Condominium’s Declaration is a Contract
A condominium’s declaration is a contract. As a unit owner, it serves as your contract and will govern your rights with your condominium association. Just like any contract, disputes arise between a unit owner and the association regarding the interpretation of the declaration. And, no different than any contract, the interpretation of a declaration is reviewed under a de novo standard of appellate review. See Lenzi v. The Regency Tower Ass’n, 43 Fla.L.Weekly D1397a (Fla. 4th DCA 2018).
Lenzi serves as an example of a dispute involving a condominium unit owner and his association regarding the interpretation of a provision in the condominium’s declaration. In this case, the unit owner wanted the court to interpret a word used in the declaration restrictively, which the trial court rejected and the appellate court affirmed.
When it comes to terms in a declaration (or any contract), terms are to be given their plain and ordinary meaning such that terms are construed in their ordinary sense. See Lenzi, supra. Unless a specific word is a defined term in the declaration (or contract), words are to be construed by their generally understood definition. Id.
If you are in a dispute with your condominium association regarding a provision or the interpretation of your declaration, make sure to consult with counsel to make sure your interpretation or basis of your dispute is colorable.
Please contact David Adelstein at firstname.lastname@example.org or (954) 361-4720 if you have questions or would like more information regarding this article. You can follow David Adelstein on Twitter @DavidAdelstein1.