By Aaron Swimmer, Esq.
February 17, 2010

One of the many duties of the association is to negotiate and execute contracts on the condominium’s behalf. In fact, Florida Statutes specifically give the association the power to enter into contracts for goods and service. It is this power/duty which, if not carefully scrutinized, can get an association into trouble. Contracts come in all shapes and sizes and so do the organizations which do business with the association. While most individuals and organizations doing business with condo associations are trustworthy and honest, there are some that prey on the systemic weaknesses of the smaller self-run associations.

Many small condominiums are managed by members of the association. These volunteer managers, while good intentioned, many times lack the experience, sophistication and certainly the time to scrutinize each contract and its fine print. There are those vendors out there who know of this weakness and prey upon it. This scenario plays out most commonly in vendors who provide reoccurring services, such as trash removal or coin operated laundry machines. These types of contracts are not sexy, so they tend not to attract the long hard look that all contracts deserve.

It is not uncommon for the Board to go through a careful and thorough bidding process for a service, only to find several months or even years down the road, that a poorly written contract does not protect the Association’s interests. Ensuing litigation can be disastrous with a poorly written contract. This is precisely why it is important to have an experienced lawyer review any Association contract; this review can help you and your association to avoid the pitfalls of unscrupulous contractors and poorly written contracts.

By ensuring that your association is protected through its attorney, your association will reduce the likelihood of unpleasant surprises in the event that disputes arise with contractors. I have written and reviewed countless contracts over the years and have a passion for protecting my clients against the pitfalls of unscrupulous contractors and one-sided contracts. Feel free to contact me to discuss your association’s special needs.