Association Statutes and Voting
It has been said before that the operation of a Condominium or Homeowners Association is a lot like that of a small government. That concept rings the most true in the context of association meetings and voting. Holding membership and board meetings is the main process by which association business is conducted, and it is through voting that the will of the unit owners is heard. A poorly run meeting or election can create a mess of things very quickly. Improper ballots, insufficient notice, and even failing to put things on the agenda can all lead to an election or a vote on a matter being invalidated or decisions being subject to challenge. Fortunately, Florida’s Condominium and Homeowners Association Statutes have a lot to say on the subject of meetings, voting and elections, not to mention that the Association
Documents will almost always address the process of holding meetings, voting and elections (more details on the election process in a future blog). As an aside, reading and interpreting all of these rule pertaining to the operation of associations can be a daunting task, and it is recommended that any condo or homeowners association board consult with an attorney who routinely handles work with condo and homeowners associations before embarking on the process of holding elections, votes, or meetings.
Florida Condominium Association Law
Voting in a Condo or Homeowners Association is a very democratic process, where decisions are largely made by majority rule, except where perhaps a greater than majority vote is required, such as with the amending of association documents. Typically, such votes are done at the annual meeting, which is probably the most important meeting for any association. This is the meeting in which ballots for election of board members are collected and counted up, directors give reports as to the state of affairs in the association, amendments to the association documents are approved, and many other matters of business are handled. Under Florida Condominium association law, the specific date, time, and place of this meeting should be set out in the association documents. Associations must also make sure to provide proper notice to unit owners and that a quorum of the voting interests are present, guidelines of which are set out in Florida Statutes (more on that in a later blog). Without proper notice or a sufficient percentage of the voting interest to constitute a quorum, any votes conducted would likely be invalidated.
Association Board Meetings
In addition to the annual meeting, there are also Board meetings. Board meetings are held among the elected members of the board, where corporate operations of the association are conducted. As with the annual meeting, board meetings have notice and quorum requirements under Florida law. Association members are allowed to attend and observe these meetings, and as such proper notice is required.
Quorum for these meetings only refers to a majority of the board however, not the membership. It is also important to remember that the matters that can be discussed at these meetings is limited to the items contained in the notice or agenda. There are also what are known as special meetings, but that is a complex subject deserving of its own blog post.
Florida Condo and Homeowners Association Attorney
With meetings and voting playing such a significant role in the operation of Condo and Homeowner Associations, it is important for those in charge to understand the requirements and intricacies involved in these processes and what can result if proper care is not taken. For instance, under Florida condominium and homeowners association law, failing to meet notice or quorum requirements could invalidate all votes or decisions made at a meeting. In this regard, as mentioned previously, it is important to have an experienced Florida condo and homeowners’ association attorney to consult with on such matters.