Q: My condominium association’s board is comprised of 8 board members, with directors serving 2-year terms. At the 2018 Annual Meeting there were four persons who submitted their notice of intent to run for the board, including a husband and wife who jointly own one unit. Since there was no election these four persons became members of the board (including the married couple). The 2019 Annual Meeting is coming up soon and five persons have submitted their notice of intent to run for the Board, so there will be an election. Does the 2019 election have any impact on the married couple who were elected to a 2-year term in 2018? Does this married couple continue to serve out the remaining year on their 2-year term or does one of them get kicked off the Board after the 2019 Annual Meeting? K.H.
A: No. The 2019 election does not have any impact on any of the directors elected to a 2-year term at the 2018 Annual Meeting. The married couple serving on the Board (I am assuming they are both named as unit owners on the deed) will continue to serve out the remaining year of their 2-year term.
Section 718.112(1)(d)2 of the Florida Condominium Act states that in a residential condominium association of more than 10 units, or in a residential condominium association that does not include timeshare units or timeshare interests, co-owners of a unit may not serve as members of the board of directors at the same time unless they own more than one unit or unless there are not enough eligible candidates to fill the vacancies on the board at the time of the vacancy. Applying this statute to your question the married couple was properly seated on the board because there were not enough eligible candidates to fill the vacancies at the 2018 Annual Meeting.
Q: My condominium community is governed by a 5-person Board. There is also a 3-person Violation Committee appointed by the Board, which I used to serve on. The President of our association has actively committed many violations. The President recently convinced the rest of the Board to replace the entire Violation Committee (including myself) with other owners who will probably ignore the President’s violations since they are friends. Does the Board have the authority to remove me and the other members of the Violations Committee? Is there a state statute which governs this authority? L.S.
A: The Board has the authority to remove you and the rest of the members of the Violation Committee. Section 718.103(7), Florida Statutes, confirms that a “committee” is a group “appointed by the board or a member of the board.” Most condominium documents empower the Board (or in some cases the President) to appoint committees, including the Violations Committee, and to remove committee members.
The Directors of your Association (especially the President) owe a fiduciary duty to all Unit Owners. In my opinion, this includes enforcement of the condominium documents regardless of who the violator is. You also have the right as a Unit Owner to enforce the condominium documents. Though probably neither quick nor cheap, that is an option available to you. Recall of board members is also permitted as a matter of right, with or without cause, by majority vote of the unit owners.
Attorney David G. Muller is a shareholder with the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff, P.A., Naples (www.beckerlawyers.com). The information provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The publication of this column does not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader and Becker & Poliakoff, P.A. or any of our attorneys. Readers should not act or refrain from acting based upon the information contained in this article without first contacting an attorney, if you have questions about any of the issues raised herein. The hiring of an attorney is a decision that should not be based solely on advertisements or this column.
Editor’s Note: David G. Muller is a Board Certified Attorney in Condominium and Planned Development Law with Becker & Poliakoff, P.A., which represents community associations throughout Florida, with offices in Naples, Fort Myers and 10 other Florida cities. The Firm focuses a substantial amount of its practice on condominium and homeowners association law. Attorney Muller responds to your community association questions. Send questions to Attorney Muller by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared in the Naples Daily News.