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Real estate Q&A: Can a board president thwart sale of your co-op?

Gary M. Singer, Sun Sentinel on

Published in Home and Consumer News

Q: I inherited a co-op in a 34-unit building. I am not happy with the conditions and want to sell. The board president, who owns a majority of the units and rents them like a hotel, told me that I have to sell to him for a ridiculously low price. I told him that I would list it for market value and he laughed and told me that the "board" would never approve any buyer other than him. Does he have me over a barrel? -- Bob

A: No, he does not, but you may have to fight for your rights. A board member of all types of community associations, including cooperatives, owes a fiduciary duty to the owners of the units. This means that while acting in his role as president, he must act for the benefit of the unit owners and community as a whole, not for his individual benefit. Breaking this trust can result in penalties and liability. Simply put, it is illegal and actionable for your board president to abuse his authority for his enrichment.

About The Writer

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 or follow him on Twitter @GarySingerLaw.

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