J.F. from Sarasota County, Florida writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Is the board required to let owners know of potentially dangerous situations? Recently, the board had to reveal it was paying for police surveillance of a unit but I have no idea what kind of problem was going on.
Mister Condo replies:
J.F., that is a great question. First off, I am sorry that you have any type of activity within your condo that requires the Board to engage with paid surveillance of a particular unit. There are numerous reasons for such surveillance but none of them good. The Board may not be under any direct requirement to notify owners of police presence or surveillance but it would be good policy to alert owners to any crime that has happened as failure to do so could create liability for the association. Most common are thefts, car break-ins, and even assault. Courts have found some associations liable for not alerting residents when they were well aware of crimes being committed within the association common grounds and units. However, suppose a surveillance operation were ongoing because a resident (owner or renter) was suspected of dealing drugs from a unit. Theoretically, alerting the resident would thwart the surveillance operation and the Board’s ultimate goal of having this resident arrested and/or removed from the property. Ultimately, association expenditures are in the Minutes and financial records of the association, which are available to all owners. I am sure the Board has their reasons to spend the money on the surveillance. Hopefully, over time, they can report to the residents why they did so. All the best!