It amazes me that the issue still comes up, considering that South Florida has not experienced (thankfully) a hurricane in two years, but I still get calls stemming from confusion over who bears responsibility for insuring damaged or destroyed windows in a condo unit.
The answer is actually quite simple. Florida amended its condominium laws in 2003 to require that condo associations provide insurance to cover damage to unit windows. The relevant Florida statutes provide that, “Every hazard insurance policy issued or renewed on or after January 1, 2004, to protect the condominium shall provide primary coverage for . . . [a]ll portions of the condominium property located outside the units.” section 711.11(b)1, Fla. Stat. (2007). “Condominium property” is defined under the statute to exclude only,
“all floor, wall, and ceiling coverings, electrical fixtures, appliances, air conditioner or heating equipment, water heaters, water filters, built-in cabinets and countertops, and window treatments, including curtains, drapes, blinds, hardware, and similar window treatment components, or replacements of any of the foregoing which are located within the boundaries of a unit and serve only one unit and all air conditioning compressors that service only an individual unit, whether or not located within the unit boundaries.” section 711.11(b)3, Fla. Stat. (2007).
As such, condo associations are responsible for insuring unit windows. A helpful summary of the issue can be found here. Of course, if an association refuses to provide proper insurance, or refuses to release to individual unit owners proceeds from an insurance settlement intended to cover damaged windows, then the association and its directors are likely in breach of their fiduciary obligations under Florida law. This article does not constitute legal advice or the formation of an attorney-client relationship, and is not for re-publication without express permission of the author.
Mr. Beck has a law degree from Harvard Law School, and practices law in the courts of South Florida. A significant portion of his practice is devoted to condominium association issues. He can be reached at 305-789-0072 or firstname.lastname@example.org