News

April 04, 2017

The Florida Bar Introduces Board Certification for Attorneys Specializing in Condominium and Planned Development Law

Categories: Community Associations, News, Practice Focus - Admin @ 3:01 pm

The Florida Bar announced it is adding standardized Board Certification in Condominium and Planned Development Law to its current roster of 26 defined areas of law. This is positive news for Eisinger, Brown, Lewis, Frankel & Chaiet, P.A. which has focused its practice in these well-defined areas of law for more than 20 years.

The Florida Bar’s application filing period begins this summer and since Eisinger Law has a demonstrated history of proficiency in these specialized areas of law, several of the firm’s attorneys are already in the process of applying.

Conditions of Board Certification necessitate that each practice area has set standards that have been approved by the Supreme Court of Florida and incorprated into the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar. The standards include specific practice or experience criteria, passing an examination, advanced continuing education, and supportive peer review which sufficiently assesses qualifications such as competence, skill experience, professionalism and ethics.

The application process is extremely comprehensive but Eisinger, Brown, Lewis, Frankel & Chaiet’s attorneys are exceedingly experienced and qualified. In addtion to representing the interests of condominium and homeowners’ associations and co-ops in South Florida and statewide for the past three decades, managing partner Dennis J. Eisinger is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida’s School of Law, teaching a class on condominium and community development law. Partner, Jed L. Frankel has represented numerous clients, including community associations, before administrative, trial court and appellate panels across the State. Frankel is “AV” rated by his peers and is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law by the Florida Bar.

“Board Certification is a strong indicator of our firm’s expertise and principal way we can best serve our clients and ensure our attorneys remain at the forefront of this specialized and continuously evolving area of law,” said partner Jed. L. Frankel.

Accordingly to The Florida Bar, a lawyer who is board certified is recognized as “having special knowledge, skills and proficiency in the practice area and good character, ethics and a reputation for professionalism in the practice of law.”   Board certification establishes an independent measure of competence, professionalism and peer acknowledgment and we anticipate it will also become a valuable referral resource within the legal community. Once a lawyer achieves Board Certification they may use the initials B.C.S. after their name to indicate they are a Board Certified Specialist.

With more than 600 Florida homeowners and condominium associations as clients, Eisinger, Brown, Lewis, Frankel & Chaiet, P.A. a full service Florida law firm focusing on community association law, real estate law, developer representation, commercial litigation and insurance law. For more information call 954-894-8000 or visit eisingerlaw.com.  
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March 27, 2017

Why Homeowner Associations Need to Know About MRTA

Categories: Community Associations, E-Blasts, HOA - Admin @ 2:27 pm

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March 21, 2017

Association Board Member Town Hall Meeting Free Event Thursday, March 30 at Noon

Categories: E-Blasts - Admin @ 1:53 pm

HOA and Condo Association Board Members are invited to an open forum on Thursday, March 30 at noon at the West Regional Library to discuss community association management with all the considerations of legal, financial, and insurance matters, including fiduciary duties and how to minimize liability as Board Members. Speakers will include Tom Spino with Seacrest Services and guest panelists: Nicole Johnson, CPA; Dennis Eisinger, Esq.; Alessandra Stivelman, Esq.; and Curt Levine for candid questions and answers. A complimentary lunch will be served.                                                                                                       WHERE:        8601 W. Broward Blvd., Room 103   Plantation, FL 33324                                            RSVP:           Email education@SeacrestServices.com      
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March 17, 2017

Eisinger, Brown, Lewis, Frankel & Chaiet, P.A. Wins the Florida Community Association Journal’s 2017 Readers’ Choice Award with Diamond Honors

Categories: E-Blasts - Admin @ 7:14 pm

HOLLYWOOD, FLA. – (March 17, 2017) – The law firm of Eisinger, Brown, Lewis, Frankel & Chaiet, P.A. was recently honored with the Florida Community Association Journal’s 2017 Readers’ Choice Award, winning a prestigious a Diamond Level for Legal Services. The FLCAJ Readers’ Choice Awards is a unique recognition program that shines a spotlight on the positive and productive contributions by community association service providers across Florida. They are presented to service providers that demonstrate through their commitment to the community associations they serve an exemplary level of proficiency, reliability, fairness, and integrity. This is the third consecutive year the firm has been recognized with the esteemed distinction for excellence. Eisinger, Brown, Lewis, Frankel & Chaiet, P.A. was selected for the award by being collectively voted as a favorite provider of legal services by community managers, board members, fellow service partners, clients and the readers of the Florida Community Association Journal. Thousands of votes were cast for hundreds of nominated service providers, but only a few were chosen as winners. Since being founded in 2013, the Awards have grown every year, with more than 340 service providers nominated for this year’s awards and approximately 6,000 votes cast and winners chosen based solely on the total number of votes. Eisinger, Brown, Lewis, Frankel & Chaiet, P.A., a full service Florida law firm focusing on community association law, real estate law, developer representation, commercial litigation and insurance law. For more info visit eisingerlaw.com or facebook.com/EisingerLaw.
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March 16, 2017

HOA Fees in South Florida Among Highest – Sun Sentinel Article

Categories: News - Admin @ 7:39 pm

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March 16, 2017

FREE BOARD CERTIFICATION COURSE TUESDAY, MARCH 21 AT NOON

Categories: Education Courses - Admin @ 5:41 pm

Seacrest Services, Inc. cordially invites HOA and Condo Association Board Members to attend a complimentary certification course presented by Dennis Eisinger, Esq. and Alessandra Stivelman, Esq., partners at Eisinger, Brown, Lewis, Frankel & Chaiet, P.A. The event will take place on Tuesday, March 21 from noon to 2:00 pm at the Northwest Regional Library (SECOND FLOOR, ROOM 214).To reserve a seat, email education@SeacrestServices.com The educational program is the perfect introduction for all new board members and a great review for anyone currently serving on a board. This course satisfies community association board member State certification requirements. Topics covered will include: recent legislative changes affecting condominium and homeowner associations; roles of the officers and fiduciary duties; how board members navigate through the governing association Florida statutes and more. This course fulfills community association board member State certification requirements (Section 718.112(2)(d)(4) and 720.3033(1)). 
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January 24, 2017

Free Board Certification Course on Wednesday, February 22

Categories: Community Associations, Education Courses, News - Admin @ 5:56 pm

WHAT: Condominium and Homeowner Association board members, as well as property managers, are invited to attend a free board certification course. The educational program is the perfect introduction for all new board members and a great review for anyone currently serving on a board.

Managing partner Dennis J. Eisinger along with partner Alessandra Stivelman of Eisinger, Brown, Lewis, Frankel & Chaiet, P.A., will lead the DBPR-approved board certification course. The two experienced attorneys will review recent legislative changes affecting condominium and homeowner associations, explain the role of fiduciary duties and guide board members through the applicable statutes governing community associations in Florida. This course fulfills community association board member State certification requirements (Section 718.112(2)(d)(4) and 720.3033(1)).

Refreshments will be served.

WHEN: Wednesday, February 22, 2017 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Young at Art Museum 751 SW 121st Avenue Davie, FL 33325

RSVP: jgrace@eisingerlaw.com or call 954-894-8000 x 241

ABOUT: The board certification course is sponsored free of charge by Eisinger, Brown, Lewis, Frankel & Chaiet, P.A., a full service Florida law firm focusing on community association law, real estate law, developer representation, commercial litigation and insurance law. For more info visit eisingerlaw.com
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December 19, 2016

Q&A: What Are the Ramifications of a Management Takeover?

Categories: Community Associations, News, Practice Focus, Press Coverage - Admin @ 3:48 pm

 
coop


BY ALESSANDRA STIVELMAN 2016 OCTOBER

Q: I am a unit owner in a condominium association containing 189 units. We manage ourselves and wouldn’t ever want to have a management company manage our property. However, the question has often been asked as to what happens when a management company takes over. Obviously, the care and upkeep is taken care of by management. What happens to the association articles and bylaws? Does the management company have authority over those? Can it now change the monthly assessment fee without the consent of the association members? In other words, what are the legal ramifications of being professionally managed?

—Self-Managed in South Florida

A: “The responsibilities of a management company (and the manager, if one is assigned to the association) should be governed by a contract between the management company and the association,” says attorney Alessandra Stivelman of the Hollywood, Florida-based law firm of Eisinger, Brown, Lewis, Frankel & Chaiet.  “In Florida, there is a statute that governs management contracts for condominium associations. Among other matters, the statute requires that the contract is in writing and contain specifications regarding the services, obligations and responsibilities of the parties to the contract.

“Since the management company will be an agent of the association, the board of directors should determine the manager’s responsibilities in writing.  Furthermore, the contract with the management company should contain a strong indemnification/hold harmless provision and insurance requirements to protect the association. The management company should follow the instructions of the association’s Board of Directors, subject to the limitations in the contract.

“While a management company should work with the association’s board members to effectively and uniformly enforce the association’s governing documents, the management company does not have the unilateral authority to modify or amend the governing documents. Generally, governing documents, such as the association’s Declaration of Condominium and Bylaws, can only be amended by the approval of a certain percentage of unit owners (as specifically required in the governing documents, and if no procedure is contained in the governing documents, as provided for by applicable state statute).

“As far as monthly assessment fees, those are generally based on the association’s budget, which should be adopted by the association’s Board of Directors. As such, the management company would not have the authority to modify the Association’s budget. The manager can certainly suggest changes to be considered by the board members and if approved by the board, a revised budget needs to be voted upon and approved as required by applicable state statute.

“A management company is an important aspect of the daily operation of an association. Since management contracts sometimes provide for more than a one year term (with automatic renewal provisions) and liquidated damages in the event of early termination, we always recommend that an association consult with legal counsel before hiring a management company.
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December 03, 2016

Top Five Year-End Recommendations for Community Associations

Categories: Community Associations, Practice Focus - Admin @ 1:31 am

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – (December 2, 2016) – Serving on the board of directors of a community association, whether it is a condominium or homeowners association, entails specific responsibilities for directing management of the property and adhering to all applicable laws, rules, covenants and policies. As the end of the year approaches, the time is right for anyone serving as a board member to evaluate the association’s current standing, review bookkeeping records and plan ahead for the coming year. Jed Frankel, partner with Eisinger, Brown, Lewis, Frankel & Chaiet, P.A., offers his top five suggestions for recommended best practices community association directors would be wise to follow before year-end.

  1. Review all contracts and identify those that may be expiring in the new year. Carefully review all contracts with automatic renewal provisions.
  2. Review association constituent documents for consistency with new laws passed by the Florida Legislature and/or cases decided over the last 12 months.
  3. Ensure unit owner files and rosters are updated to account for new unit owners and for changes in address of existing unit owners.
  4. Review insurance policies to make sure they are up to date and in effect with all premiums paid.  Schedule meeting with insurance agent, if necessary.
  5. Schedule meetings with the association’s attorneys and accountants to review the prior year and make recommendations for the coming year.


Association officers and directors sometimes are unclear as to their roles, responsibilities and liabilities regarding the association’s governance.  If they have not already done so, now is the time to understand their responsibilities and make sure they are prepared to carry them out in the new year.  If necessary, they should consult with the association’s management, attorneys and/or accountants.

Jed Frankel is a partner with Eisinger, Brown, Lewis, Frankel & Chaiet, P.A. and focuses his practice on community association and dispute resolution. He can be reached at jfrankel@eisingerlaw.com or 954-894-8000. For more info visit eisingerlaw.com or facebook.com/EisingerLaw
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October 24, 2016

Condo Associations Want Pokémon Players to Go…Away!

Categories: E-Blasts, Practice Focus - Admin @ 2:18 pm

TOP REAL ESTATE LEGAL ISSUES:

WHAT’S TRENDING NOW

Condo Associations Want Pokémon Players to Go…Away!

poke


The Pokémon Go craze began this summer and became a global phenomenon overnight. The interactive game starts  once a player downloads the game’s app on a smartphone and sets off, either on foot or otherwise, to search for and attempt to capture the invisible and elusive digital cartoon creatures. For some condo associations it might seem as if Pokémon has invaded the planet as hordes of zombie­like players, who are glued to their smartphones, trespass on private property at all hours of the day.

Unsurprisingly, Pokémon Go has created vast legal issues worldwide which have resulted in multiple class-­action lawsuits being filed against the Pokémon Go developer, Niantic, Inc. The lawsuits are premised on two main legal arguments. First, Pokémon Go is placing Pokémon and related game activities on private property, inviting the game’s users to commit criminal trespass. Second, people who have been harmed in the act of trying to capture Pokémon, or another individual trying to capture Pokémon, are suing Niantic for negligence.

The primary legal question is whether Niantic, and other developers of augmented reality games, could be liable for criminal actions of private citizens for creating an incentive to trespass or negligently cause injury or damage to persons or property.

Niantic argues that any criminal acts or damage which result from playing Pokémon Go are caused solely by individuals and not by the game. Should alcohol distributors be liable for crimes committed by intoxicated individuals abusing the privilege to drink alcohol? Should car manufacturers be liable for car accidents caused by drivers who negligently operated their vehicles? Holding game  developers responsible for acts committed by individuals playing their games would potentially cause a slippery slope for all types of industries. On the other hand, augmented, virtual reality games are a fairly new concept and modern day laws and rules clearly have not addressed potential issues resulting from this new cyber world.

To date, there have been no legal rulings on any lawsuits against the creators of Pokémon Go. Nor are there any updated official guidelines for the gaming industry to follow when creating these cyber universes. Other countries have handled the issue more forcefully. For example, Iran has banned all of its citizens from playing Pokémon Go all together.

Many of our Law Firm’s Condominium clients have sought our legal counsel in handling the Pokémon Go craze. We have been advised that users are breaking into locked areas (ie. pools and clubhouses), loitering on condominium private property, and often creating noise nuisances and other violations at all hours.

Unfortunately, condominium associations, like other private property owners, should probably wait for the outcome of the already existing class­action lawsuits before deciding whether to initiate legal action against Niantic. However, the good news is Niantic seems to be removing certain Pokémon and related game activities from areas when enough requests are made.

Pokémon Go has been downloaded an estimated 500 million times worldwide. And with the unprecedented success of Pokémon Go, augmented reality games appear to be the future of gaming. If you have any questions in regard to this or any other topic concerning your community association, please do not hesitate to call and we will be happy to assist you.

poke 2
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