Q: For our condominium association’s upcoming election, the blank candidate information sheet provided by the management company has a signature and date line at the bottom. Is it required that candidates running for the board of directors to sign the candidate information sheet form after what they have written about themselves? (S.G., via e-mail)
A: In my opinion, no. Section 718.112(2)(d)4.a of the Florida Condominium Act states that a unit owner who submits a written notice stating an intent to be a candidate for the board at least forty days prior to the election may also submit a one page, letter-sized candidate information sheet to the association. The candidate information sheet must be received by the association at least thirty five days prior to the election. The association must include a copy of the candidate information sheet, if timely submitted by a candidate, with the second notice package for the election. Candidates are not required to submit an information sheet in order to qualify as a candidate for election to the board.
The association is not liable for the contents of the information sheets prepared by the candidates. Further, the association is not permitted to edit, alter, or otherwise modify the content of the information sheet. I interpret these regulations to mean that the candidate can compose the information sheet as they choose and cannot be required to sign it.
Q: Does a homeowners’ association have to post their meeting minutes? If so, what is the time frame that they need to observe to post them? If not, is it up to the homeowner to request a copy of all minutes? (U.N., via e-mail)
A: Chapter 720 of the Florida Statutes, the Florida Homeowners’ Association Act, provides that the minutes of all meetings of an association must be maintained in written form or in another form that can be converted into written form within a reasonable time. Minutes are “official records” of the association, available for inspection by owners, and must be retained for at least 7 years (though I recommend keeping minutes perpetually, which is required for condominium associations).
The law does not contain a requirement to send minutes to owners or “post” them in any form, such as on a website. An owner can submit a written request to the association for the inspection of official records, including minutes.
Although not required by law, many associations post their meeting minutes on their website, and it seems like a good idea to do so. However, there is no legal requirement for the posting or transmittal of meeting minutes.
Q: My condominium association recently hired an engineer to review my porch enclosure (which had been approved by the board) because water is leaking in. Are they required to provide that report to me (they won’t)? (R.N., via e-mail)
A: It depends. While the engineering report would be considered as an official record, and thus subject to inspection by owners, the Florida Condominium Act sets forth several categories of records that are not accessible to members. Excluded records include those protected by either the attorney-client privilege, or the “work-product” privilege. The work-product privilege includes those records that are prepared at the direction of the association’s attorney in anticipation of adversarial proceedings.
The engineering report you seek may not be subject to inspection if your association is currently preparing for, or involved in, litigation concerning or relating to your unit. Members may access official records protected under the work-product privilege once the litigation involving the record has concluded.