It is commonly understood that membership meeting notices are mailed to members in addition to being conspicuously posted. The address used has historically been either the property address in the community or an alternate address provided by the members. Effective July 1, 2018 however, the address to be used takes on a new characteristic for Homeowners Associations. Section 720.306, Florida Statutes, now requires that notices of members’ meetings be “mailed or delivered to the address identified as the parcel owner’s mailing address on the property appraiser’s website for the county in which the parcel is located.”
The statutory change requires that the Board of Directors, or the Association’s manager, or a committee created by the Board for this purpose, look up the address for each parcel in a community and confirm the mailing address for that parcel with the property appraiser’s website. In a small community of 10-20 parcels this could conceivably be done in a relatively short window of time. In a community with 100 or more parcels, however, it would be more daunting. Basically, the Board (or person/committee charged with the research) would have to begin checking addresses with sufficient time to ensure that the notice mailing requirements set forth in the Statute or governing documents are still met. For instance, in a 100+ parcel community getting ready for an annual meeting, the person charged with looking up addresses may only have an hour or two a day for the research. This person may have to begin the research a week before the mailer must go out to ensure ample time to check all addresses, print the mailing labels, pack the envelopes and then mail them at least 14 days before the annual meeting.
It is also important to keep in mind that since parcel ownership changes regularly and owners can change their mailing address with the property appraiser without notifying the Association, the research completed for the last membership meeting will have to be redone for the next membership meeting.
To avoid what could be a daunting research project, Associations may wish to consider authorizing the electronic transmission of notices and getting written owner consent to receive those transmissions. The consent would minimize the amount of time needed to research addresses as only those small groups of owners who have not consented would get the materials via mail. It would also lower costs related to copies and postage. Your Association attorney can assist with the authorization and member consent form.