Q: I recall that a few years ago there was a lot of discussion regarding term limits for board members. I have not heard anything about term limits recently and know that a number of board members in my community have served for a long time. What is the term limit for condominium association board members? (S.F., via e-mail)
A: Chapter 718 of the Florida Statutes, the Florida Condominium Act, contains term limits for directors. The term limits contained in the statute have a somewhat confusing history. The statute was originally amended in 2017 to impose term limits defined of no more than four consecutive two-year terms, unless a “termed out” candidate received votes from more that of 2/3 of the voting interests of the association, or unless there were not enough eligible candidates to fill the vacancies on the board at the time the vacancy.
However, this change caused much confusion in how it was to be applied, particularly to associations that did not have 2-year board terms, and how it was to be applied to board service prior to the effective date of the new law.
To resolve this confusion, the Legislature amended the law again in 2018 to say that a board member may not serve more than eight consecutive years, unless elected by the affirmative at least 2/3 of all votes cast in the election, or unless there are not enough eligible candidates to fill all vacancies on the board at the time of the vacancy.
The Legislature additionally stated that only board service that occurs on or after July 1, 2018, may be used when calculating a board member’s term limit. Therefore, the 8 term limits will start to take effect in 2026. The bylaws of a condominium association may contain term limits stricter than those contained in the statute.
A “termed out” director will still be eligible to run for the board and can be seated to the board if they receive at least two-thirds of the vote cast in the election or if no election is required because there are less than or equal to the number of candidates running for the open seats.
Chapter 720 of the Florida Statutes, the Florida Homeowners’ Association Act, does not contain term limits.
Q: Does a condo board president have the right to send a legal letter (lawyer sent) to a unit owner without board approval? (B.W., via e-mail)
A: In my opinion, yes. The general rule of thumb is that the board of directors sets policies and makes decisions on behalf of the corporation. The officers and management implement those policies and decisions.
The obligation of owners to comply with the condominium documents is a policy of every association as this is universally required in documents. The law requires “notice and opportunity to cure” before legal action can be taken. In most cases, I see issuance of these notices as carrying out an existing policy.
To be sure, there are exceptions to the rule and common sense should rule the day. If there is disagreement or uncertainty about this process, a formal board resolution is desirable. In general, the filing of a lawsuit would require board approval. The levy of fines requires board approval by statute.
Q: Can the architectural committee of our HOA adopt a mandatory list of permitted colors for us to paint our houses? (A.B., via e-mail)
A: Section 720.3035 of the Florida Homeowners’ Association Act says that a declaration of covenants or guidelines published by an association may provide options concerning the use of materials.
Permissible color palettes in planned communities are not uncommon. However, the governing documents must contain a basis for their adoption. When permitted, whether these can be adopted by the architectural committee, the board of directors, or require an owner vote, will depend on how the documents for the community are written on that point.