In Southern Walls, the Fifth District considered whether a cooperative
apartment should be treated as homestead for the purpose of exemption from
forced sale. 810 So. 2d at 568. Writing after this Court wrote in Wartels, and also
after the effective date of the Cooperative Act, Chapter 719, Florida Statutes, the
Southern Walls court quoted numerous sections of the Cooperative Act
culminating "with the stated purpose of the Act, which 'is to give statutory
recognition to the cooperative form of ownership of real property.'" Id. at 571, 572
(emphasis by court, citing § 719.102, Fla. Stat.) This sentence led the court "to
conclude that an owner of a co-op may qualify as an 'owner' of a 'residence' under
article X, Section 4(a)(1) of the Florida Constitution." Id. at 572.
It is appropriate for this Court to accept jurisdiction to resolve this conflict.
The lower court in this case, and presumably other cases, have continued to apply
the result in Wartels notwithstanding the changes wrought by the Cooperative Act
in the nature of the interest hat a cooperative unit owner owns. The result is
uncertainty, instability and inconsistency. Owners of cooperative apartments in
Florida should not be required to speculate about the nature of what it is that they
The petitioners note that the Florida Condominium Act, Chapter 718,
Florida Statutes, permits a condominium to be declared on property that is merely
leased, and not owned in fee simple. § 718.104(1); § 718.401. If this Court's
5 RUDEN, McCLOSKY, SMITH, SCHUSTER & RUSSELL, P.A.