When the air conditioner stopped cooling, Judy Garcia hired a contractor to locate the problem.
Turns out that it's a leaky conduit outside of her condominium. Still, the association insists it is not a common element, meaning the owner needs to pay for the $1,000 repair.
Garcia turned to her condo docs other wise known as the declaration. It is 35 pages of confusing verbiage and legalese.
The consumer's interpretation suggests the conduit is a common element as it runs through a common area between her unit and others. But an attorney for the association pointed to a paragraph on page 7 that states, "The portions of a unit to be maintained, repaired and replaced by the unit owner at his expense shall include ... air handling equipment for cooling and heating ..."
Attorney Shawn Brown specializes in condo association law. He suggests owners utilize a state statue that forces the association to provide legal reasoning that it's not the responsible party.
And there's another option, state sponsored mediation. But the lawyer says it's not an easy process for consumers to navigate.
To find out more about the state's arbitration program, visit http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/lsc/ARB/RequestforExpeditedDeterminationofJurisdiction.pdf