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Amanda K. Barritt concentrates her practice in real estate law and, more specifically, in the areas of residential and commercial community associations, real estate transactions, easements, contract preparation, and real estate development.  She represents residential and commercial condominium, homeowners’ and property owners’ associations, non-profit social and recreational clubs, developers, builders and individuals.  Amanda also contributes articles on these topics on the firm’s blog, The Legal Scoop on Southwest Florida Real Estate.

While in law school, Amanda worked as a law clerk in Florida’s Division of Land Sales, Condominiums and Mobile Homes and served as administrative editor on the Florida State University Law Review. She also co-founded Survival with the Arts, a law student organization to promote law student involvement with fine arts and literature.

In 2010, Amanda was recognized by Florida Super Lawyers® magazine as a “Rising Star” in the field of real estate law.  While only 5% of lawyers in the entire State are named to Florida Super Lawyers®, no more than 2.5% are named to the Rising Stars list. She is AV rated by Martindale Hubbell. This rating signifies that Amanda’s reviewed peers rank her at the highest level of professional excellence for their legal knowledge, communication skills and ethical standards.

120px-FlaSupremeCrtBldgFeb08.JPGIn Maronda Homes, Inc. of Florida, et al, v. Lakeview Reserve Homeowners Association, Inc., the Supreme Court of Florida will soon determine whether common law implied warranties extend to the construction of common areas and facilities of a residential subdivision.

The Facts
After the turnover of control by the developer, Maronda Homes, the Lakeview Reserve community experienced drainage problems. Upon hiring an engineer to conduct an inspection, the Lakeview Reserve Association determined defects exist as to the paved streets, retention ponds, underground drainage pipes and grading of the site and lots. As a result of such defects, multiple lot owners allegedly experienced stagnant water, sinkholes, loss of grass, and erosion on their lots. 

The Association filed a complaint against Maronda Homes for breach of implied warranties of fitness for a particular purpose, merchantability, and habitability arising out of the alleged defective construction of the common area improvements. The Association claimed that the developer failed to construct the common areas properly to support a residential subdivision and the homes within it. The trial awarded a summary judgment to the developer. 

Continue Reading Florida Supreme Court to Hear Developer and HOA Battle Over Common Area Warranties

Fort Myers Condominiums.JPGIn 2010, the chapters of the Florida Statutes governing condominiums and homeowners associations were amended with the intention of providing community associations significantly more “teeth” to enforce collection of assessments from delinquent owners. Unfortunately, the new provisions contained several glitches which resulted in confusion for associations, owners, and community association practitioners. House Bill 1195 became effective July 1, 2011, with intent to remove such glitches and clarify provisions passed in 2010.

Prior to 2010, a homeowners’ association was permitted under Chapter 720 of the Florida Statutes to suspend an owners’ right to use common areas and facilities for the violation of provisions of the association’s governing documents. The statue did not provide such a remedy for past due assessments. One of the glitches of the 2010 legislation unintentionally resulted in the removal of the ability of a homeowners’ association to suspend an owner’s rights to use common areas and facilities for violations of the governing documents. However, the right to suspend common area use rights was added as a potential remedy for nonpayment of monetary obligations owed to the Association which are more than 90 days delinquent.

For condominium associations, prior to the 2010 legislation, suspension of common element use rights was not provided as a remedy in the statutes at all. The 2010 legislation provided for suspension of common elements and facilities as a potential remedy only for 90 day delinquencies, not for other violations of the governing documents. However, the statutory provisions providing for the hearing procedures required for suspending use rights, did reference the availability of common element use suspension as a remedy for other violations. These procedural provisions raised questions as to whether the right to suspend use of common elements and facilities was available for violations other than monetary delinquencies.

Homeowners’ Associations Right to Suspend

With the passing of House Bill 1195, a homeowners’ association may suspend the right of a member, or the member’s tenant, guest, or invitee, to use common areas and facilities both for failure to comply with any provision of the governing documents and for nonpayment of

Continue Reading Community Association Ability to Suspend Use and Voting Rights Clarified

I came across an article by Lora Shinn entitled “5 Buyer Mistakes in a Short Sale.” Number 3 on Shinn’s list is “ignoring legal and insurance information.” Although I agree with the author’s list, the list focuses more on the physical attributes of a short sale property than legal issues (specifically title issues) that are often overlooked until they become a problem — either just before closing when such problems can cause further delay, or worse yet, after closing when they can become a legal and financial nightmare. I would like to expand on the buyer’s mistake of “ignoring legal information” while being blinded by the seemingly “good deal” they are getting.

Continue Reading Short Sales and Judgment Liens: Unforeseen Issues