“Special Assessment Due Dates Not Set by Statute,” News-Press

“Special Assessment Due Dates Not Set by Statute,” News-Press

Q: I understand that the board of directors of my condominium association has the authority to levy special assessments. However, is there any requirement on when special assessments must be due? Does the association have to allow at least 30 days or more before the special assessment can be due? (M.B., via e-mail)

A: The Florida Condominium Act requires that any board meeting where a special assessment is to be considered must be noticed in advance with at least 14 days mailed and posted notice to the membership. The notice must state the estimated cost of the special assessment and provide a description of the purpose for the special assessment. The law also states that once a special assessment has been adopted, the association must mail out a notice to the members which states the purpose of the special assessment.

The statute does not specific any requirements concerning the due date for the special assessment. However, some condominium documents may contain minimum timeframes for when special assessments are due. If the condominium documents for your Association do not specify when special assessments must be due, the board of directors has a discretion to establish the due date for any special assessment.

The Florida Homeowners’ Association Act contains similar language regarding the notice of a board meeting where special assessments are to be considered, and likewise does not specify any minimum time for when the special assessment is due.

In all cases, the governing documents of the association need to be reviewed to determine if they impose any additional requirements, as the statutes set the “floor,” or minimally required legal procedures.

Q: If our declaration states amendments must be approved by 75% of all members, can we do an amendment to change the voting process to be a percentage of only those members that vote? We have a lot of members that won’t vote at all and cause us to never reach 75% of membership. (P.W., via e-mail)

A: Yes. Supermajority voting requirements often make it difficult to take actions which may benefit the association. Voter apathy is common in many associations. Because a “non-vote” constitutes as a “no” vote, many associations find themselves stuck with 30- or 40-year-old declarations and bylaws which do not consider the current laws and industry customs of operating community associations.

The most common solution is to amend the declaration to reduce the threshold of approval for future amendments to the declaration to a percentage of those members that vote, in person or by proxy, at a duly called meeting of the members at which a quorum is present. However, the initial amendment to reduce the voting approval threshold for future amendments would still require 75% approval of all members, as required by your declaration currently.

Q: If the board of directors holds a “workshop,” and a quorum of the board members are in attendance, does the workshop constitute a board meeting and does the workshop have to be held open to the members? (R.P., via e-mail)

A: Yes. A “meeting” of the board is defined as any gathering of a quorum of the board where association business is conducted. There is no requirement for votes to be taken for business to be conducted.

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.