Q: Until recently, I was the president of my condominium association. However, certain unit owners were unhappy with the decisions I had made and pushed through a recall. While I do not dispute that they obtained recall agreements signed by a majority of the unit owners, they did so under false pretenses where they made false statements about my leadership. Are recall agreements obtained based on false statements valid? (F.P., via e-mail)
First, owners recall directors, not officers. I assume that the owners voted to remove you from the board, the board either removed you as president or you were no longer eligible to hold that office because the bylaws require the board president to be a board member, which is common.
When considering whether the board must “certify” (validate) a recall, the only question for the board of directors is whether the recall is “facially valid.” Although the statute does not define what facially valid means, it is universally interpreted to mean that the person signing the recall agreement is a person lawfully permitted to vote for that unit.
If the association certifies the recall of one or more board members, a board member who has been recalled has the right to an action challenging the recall certification by the association. A challenge to the recall must be filed within 60 days of the certification. However, the only issue determining whether a recall is valid is whether enough unit owners voted for recall. The required vote is a majority of all voting interests. There is usually one voting interest per unit.
Since the law provides that a director may be recalled “with or without cause,” the state agency which initially hears most recall disputes has consistently ruled that the truth or falsity of statements or opinions by those arguing for recall is not legally relevant. Condominium politics, like all politics, can be brutal and even unfair, but that is how the system is set up.
Q: Can you boil down the new law on condominium reserves to a few sentences? (R.P., via e‑mail)
A: Amendments adopted by the Legislature in 2023 clarify that the requirement of a structural integrity reserve study (“SIRS”) does not apply to one- and two-story buildings.
Reserves can now only be waived or reduced or authorized for a non-scheduled purpose by a majority of all voting interests, as opposed to a majority of those who vote.
As of January 1, 2025, reserves that have been accrued for components mandated to be included in the SIRS cannot be used for a non-scheduled purpose, nor may their full funding be waived or reduced, regardless of any vote of the owners.
Q: I recently sent a request for records of my homeowners’ association. I asked the manager to e‑mail them to me. They association refused and said I could come to the office and look at the records, which is not an option for me at this time. Doesn’t the association have to send me the records? (R.G., via e-mail)
A: Section 720.303(5) of the Florida Homeowners’ Association Act states that the official records must be made available for “inspection” and if requested, copying. The records must be kept within 45 miles of the community or within the county in which the community is located.
The association is obligated to make the records available within ten (10) business days of receipt of a written request from an owner to inspect the records. The Act goes on to state that the association may comply with this requirement by making the records available to the owner electronically via the internet. However, this is at the association’s option.
An owner has the right to inspect and copy the records of the association following a written request. An owner does not have the right to require the association to mail the records or e-mail the records to the owner in lieu of physical inspection.
The same basic rules apply in the condominium and cooperative settings.