Stevens & Goldwyn, P.A. Discuss Frequently Asked Association Questions

Stevens & Goldwyn, P.A. discuss commonly asked homeowner association questions in their recent blog post.

1. What items are considered official records of the association?

A copy of the plans, permits, and warranties provided by the developer; a photocopy of the recorded declaration and each amendment; a photocopy of the recorded bylaws; a certified copy of the articles of incorporation; a copy of the current rules of the association; minutes of all meetings for the past 7 years; a current roster of all unit owners and their mailing addresses; current insurance policies; current copy of any management agreements, leases or other contracts; bills of sale; accounting records; records of all receipts and expenditures; a current statement of account for each unit; all financial reporting statements; all contracts for work to be performed; ballots, sign-in sheets, and voting proxies up to one year; all rental records; a copy of the current question and answer sheet; and, all other records relating to the operation of the association.
Condominium: Section 718.111(12), F.S.
Cooperative: Section 719.104(2), F.S.

How does an association amend its bylaws?

The method used to amend the bylaws should be located within the bylaws of the association and should be consistent with the provisions of Chapter 718 or 719, Florida Statutes. If the bylaws fail to provide a method of amendment, the bylaws may be amended, if the amendment is approved by the owners of not less than two-thirds of the voting interests. The full text of the bylaws to be amended must be included with new words underlined and words to be deleted stricken through with hyphens. If the change is too extensive and would hinder, rather than assist, the understanding of the proposed amendment, it is not necessary to use underlining and hyphens as indicators of words added or deleted, but, instead, a notation must be inserted immediately preceding the proposed amendment in substantially the following language: "Substantial rewording of bylaw. See bylaw ___ for present text."
Condominium: Section 718.112(2)(h), F.S.
Cooperative: Section 719.106(1)(h), F.S

When does an amendment to the bylaws become effective?

Amendments to condominium bylaws become effective when they are recorded in the public records of the county where the declaration of condominium is recorded.
Condominium: Section 718.112(1)(b), F.S.
Cooperative: Not addressed in Chapter 719, F.S.

Can the unit owners stop the board from hiring a management company?

The bylaws or other association documents shall specify the powers and duties of officers and board members. One may review the documents to determine whether the unit owners or the board may approve hiring management. Chapters 718 and 719, Florida Statutes, do not require the association to hire a manager. However, the Florida Administrative Code, states that if a condominium board of directors chooses to employ a manager, it shall only employ a licensed community association manager where licensure is required by Section 468.431, Florida Statutes.
Condominium: Section 718.112(2)(a)1., F.S., and Rule 61B-23.001(4), F.A.C.
Cooperative: Section 719.106(1)(a)1., F.S.

Can an association self-manage or do they need to hire a manager?

Many associations choose to contract with an outside individual or managing entity. However, the Condominium Act does not require any condominium association to do so. The association may be self-managed if it so chooses. If an association decides to hire a manager to assist the board of directors, the manager may be required to be licensed as a Community Association Manager (CAM) under Part VIII, Chapter 468, Florida Statutes.
Condominium: Sections 718.111(3), and 468.431, F.S.
Cooperative: Not addressed in Chapter 719, F.S.

May the association pay a board member for his or her services as a board member?

Unless otherwise provided in the bylaws of the association, the members of the board shall serve without compensation. However, if compensated, a board member may require licensure as a community association manager pursuant to Chapter 468, Florida Statutes.
Condominium: Section 718.112(2)(a) 1., F.S.
Cooperative: Section 719.106(1)(a) 1., F.S.

Must the association pay for and insure its officers and directors?

A unit owner-controlled association may obtain liability insurance for its officers and directors. Further, the association shall obtain and maintain adequate insurance or fidelity bonding of all persons who control or disburse funds of the association and the president, secretary, and treasurer of the association. This insurance is a common expense of the association.
Condominium: Section 718.111(11)(a)&(d), F.S.
Cooperative: Sections 719.104(3), and 719.106(1)(k), F.S.

How would a condominium go about becoming an adult community (55 or older), and would all the residents under 55 years old have to move out?

A property must meet certain requirements of the Federal Fair Housing Act to be designated as an adult community. The Florida Commission on Human Relations administers the Federal Fair Housing Act in Florida. You may contact the Florida Commission on Human Relations at Post Office Box 3388, Tallahassee, Florida 32315-3388 or 850 488-7082 (ask for the housing area), or on the Internet at http://fchr.state.fl.us. For copies of the Federal Fair Housing Act, you may call 800-767-7468.
Condominium: Not addressed in Chapter 718, F.S.
Cooperative: Not addressed in Chapter 719, F.S.

Is mediation for any homeowners’ disputes still available through the Division?

No. The Legislature recently amended Section 720.311, Florida Statutes, which effectively ended the Division’s mandatory HOA mediation program and replaced it with a private mediation program. The new law, which took effect on July 1, 2007, now provides that parties to homeowners disputes may use private mediators to assist them in resolving their issues. Certified mediators may be selected by visiting the Supreme Court’s website at www.flcourts.org/gen_public/adr/index.shtml.

When is arbitration required?

Arbitration through the Division program is required for all recall and elections disputes, prior to filing a lawsuit.

About Stevens & Goldwyn: The homeowners' association attorneys at Stevens & Goldwyn, P.A. are experts in condominium law, contractual disputes, and HOA litigation. They specialize in representation for homeowners associations, assessment collection, foreclosures, civil litigation, and more. Stevens & Goldwyn, P.A. is located in Plantation, FL and provides services throughout Florida, including Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Palm Beach, Plantation, Pembroke Pines, Miami Beach, Pompano Beach, Hollywood, Aventura, and more.

Arrange a free, no-obligation consultation, where you can discuss your legal concerns with a partner of our firm. We look forward to answering your questions and seeing how we can meet your legal needs. Call us at 954-476-2680 or contact us online today.

Source: Stevens & Goldwyn, P.A.


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Tags: association law, condo bylaws, homeowners association, real estate law


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