WSVN — Their homeowners association board was happy to sign a contract to provide every resident with internet, but many residents already had internet with another company or don't use a computer, so can their board force them to pay for a service they don't want? It's why we bring in Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
As we drove into the Grand Reserve, it's clear it's a nice neighborhood.
Mordechai Adika: "We live in a beautiful, beautiful community. This is by far the best tucked in community in Coral Springs."
We had come to talk to Mordechai Adika, who was once the President of the Associations Board and knows what a thankless job it can be.
Mordechai Adika: "I want to take this minute also to thank the Board of Directors for the work and the time and effort they put into running this community."
And then came the but…
Mordechai Adika: "But I think they need to stick to common areas only and leave homeowners, individual to decide for themselves of what services they choose."
Mordechai says he and other homeowners got a surprise when they were told they were all being forced to pay to use the same internet service.
Mordechai Adika: "The president of the board is bragging of how great this deal is. I don't question the integrity of the deal or the quality of the deal, my question is the legality behind this deal."
Mordechai says homeowners at the meeting told him the board did not even vote to approve the contract negotiated by the Association President and his other concern? He already has internet service from another company.
Patrick Fraser: "So basically you will be paying for two internet providers in this home?"
Mordechai Adika: "Correct."
Mordechai says at least he uses the internet. Many of his neighbors do not.
Mordechai Adika: I know a lot of people who don't even have computers, some elderly folks in the community."
Mordechai says enough is enough. That an association should not be allowed to force homeowners to use a service they don't want or already have.
Mordechai Adika: "I would like to see internet and cable television services to be up to an individual homeowner to decide what providers they would like to use."
Well Howard, can a board force its homeowners to pay for this internet service?
Howard Finkelstein: "Yes they can. The Florida legislature allows a board to enter into what is called a bulk contract for internet or cable, but a board member cannot negotiate and sign the deal on their own, the board has to approve it."
I spoke to the attorney for the Grand Reserve, who told me the board did vote to approve the internet contract. I spoke to another homeowner who told me she was at the meeting and the board definitely did not vote to approve the contract.
Then the minutes from the meeting that Mordechai were told did not exist, were given to Mordechai a month and a half later.
Regarding the internet it reads, "Per previous discussion with other board members, Mike moved to approve a one-year Advanced Cable agreement with 2nd by Don. Motion passed unanimously."
According to Howard, that means the internet contract is legal, but residents have a way out of it.
Howard Finkelstein: "Homeowners can cancel a bulk contract for internet or cable by calling a Special Association Meeting of the homeowners and if a majority of the people in attendance vote to cancel the internet contract, it will be canceled."
And that's exactly what Mordechai plans to do.
Mordechai Adika: "And hopefully things will be straighten out."
Patrick Fraser: "Now Mordechai had an interesting question; what if the homeowners vote to cancel the internet contract and the company says 'No, we have a deal.' Howard says they have to cancel because state law overrides the contract. So if your board does this to you, you have a way to override them."
An association with a problem bothering you? Wanna download a solution? Use the internet to go with us. We can't override a vote, but we can ride in and lay out the law for you.
With this Help Me Howard, I'm Patrick Fraser, 7News.
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