Becker & Poliakoff

“Do Owner Petitions Require the Board to Act?” – Naples Daily News

“Do Owner Petitions Require the Board to Act?” – Naples Daily News

Q: My condominium is being overrun by commercial vehicles. I am trying to convince my board and fellow owners to change the documents to outlaw them. I got 15 percent of the owners to sign a petition to ban commercial vehicles. I gave the petition to the board but they won’t do anything. Aren’t they required to take some action? F.S.

A: It depends. The answer will depend on your condominium documents and what your petition said.

The Florida Condominium Act does state that if 20 percent of the voting interests petition the board to address an item of business, the board, within 60 days after receipt of the petition, shall place the item on the agenda at its next regular board meeting or at a special meeting called for that purpose. This provision only pertains to an item of business being placed on the agenda for a board meeting (as opposed to a membership meeting).

There is, however, no requirement for the board to “go along with” or approve the item of business the petitioning owners submitted for consideration at the subject board meeting. Even if your petition did request for the board to at least consider adopting a rule on commercial vehicles, the board would not be legally required to recognize it because you didn’t get enough signatures. That doesn’t mean that the board couldn’t still consider the request, and I would think most boards would.

Another approach to accomplish your goal is to seek to have the declaration of condominium amended to include the amendment you want, as you present it. Most declarations contain a process for owner petition to initiate proposed amendments, 25 percent being a common requirement, and most bylaws contain a procedure for owners to ask for a special members’ meeting to be called to vote on such an amendment.

Q: An owner is suing my homeowners association over a pet dispute. I see this owner at every board meeting and he asks a lot of questions he should know the answer to and is generally annoying. Can’t the board prohibit him from attending board meetings since he is suing the association? C.T.

A: No. Just because this owner is suing the association doesn’t mean he can be excluded from attending board meetings. He is still an owner and still has the right to attend open board meetings and comment on agenda items. The board can (and sounds like maybe it should) adopt a rule limiting owner comments to 3 minutes per agenda item.

The Florida Homeowners’ Association Act does permit a board meeting to be “closed,” to discuss “proposed or pending litigation” with the association’s attorney. Obviously, any board discussion of the pet lawsuit should occur at this type of meeting and that owner (as well as other owners) are not legally entitled to attend.

Q: One of the owners in a condominium I manage is running for the board. Instead of filling out the form I provided for candidates to list their qualifications, he provided his own one-page resume. Am I required to enclose his resume to the annual meeting notice or can I force him to fill out the form I provided? V.R.

A: There is no legal requirement that a person wishing to run for the board signify their intention to do so by filling out the form sent out by the association. You are required to include his resume with the meeting notice package (assuming an election is required by more people running than there are open seats) as long as it is a one-page document which is no larger than 8 ½ inches by 11 inches.

The Florida Administrative Code states that the information sheet may describe the candidate’s background, education, and qualifications, and cannot be edited by the association. Failure to include the information sheet (resume) with the meeting notice is grounds to invalidate the election.

David Muller is board-certified in Condominium and Planned Development Law and regularly provides practical advice that ensures the fiscal success and legal compliance of both commercial and residential community associations. He has significant experience in drafting governing documents and amendments, negotiating contracts, dispute resolution, and more. For David’s complete bio, please click here.