Q: I understood that Florida law permitted a unit owner in a condominium to install hurricane shutters to protect their unit. I was recently told by my association that only a specific type of shutter could be installed and that any other type of shutter was prohibited including putting plywood over my windows. Can the association limit my rights to protect my unit? (M.W., via e-mail)
A: Yes. Under Section 718.113(5) of the Florida Condominium Act, each board must adopt hurricane shutter specifications for each building within each condominium operated by the association which shall include color, style, and other factors deemed relevant by the board. The law goes on to say that an association cannot prevent an owner from installing shutters if they comply with the specifications adopted by the board.
The specifications can limit the type of shutters that can be installed, as long as the specifications comply with the applicable building code. Therefore, your association can require that if owners install hurricane shutters, that they install a certain type of shutter, and prohibit the installation of all other shutters.
Q: My question is about condominium website requirements and what and when documents must be posted. Must the association post the agenda and also bids, proposals, and any other document being considered at a board meeting, before the board meeting, so that owners attending the meeting are well informed? (C.G., via e-mail)
A: As discussed in previous columns, the new law only applies to associations managing a condominium with 150 or more units. Therefore, many associations are exempt from the law and do not have to have a website, and can decide its contents if they choose to do so.
Where applicable, the statute requires posting a list of bids received within the past year and summaries or complete copies of bids for materials, equipment, or services which exceed $500, must be maintained on the website for 1 year. The law does not specify how soon after such documents are received by the association they have to be posted, I suspect the law would require within a “reasonable” time.
Conversely, notice of membership meetings (and the agenda) must be posted no later than 14 days before the meeting. Any document that will be considered or voted on by the members must be posted at least 7 days in advance.
Board meeting notices and agendas must be posted at least 48 continuous hours before the board meeting except in an emergency, or at least 14 days prior to the meeting if a non-emergency special assessment or an amendment to the rules regarding unit use will be considered at the board meeting. Documents pertaining to special assessments and unit use rules must also be posted at least 14 days prior to the meeting.
Although the statute contains a number of posting deadlines, it does not contain a general deadline as to how soon after the association receives a document it has to post it. Therefore, while logic would dictate that documents that the board will be considering at a meeting should be posted on the website before the meeting, it may not be a strict legal requirement. However, as you note, posting these documents would further the statutory goal of permitting owners to be informed about the operation of their association.