Q: I am a board member of an HOA. Our documents provide that U.S. Mail is the only acceptable means of providing notice to owners. I thought email was recently approved by the legislature as an acceptable means to send notice. Can we provide notice by e-mail? (B.D. via e-mail)
A: The Florida Homeowners’ Association Act, Chapter 720 of the Florida Statutes, regulates notice requirements. There are different rules for board meetings and member meetings.
Notice of all board meetings must be posted in a conspicuous place in the community at least 48 hours in advance of a meeting, or “mailed or delivered” to each owner seven (7) days in advance. Homeowners’ associations with more than 100 members may set forth alternative means in their bylaws to posting or mailing notices for board meetings, such as providing a schedule of board meetings or broadcasting notice on a closed-circuit cable television system serving the association.
For member meetings, the law requires notice be mailed or delivered at least 14 days’ in advance, unless the bylaws provide otherwise.
Section 720.303(2)(c)1 of the Act provides that homeowners’ associations “may provide notice by electronic transmission in a manner authorized by law for meetings of board of directors, committee meetings requiring notice under this section, and annual and special meetings of the members; however, a member must consent in writing to receive notice by electronic transmission.” Further, if consent is revoked, the association is obligated to remove the member’s electronic mailing address and numbers, and remove same from association records. Electronic transmission may not be used as a method of providing notice of a board meeting called for the purpose of recalling directors.
So the bottom line is that if your members give written consent to receive official notices by electronic transmission, e-mail can be used in lieu of mail or hand delivery. The same rules generally apply to condominium associations.
Q: I recently attended a board meeting of my condominium association, and there was a discussion about the upcoming annual meeting. It was stated that there was not going to be an election of directors this year because the number of owners who submitted paperwork to run was less than the number of open seats. I had planned on attending the meeting and nominating myself from the floor, but was told that was not allowed. I have lived in other communities and people have been allowed to nominate themselves from the floor of the meeting. Can my condominium association prevent me from nominating myself? (L.A. via e-mail)
A: The election of directors in condominium associations (with limited exceptions for very small associations) is specifically regulated by the Florida Condominium Act, Chapter 718 of the Florida Statutes. The law requires that notice of a scheduled election must be sent out 60 days before the date of the election. Any owner wishing to be a candidate for the board must give his or her written intent to be a candidate to the association no less than 40 days before the date of the scheduled election. The 40-day deadline cannot be extended by the association. Nominations from the floor are not permitted in condominium elections.
For homeowners’ associations, the law is a bit different. Section 720.306(9) of the Florida Homeowners’ Association Act provides that elections must be conducted in accordance with the procedures set forth in the governing documents for the association. All members are eligible to serve on the board of directors and may nominate themselves as a candidate for the board. Further, nominations from the floor of the meeting must be permitted, unless the election process used by the association allows for candidates to self-nominate in advance of the meeting.
Joe Adams is an attorney with Becker & Poliakoff, P.A., Fort Myers. Send questions to Joe Adams by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Past editions may be viewed at floridacondohoalawblog.com