The Florida Supreme Court recently considered in Granada Lakes Villas Condominium Ass'n, Inc. v. Metro-Dade Investments Co., 38 Fla. L. Weekly S777 (Fla. 2013), the question of what circumstances permit a Florida court to appoint a receiver for a condominium association. In that case, the lower court had determined that a receivership would indeed be helpful to the court, but concluded that it had no power under Chapter 718 (governing condominiums) to appoint a receiver. The lower court found that Chapter 718 enumerated certain instances when the court may appoint a receiver, including failure of the association to elect enough directors to establish a quorum, failure of the association to act after a natural disaster, and the need to liquidate the association. The lower court reasoned that because the statute itemized only these few grounds for appointment of a receiver, the court could not appoint a receiver unless one of these grounds was applicable.

However, the Appellate Court reversed, and the Supreme Court agreed with the Appellate Court that the fact that the statutes list certain grounds for the appointment of a receiver does not mean that appointment of a receiver is unavailable unless one of those grounds is applicable. The Supreme Court noted that the receivership remedy is available in equity even without statutory authority, and that the principles of equity would authorize the court to appoint a receiver under a broader range of circumstances than those specified by the statutes. The Supreme Court also stated that the statutory grounds for the appointment of a receiver were intended to expand the power of the court to appoint a receiver in the case of a condominium association—not to restrict the power of the court. The Court therefore concluded that the lower court did have the power to appoint a receiver, even though the statutory grounds for the appointment of a receiver were absent.

The case is helpful not only in the context of condominium association litigation, but in many other instances where receivers might be appointed.  Receivers can be useful when there is a need to compel an entity to do something other than mere payment of a monetary obligation. For example, it may be necessary to compel the entity to run a business, finish construction on a property, or make repairs. If the entity will not cooperate or is unable to perform, then it may be possible to obtain appointment of a receiver to accomplish those tasks.  By emphasizing the broad availability of the remedy in equity, the Granada Villas case will make it easier to obtain appointment of a receiver.

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