Sunday, November 18, 2012

How much do you really want to know about what is going on in the condo unit or home next door?

The City of Miami Beach has once again become a mecca of sorts for the film industry. Apparently, the city has provided a very welcoming environment in terms of the permitting process and the weather usually cooperates even when the neighbors don't. More and more films and TV programs are being filmed in Florida, particularly South Florida.

Ironman III, Magic City, Burn Notice and The Real Housewives of Miami were all shot in Miami Beach properties. Other Florida cities have similarly been the stage for both big and small screen entertainment. Ask some of the neighbors living next to these pseudo movie studios masquerading as single family residences and you might find that they are not entertained at all.

Many of the residences being used are outside the confines of a mandatory community association but others are not. Recently one of the partners at my Firm was asked what could be done when it was discovered that "adult enterntainment" was being filmed in one of the investor-owned penthouses that was currently in foreclosure. That scenario provided a double whammy of the filming schedule bothering some of the neighbors and the type of filming bothering others.

Many of the homes in my HOA have a distinctly northern look which makes them particularly appealing since we do not have the northern climate to match. Several of them have been used over the years for catalogue shoots and TV commercials. I never perceived it as having been much of a hassle but then again, they weren't right next door to me. Our association did create protocol for homeowners wishing to rent out their homes for a commercial shoot which included a deposit for the common areas, an indemnification should anyone or anything be injured, and required hours for entry and departure to minimize the community's inconvenience.

At what point does the use of a condominium/cooperative unit or a home for a commercial shoot become a business? One shoot a year certainly doesn't turn the use from residential to commercial but what about 13 shoots a year or something in between? As long as the inventory of abandoned homes and money-strapped owners remains, we are likely to see more creative uses of real property in Florida and elsewhere. Sometimes this use will be open and obvious; others will not be known until you see the trailer!

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