What to do when application of the rules becomes an impediment?

Q: My tenant is not allowing me in his unit to perform maintenance even after I gave plenty of notice. What should I do? – Rita

Q: My condo board is not approving my buyer because they do not allow emotional support animals. What should I do? – Sam

Q: Our community has an owner who will not stop running a business out of his apartment, which is against the rules. What should we do? — Selma

A: Each week, many readers send me questions such as these describing situations where the rules are clear, but not being followed. These letters are written in frustration after a failed attempt to work things out. Trying to talk through the issue is an essential first step, but there are times when it does not work. Sometimes this is because the other person has a differing view about their rights, while other times it is because they think they are above the rules. Either way, the next step is the same. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to work things out, you will need to file a lawsuit to solve the issue.

A lawsuit is a fact- and document-intensive process, so make sure always to keep copies, pictures and notes about any dispute at the time it is happening. Later, when all else fails, you will have the materials necessary to prevail. It would be best if you had realistic expectations about what litigation can and cannot accomplish. Lawsuits are time-consuming and expensive, and you should not start a journey you are not prepared to complete. Running out of resources and motivation halfway through litigation can be worse than not filing the suit to being with.

Finally, it is called an attorney-client relationship for a reason. After finding an attorney with the right experience, make sure that there is a connection, and your prospective attorney gets where you are coming from and understands your goals. If you are told that your issue will be resolved quickly or cheaply, you should get a second opinion. Filing a lawsuit should be viewed as a last resort, but one that is sometimes the only way to fix the problem.



Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He practices real estate, business litigation and contract law from his office in Sunrise, Fla. He is the chairman of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is a co-host of the weekly radio show Legal News and Review. He frequently consults on general real estate matters and trends in Florida with various companies across the nation. Send him questions online at www.sunsentinel.com/askpro or follow him on Twitter @GarySingerLaw.


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