Editor’s Note: David G. Muller is a Board Certified Attorney in Condominium and Planned Development Law with Becker & Poliakoff, P.A., which represents community associations throughout Florida, with offices in Naples, Fort Myers and 10 other Florida cities. The Firm focuses a substantial amount of its practice on condominium and homeowners association law. Attorney Muller responds to your community association questions. Send questions to Attorney Muller by e-mail to email@example.com.
Q: I heard that a new law for condominium associations mandates that all the minutes of all meetings of the association must be permanently maintained. Is this correct? W.T. via e-mail
A: Yes, the Florida Condominium Act has been changed as of July 1, 2018 to mandate this requirement. The previous law only required the minutes to be maintained for 7 years.
Q: I live in a large community which is made up of one master association and over thirty subassociations, including both condominium associations and homeowners associations. I serve on the board of directors for the condominium association (subassociation) which is governed by the Florida Condominium Act (Chapter 718, Florida Statutes). I also serve on the board of directors for the master homeowners association which is governed by the Florida Homeowners’ Association Act (Chapter 720, Florida Statutes). A disgruntled owner who lives in my condominium has sent a certified letter with numerous questions to both the condominium association (subassociation) and the master homeowners association. The disgruntled owner is demanding a response in writing from both associations. Do both associations have to respond? T.C. via e-mail
A: The Florida Condominium Act states when a unit owner of a residential condominium files a written inquiry by certified mail with the board of administration, the board from the condominium association shall respond in writing to the unit owner within 30 days after receipt of the inquiry. The condominium association board’s response shall either give a substantive response to the inquirer, notify the inquirer that a legal opinion has been requested, or notify the inquirer that advice has been requested from the division. If the condominium association board requests advice from the division, the board shall, within 10 days after its receipt of the advice, provide in writing a substantive response to the inquirer. If a legal opinion is requested, the condominium association board shall, within 60 days after the receipt of the inquiry, provide in writing a substantive response to the inquiry. There are penalties if these deadlines are not adhered to. It should also be noted that the condominium association may through its board of administration adopt reasonable rules and regulations regarding the frequency and manner of responding to unit owner inquiries.
In contrast, the Florida Homeowners’ Association Act contains no such similar provision. This means that your condominium association (subassociation) is required under the statutes to respond in writing to the disgruntled unit owners certified inquiry and answer their questions. As such, the homeowners association (master association) is not required under the statutes to respond to the certified inquiry. That being said, you should check the master association’s governing documents to confirm whether there is any requirement to respond to an owner’s certified inquiry contained within the respective master association governing documents. Although likely not legally required the master association board should also consider whether it is advisable to respond to the owner’s complaints in some manner as a proactive step to possibly help resolve the dispute from escalating further.
Attorney David G. Muller is a shareholder with the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff, P.A., Naples (www.beckerlawyers.com). The information provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The publication of this column does not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader and Becker & Poliakoff, P.A. or any of our attorneys. Readers should not act or refrain from acting based upon the information contained in this article without first contacting an attorney, if you have questions about any of the issues raised herein. The hiring of an attorney is a decision that should not be based solely on advertisements or this column.