Responsibilities of the Association
Over the last few decades, condominium and homeowner associations have become quite numerous in Florida, particularly in South Florida. One need only look around at the many gated communities and condo communities that seem to have popped up all around South Florida. And while many people live in communities of this type, it is likely a small fraction who have any idea what sort of responsibilities go along with running a condo or homeowners association.
Just about anyone who is familiar with the operation of a condominium or homeowners association will likely tell you that running an association is a lot like running a business and a mini-government all at the same time. The Association, like any corporation, is governed by a set of documents; this includes the Articles of Incorporation, the By-Laws, and the Declaration.
Florida HOA Statutes
Associations are also governed by Florida Statutes. Documents of this type are generally fairly complex, and it is recommended that association boards consult with an attorney who is experienced in the practice of condominium and homeowners association law before trying to draft, amend, or interpret any such documents.
Generally speaking, under the Florida Condominium Act, the Association “governs the condominium.” That sounds exceedingly broad – and it is – but that is because the range of responsibilities of condo and homeowner associations is so extensive. The Association is responsible for everyday tasks such as making sure common areas are maintained in good order.
They are responsible for collecting assessments and fees, which often go toward the maintenance of said common elements. That goes along with the Associations right (in condominiums) to access each unit for the purpose of maintenance and repair. The Association is responsible for not-so-everyday tasks as well, such as foreclosing on units owning money, entering into contracts on behalf of the Association, suing as well as being sued on behalf of the Association (personal liability of directors is discussed in another blog) and even certain emergency powers in the event of hurricanes or other emergency circumstances. It should be noted however that the bylaws and declaration of an association can modify many of these responsibilities.
Florida HOA Powers
While the Association itself has many powers and responsibilities, some of the most important things are out of their control. For instance, voting on new board members is a power that is in the hands of unit owners. Similarly, passing an amendment to the association documents is usually done by some “super majority” of the unit owners, and any attempt to amend those documents without a membership vote would be invalid. Still, while the Association may not be all-powerful, it is safe to say they have their hands full with all of these other responsibilities.