Q: Can a spouse of a unit owner, who is not a co-owner of the condominium unit, serve on the board of directors for a condominium association (P.H., via e-mail)?
A: It depends on the provisions of your condominium documents. Section 718.112 of the Florida Condominium Act defines the term “candidate” as an “eligible person” who timely submits a written notice of his or her intention to become a candidate for the board of directors.
A unit owner or “other eligible person” desiring to be a candidate for the board must give written notice of his or her intent to be a candidate to the condominium association at least 40 days before a scheduled election. Your condominium documents may further define who is eligible to serve on the board of directors.
Common examples include eligibility being limited to just members (i.e., record unit owners), being open to a unit owner or his or her spouse, even if the spouse is not listed on the deed, or being open to members or tenants of a condominium unit. In the absence of an eligibility limitation in the documents, any natural person 18 years of age or older is entitled to run for and, if elected, be seated on the board.
The same rules apply for cooperatives and homeowners’ associations.
Q: My condominium association is in the process of adopting a special assessment to fund a number of construction projects, including the installation of new windows, replacement of elevators, and other major items. The question I have, is the board of directors required to get 3 bids for this type of work, and are they required to show those bids to the owners? (T.P., via e-mail)
A: Section 718.3026(1) of the Florida Condominium Act, provides, in relevant part, that “[i]f a contract for the purchase, lease, or renting of materials or equipment, or for the provision of services, requires payment by the association on behalf of any condominium operated by the association in the aggregate that exceeds 5 percent of the total annual budget of the association, including reserves, the association shall obtain competitive bids for the materials, equipment, or services. Nothing contained herein shall be construed to require the association to accept the lowest bid.”
Therefore, if any of the contracts related to the construction projects you have described have a value that exceeds 5% of the total annual budget for the association, the association is required to get competitive bids. The statute does not require that the association obtain 3 bids, rather, 2 bids would be sufficient. Further, as noted in the quoted section of the statute, the association is not required to accept the lowest bid.
While the association does not have an affirmative obligation to provide the bids to the unit owners, the bids are official records of the association. Pursuant to Section 718.111(12)(a) of the Florida Condominium Act, contracts for work to be performed at the association are official records of the association, which must be maintained by the association. Further, bids for work to be performed are also considered official records and must be kept by the association for at least 1 year after receiving the bid.
Therefore, the bids must be made available to a unit owner who makes a request to inspect and copy the official records of the association.
Chapter 720, Florida Statutes, the Florida Homeowners’ Association Act, contains similar provisions regarding the requirement to obtain bids. However, for homeowners’ associations, the bids are only required when the value of the contract exceeds at least 10% of the budget for the association.