Q: I am considering running for the board of my condominium association. However, there is a lot of work involved in being on the Board. It can be a thankless position, which discourages many owners from volunteering. Can we compensate the members of the board as a way to encourage people to serve? (T.B. via e-mail)
A: The Florida Condominium Act states that unless otherwise provided in the bylaws, the officers and the directors shall serve without compensation. So, unless your association’s bylaws provide for such compensation, compensation is prohibited.
The Florida Homeowners’ Association Act contains similar language.
While your sentiments are spot on, boards being paid for their service is very rare in the community association realm. I do think there would be some basis for concern as to whether paid directors would be held to higher standards of legal liability, as well as whether the typical nonprofit Directors and Officers Liability Insurance Policy written to cover association directors would be available.
Q: I received the first notice of my condominium association’s annual meeting just over a month ago. The first notice included a “Notice of Intent” form that had to be submitted by any owner wishing to run for the board of directors by the stated deadline. One of the owners that submitted a Notice of Intent is behind on the payment of her assessments. However, she told our association manager that she would pay her assessments in full before the election. Can she run for the board as long as she pays her assessments before the election?
A: A unit owner desiring to be a candidate for the board must give written notice of his or her intent to be a candidate to the association not less than 40 days before a scheduled election. The law states that an owner must be eligible to be a candidate to serve on the board at the time of the deadline for submitting a notice of intent.
The Florida Condominium Act contains a number of eligibility requirements for candidates, one of which is that the candidate must not be delinquent in paying any assessment to the association. According to changes in the Act that became effective on July 1, 2021, a person is considered “delinquent” if a payment is not made by the due date of the assessment as specifically identified in the declaration of condominium, bylaws, or articles of incorporation.
Prior to the July 1, 2021 changes, an individual was not eligible if they were delinquent in the payment of any “monetary obligation” to the Association (as opposed to the current version of the law which states delinquent in the payment of assessments). For example, someone who had not paid a fine would be ineligible under the old law, the new law limits eligibility to assessment payment.
If the candidate in your community was delinquent on the 40th day before the election, this individual would not be eligible to be a candidate and cannot be listed on the ballot.
Q: Most of the members of our board will be leaving our condominium soon to go back to their Northern residences, making it very difficult for us to have in-person board meetings. Can our condominium board vote via e-mail? (M.J.)
A: The Florida Condominium Act specifically provides that members of the board may use e-mail as a means of communication but may not cast a vote on an association matter via e-mail. Although there may be certain day-to-day decisions that do not require a vote of the board that can be discussed via e-mail, any action that requires approval of the board under your condominium documents or the Act must be done at a duly noticed and open board meeting.
The good news is that the Condominium Act does allow board members to participate in a meeting via telephone or real-time videoconferencing. If a director participates via videoconference, for example, the director’s participation counts towards a quorum, and the member can vote as if physically present.
Jennifer Biletnikoff is a Board Certified Specialist in Condominium and Planned Development Law and represents condominium, cooperative, mobile home and homeowners’ associations located throughout Southwest Florida including Collier, Lee, Sarasota and Charlotte Counties. She has particular experience in covenant enforcement and foreclosure law, and has also practiced in the areas of commercial, business and tort litigation.