September 21, 2020

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RE Q&A: Can Pandemic Postpone Construction Contracts?

A apartment affiliation signed a contract, but entrepreneurs now have a pandemic-era fret about construction staff entering their unit. Could this be legally postponed?

STUART, Fla. – Problem: We are obviously concerned about COVID-19 and the affiliation is about to embark on a construction job that requires contractors to enter the unit. Several entrepreneurs are concerned about contractors coming in the unit, even with masks. Can we hold off the job? – P.R., Delray Beach front

Reply: There are two areas of this evaluation, the board’s obligation to preserve and mend the condominium and the construction contract alone.

Obviously, many associations are delicate to COVID-19 and utilizing many protocols to mitigate the risk of the virus entering the community. The initially difficulty, on the other hand, is no matter if the job can physically hold out. For the reason that the board has a obligation to preserve, mend and swap the widespread components, a condition where by all of the roofs are leaking each and every time it rains in July is diverse from a purely beauty job. The former might be vital to continue and the latter can obviously hold out.

The 2nd difficulty is no matter if the board has any capability to hold off the contract alone. If the contract has by now been signed and sent to the contractor, the affiliation might be in breach of the contract if it tells the contractors to hold out. On the other hand, the contractor might be dealing with staffing difficulties due to COVID-19 and might welcome the overall flexibility.

Further more, the contract might incorporate a provision which excuses performance due to power majeure occasions, these as hurricanes and labor strikes and might be drafted broadly to incorporate pandemics. If so, this might be an excuse by the affiliation or the contractor to start on time. With these provisions, the distinct language is quite vital and is diverse from contract to contract.

I would propose that you have the contract reviewed by a licensed Florida legal professional to determine your rights less than the contract, and then the board can determine the finest class of motion depending on no matter if the work is vital or non-vital.

Problem: Our condominium board just accepted developing pickleball courts following to the tennis courts. The price is roughly $30,000 but the board insists it can do this devoid of a member vote. We are upset mainly because the proposed place is presently a sitting down place with mature trees that we delight in. Can the board do this? – T.D., Stuart

Reply: The answer is, of class, it’s possible. If you ended up to assess this problem only less than the Condominium Act, the statute requires the membership to authorize any substance alterations to the widespread components. A substance alteration is broadly outlined as a palpable or perceptive alter in the use, physical appearance or operate of a widespread ingredient.

Below, the dirt is presently landscaped and has a sitting down place. If the pickleball courts are put in, this place would now be utilized for an workout place. This is a substance alteration and the statute would demand that at the very least 75% of the voting pursuits approve the alter to pickleball prior to the board has the authority to approve the alteration.

The wrinkle, on the other hand, is that the statute also delivers that your distinct condominium documents might supply for a diverse acceptance threshold, and might also supply that specific alterations are exempt from owner acceptance entirely. For example, many documents supply that substance alterations can be accepted with only a the vast majority of the voting pursuits existing and voting at a assembly. Likewise, many documents supply that only substance alterations exceeding a distinct greenback threshold demand acceptance.

Below, if your documents supply for one thing diverse than the statute (and many documents do supply one thing diverse) then the pickleball courtroom might be exempt from a vote if the documents permit the board to unilaterally approve alterations up to, for example, $50,000. Consequently, the recommendation is that you have your documents and the pickleball proposal reviewed by a licensed Florida legal professional to determine if a vote is expected. From the board’s standpoint, it’s also vital that the board affirm no matter if or not a vote is expected prior to you start construction.

Steven J. Adamczyk Esq., is a shareholder of the regulation agency Goede, Adamczyk, DeBoest & Cross, PLLC. The data delivered herein is for informational uses only and ought to not be construed as authorized assistance. The publication of this post does not create an legal professional-shopper romance among the reader and Goede, Adamczyk, DeBoest & Cross, or any of our attorneys. Visitors ought to not act or chorus from acting based mostly upon the data contained in this post devoid of initially speaking to an legal professional, if you have concerns about any of the difficulties elevated herein. The selecting of an legal professional is a conclusion that ought to not be based mostly only on commercials or this column.

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