- 27 Feb
Miami Jury Issues Recommendations to Stop Condominium Board Misconduct
A Miami-Dade grand jury recently released recommendations to try and repair a system dealing with condominium board members engaging in a variety of activities. The jury states that the current governing body, in charge of policing and enforcing rules in regard to condo board members and managers of condominiums, does not have enough power or policing authority to properly deal with the situation. Condominium board members and managers allegedly engage in self-dealing, acts of withholding or destroying documents relating to properties, purposefully interfering in board member elections, and other violations of current statutes regarding condominium rental. Within the report, the grand jury stated that there were thousands of reports of misconduct brought to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, the organization responsible for investigating and prosecuting these kinds of incidents.
The grand jury proposed levelling criminal charges on specific individuals found to be engaging in these acts of misconduct. As of now, the regulatory body largely used fines and penalties against entire condo boards and organizations, instead of individuals. This system largely led to punishments against everyone on the board, as well as citizens who live in the rental properties and must pay membership dues.
As well, the jury proposed improvements to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation itself, saying the department was understaffed and unable to handle the volume of alleged misconduct. The department has jurisdiction over more than 1 million different businesses and groups across many different fields. The jury found that the vast amount of complaints led the department to delay court proceedings and, at times, accomplish nothing, leaving cases unresolved.
The grand jury recommended specific changes regarding the severity of engaging in the misconduct found in complaints. These recommendations included making tampering with board elections a crime, charging those who destroy records with a second-degree misdemeanor and raising the charge to first-degree for multiple violations, imposing fines on those who attempt to withhold records, and expanding the powers of board election monitors to dissuade misconduct. The jury issued these recommendations in the hope that increased power for the department would lead to less complaints and instances of misconduct that can clog up courts and cost renters additional fees.
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