“Neighbor Complaint Letters Not Confidential” – News-Press

“Neighbor Complaint Letters Not Confidential” – News-Press

Q: Our association has a requirement that no cars be parked in the street. I keep receiving letters from the manager saying that keeping a car parked in front of my house is a violation and that the letters are because of complaints from my neighbors. Am I allowed to be told who complained? (M.P., via e-mail)

A: If the complaint was in writing, and if you request to see it, yes.

Written documents received by the association pertaining to the operation of the association, including complaint letters, are “official records.” Official records are generally available for inspection and copying by all owners. The association is obligated to make them available for inspection within 10 business days of receipt of a written request.

Certain official records are not open to inspection by owners. These include attorney-client privileged information, health records, personnel records of association or management company employees, personal identifying information of the owners, including e-mail addresses not used for official notice, and any address of the owners not used for official notice.

Q: We are having issues with our condominium board/manager not following required proper election procedures. We have an upcoming board election. One of the candidates sent his resume in on time, but the manager did not include it in the ballot mail-out. The resume was later sent to everyone by e-mail. Is this proper? (M.A., via e-mail)

A: After the fact e-mailing a timely submitted candidate information sheet does not fix the problem. If timely furnished by the candidate at least 35 days before the election, these must be included with the mailing, delivery, or transmission of the ballot.

The rules from the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes say that there are three “fatal” election flaws, which will always require a new election if a timely challenge is made. This is one of them.

The other two “deadly sins” are the failure to send the first notice by the 60-day deadline, and the failure to include the names of all candidates on the ballot. Other election irregularities are usually examined on a case-by-case basis, with an eye toward whether the error could have influenced the outcome.

Your association needs to do a “do-over” and re-notice the election.

Q: We have a husband and wife in our condominium who co-own one unit and live in it. They are both running to be on the board of directors. Can they do this? (K.A., via e-mail)

A: They can both run, though perhaps only one can get elected. A number of factors come into play.

Section 718.112(2)(d) of the Florida Condominium Act provides that all unit owners who give timely notice can run for the board. This section of the statute also provides that in a residential condominium association of more than 10 units or in a residential condominium association that does not include timeshares, co-owners of a unit may not serve as members of the board of directors at the same time. This is the law 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.

So, if there are not enough candidates for a contested election, both husband and wife can serve on the board at the same time. If there are enough candidates to require an election ballot, then both can run, but only one can be elected. Although the statute does not say so, that is presumably the spouse who receives more votes, which could make for some interesting condo gossip, if nothing else.

Joseph E. Adams is a Board Certified Specialist in Condominium and Planned Development Law, and an Office Managing Shareholder with Becker & Poliakoff. Please send your community association legal questions to jadams@beckerlawyers.com. Past editions of the Q&A may be viewed at floridacondohoalawblog.com.