to leave it along. And, by all means, use the association attorney at the beginning of the process. You want to make sure everything is done by the book before taking such. drastic measure. All the best!