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QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER

New Beginnings

I

am pleased and excited to announce the establishment of my Law Firm, The Ruggieri Law Firm, P.A., with offices in Orlando and Melbourne. In my 18 years of practice, 14 of which have been devoted to the representation of Community Associations, i have always derived the greatest satisfaction from the relationships I have developed with my clients. Indeed, it is why I love the practice of law. The Firm’s core philosophy is providing personalized attention to our clients. All clients and their Community Association Managers will have both a direct phone number to my office as well as my personal cell phone number. Clients will be kept apprised of all their legal matters, including collection matters, with easily understandable status reports personally prepared by me when the client needs them. Community Association Board members and their managers should have direct access to the Association’s attorney when they need answers. I am committed to personally handling all legal matters for the Firm’s Community Association clients which is the basis for the Firm’s Mission Statement: “Devoted to the personalized representation of Community Associations.” I look forward to a continuing prosperous business partnership moving forward and providing a level of service second to none.

Open House & Social November 20 5-7pm More info on page 3 →

Frank A. Ruggieri The Ruggieri Law Firm, P.A.


Is Cable Service a “Utility Service” for Purposes of Suspension of Use Rights? By Frank A. Ruggieri

S

uspension of use rights has been a part of

enjoying nightly repeats of Seinfeld at your expense should

both Chapters 718 and 720 for some time

rightly madden you.

now with several changes being made in

A recent Federal Appellate opinion in the context of a

recent years, such as suspension of use rights for “any

bankruptcy proceeding directly addressed this issue. While

monetary obligation” owed to the Association that is

the Court was specifically addressing utility service in the

more than ninety (90) days delinquent, as opposed

context of the Federal Bankruptcy Code, I believe their

to just assessments. Most recently, effective July 1,

reasoning is informative and relevant to the discussion.

2013, both Chapters 718 and 720 were changed to

The Bankruptcy Code prohibits suspension or disconnection

specifically prohibit suspension of utility services.

of “necessary utilities”. The Court focused on the word

I’ve long recommended to my Community

“necessary” in their discussion and ultimately concluded that

Association clients that they not consider doing

cable service is not a “necessity”.

so to avoid local media outlets from unloading a

While our State Statutes do not use the word

barrage of cameras and reporters in

“necessary”, I believe the same reasoning applies. I believe

the Community.

our Legislature sought to protect a homeowner’s basic

Unfortunately, the Legislature failed to specifically define “utility services” and whether cable service constitutes a utility. Communities that offer bulk cable as part of their amenities are anxious to turn off cable to owners who are not paying assessments and I certainly can’t blame them. Why should you pay for your neighbor’s cable service? The thought of a neighbor

necessities such as water and power, not their desire to watch Game of Thrones. With no clear dictate from our Legislature, I am personally of the opinion that cable service is not a “utility service” for purposes of suspension of use rights for Condominiums and Homeowners Associations in the State of Florida. As always, consult your Community’s counsel for a more detailed opinion regarding your particular situation.


The Ruggieri Law Firm P.A.

Open house & social

Join us as host the grand opening of The Ruggieri Law Firm P.A.! Drink, eat, and chat at the newly renovated Terrace 390 and take a short ride up the elevators to tour our new offices.

WHAT: The Ruggieri Law Firm, P.A. open house & SOCIAL WHEN: wednesday, november 20, 2013 5-7pm WHERE: terrace 390 390 N ORANGE AVE. ORLANDO, FLORIDA 32801 Please R.S.V.P. to marianatal@ruggierilawfirm.com on or before Tuesday, November 19, 2013. We look forward to seeing you there and to help us celebrate the grand opening of The Ruggieri Law Firm P.A.


“Devoted to the Personalized Representation of Community Associations”

ORLANDO OFFICE

MELBOURNE OFFICE

390 North Orange Avenue Suite 2300 Orlando, FL 32801

6767 N. Wickham Road Suite 401-5 Melbourne, FL 32940

P (407) 395-4766 F (407) 730-3584

P (321) 241-4770 F (321) 241-4771


Ruggieri Newsletter - November 2013