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Subject: Revitalization lawyer fees
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Author Messages
AnaD
(Florida)

Posts:21


09/16/2020 6:50 AM  
Approximately how much should it cost to pay an attorney to revitalize the covenants which had expired due to MRTA? We plan on pushing through the original docs, even though they are quite archaic, to keep the process as simple and the fees as low as possible. Thank you.
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:370


09/16/2020 6:57 AM  
If they are really old I think you're making a mistake not updating them. These are legal documents and need to be reliable and written to current standards to avoid potential law suites.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3460


09/16/2020 7:53 AM  
That depends on how extensive the changes you want to make. You may want to use the original CCRs because that's cheaoer, but you should really be asking if those covenants are even workable, depending on how old your community is. You may need to delete all references to the developer and tweak some sections that are more in line with today's state, federal and local law.

There may even be some areas that need to be tossed altogether because they're illegal, such as those that exclude certain groups of people as buyers. You know what I'm talking about, and if you don't (or don't want to face facts), your attorney can spell that out for you.

So don't be cheap. Do your due diligence and talk to several attorneys about their rates and experience in drafting amendments and ensuring the documents are updated properly, because you want these to stand up in court and that homeowners can understand what they're reading. You can ask the local bar association for referrals and when you talk to the attorneys, be sure to ask for references and check them. Have fun!
AugustinD


Posts:3900


09/16/2020 9:57 AM  
AnaD, as you may know, revitalization has a specific, extensive, legal meaning in Florida unlike nearly all other states in the United States. Florida HOA attorneys will know your meaning. Call around and see what the attorneys estimate the cost to be.
AnaD
(Florida)

Posts:21


09/16/2020 12:37 PM  
One board member has received the following estimates...
Rob Manning-$295 for one house consultation/review to determine if preservation or revitalization is needed
Chris Martin-$225 hour, approx 4-5 hours for revitalization (approx $1125) as long as board members assist with copying and mailing of documents
Volk-$150 just for a consultation
I suggested an attorney who my coworker recommended and was told by one board member he was very expensive and since all we are doing is having the attorney file forms and paperwork, would be unnecessary.
Our townhomes were built in 1978 and I believe the docs are dated 1976. They are very old and could use updating but the other board members don't want to spend the money.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3460


09/16/2020 2:37 PM  
First of all, the posting rules on this website don't allow people to use actual names of communities or vendors, so please act accordingly. Hopefully this doesn't get seen by someone in your community who then tells the attorneys. That may end any chance you might have had of working with them.

You didn't say how much is too much for your colleagues, but I would remind all of you times and expenses have gone up considerably since 1978 and Since your talking about updating your documents, that's too important to do it half-assed just to save money. Remember, you get what you pay for and if this isn't done right the first time, you may wind up spending more money to fix it.

Once again, I say, don't be cheap. This doesn't mean you must pay through the nose. Perhaps getting the consult for $150 would be worth it in determining what you want to do vs. doing what you MUST. Maybe you should leave the CCRs as is for now and get what you need to be compliant with the state, then plan on doing more detailed work on the CCRs in the future
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3460


09/16/2020 2:39 PM  
First of all, the posting rules on this website don't allow people to use actual names of communities or vendors, so please act accordingly. Hopefully this doesn't get seen by someone in your community who then tells the attorneys. That may end any chance you might have had of working with them.

You didn't say how much is too much for your colleagues, but I would remind all of you times and expenses have gone up considerably since 1978 and Since your talking about updating your documents, that's too important to do it half-assed just to save money. Remember, you get what you pay for and if this isn't done right the first time, you may wind up spending more money to fix it.

Once again, I say, don't be cheap. This doesn't mean you must pay through the nose. Perhaps getting the consult for $150 would be worth it in determining what you want to do vs. doing what you MUST. Maybe you should leave the CCRs as is for now and get what you need to be compliant with the state, then plan on doing more detailed work on the CCRs in the future
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:4065


09/16/2020 3:24 PM  
A revitalization is much more complicated than preserving your documents before MRTA takes effect.

You should carefully review Chapter 720 of the Florida Stautes and pay particular attention to paragraphs 720.403, 720.404, 720.405. 720.406, and 720.407. Those paragraphs spell out exactly what you have to do.

You'll need an "organizing committee" composed of at least 3 members of the association. These people do NOT have to be Directors on the board. I'd be wary of directors who want to do this on the cheap. Your association, if properties have had their covenants and deed restrictions extinguished by MRTA, likely has forfeited its right to collect assessments from those homeowners. I can't stress enough that you do not want to go cheap on this. It shouldn't cost an arm and a leg, but it may cost several hundred - if not thousand - dollars to do. There's a lot of mailings that need to be done and the cost of re-recording the propsed revitalized documents with your county.

There are technical requirements regarding what may and may not be in the new Declaration. I'd certainly want an attorney to be involved with those.

Also, please be aware that the state's Department of Economic Opportunity, which ultimately approves or rejects a revitalization plan, isn't very thorough. A couple of years ago a poster here shared his ordeal that culminated in the DEO approval of a revitaliztion that was thoroughly at odds with the statute. The DEO didn't closely review the revitalization documents and requirements, and he was stuck in a revitalized HOA that his home was never a part of in the first place.

This isn't a casual thing. Resist anyone on the board who wants to downplay this in an effort to save money.
AnaD
(Florida)

Posts:21


09/16/2020 4:42 PM  
I agree that $150 for a consultation sounds like a great place to start. I will reach out to a few non board members who may be willing to be apart of an organizing committee. But as a ball park do you think ~$2000 would be a reasonable amount to spend? A range would be appreciated or is it too difficult to say?
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3460


09/17/2020 9:37 AM  
It's too difficult to say because the cost varies by community. Get the consult and pay attention to Geno's advice. Good luck!
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3460


09/17/2020 9:42 AM  
It's too difficult to say because the cost varies by community. Get the consult and pay attention to Geno's advice. Good luck!
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:3113


09/18/2020 6:27 AM  
Ah, MRTA.

Well, first I would have to assess how aligned the community is wrt to revitalization. You don't say how many houses? Is there anyone against revitalization?

Are you certain you are already past 30 years from the date of the "root of title?"

There is at least one odd circumstance that relates to HOW the plat was drawn up and WHAT language was used - this is rare, but according to our attorney, there are some circumstances where revitalization is not necessary.

Next, I would assess whether or not those for/against revitalization would be for/against modifications to the CCRs ... sometimes one issue has a far different support group.

If a relatively large HOA with some groups not wanting to revitalize, I would expect several thousand dollars of attorney fees.
AnaD
(Florida)

Posts:21


09/18/2020 7:01 AM  
It is a small HOA with 24 townhomes. Every homeowner I have spoken to has been on board with revitalization but I have been telling them we plan on keeping the documents the same for ease and cost.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:3113


09/18/2020 7:06 AM  
Should be pretty easy, then.

Me? I would find an HOA attorney who has completed several of these, make sure they know everyone supports - and follow the procedures in FS712 and FS720.

I would not change the CCRs, unless it was an absolute serious end of the world problem - do it quickly and keep it simple to avoid pushback, argument, etc.

Later, address the CCRs, if needed.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:4065


09/18/2020 2:29 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 09/18/2020 6:27 AM
There is at least one odd circumstance that relates to HOW the plat was drawn up and WHAT language was used - this is rare, but according to our attorney, there are some circumstances where revitalization is not necessary.

My HOA is like that. It didn't stop an ignorant board from hiring an attorney to process our preservation filings a few years back. The attorney was clueless as well. He came back to us again last year offering his services to do the exact same work that he did a few years ago.

Many, many people - including a lot of lawyers - don't really understand MRTA in Florida.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9877


09/19/2020 9:02 AM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 09/18/2020 7:06 AM
Should be pretty easy, then.

Me? I would find an HOA attorney who has completed several of these, make sure they know everyone supports - and follow the procedures in FS712 and FS720.

I would not change the CCRs, unless it was an absolute serious end of the world problem - do it quickly and keep it simple to avoid pushback, argument, etc.

Later, address the CCRs, if needed.



Sound advice. Heed it.
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