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Adoption of Rules Does Not Necessarily Require Membership Vote

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Q: Recently there were discussions by the board of directors of my homeowners’ association regarding the adoption of new rules. It appeared that the board is intending to proceed with adopting rules by a board vote. Doesn’t adoption of new rules require a membership vote? (D.R., via e-mail)

A: Not necessarily. The Florida Homeowners’ Association Act, Chapter 720, Florida Statutes, does not require members to vote on the adoption of rules. The governing documents for your community could require a membership vote to approve new rules. However, it is very common for governing documents to state that the board of directors has the authority to adopt rules and regulations for the community. To the extent the board intends to adopt rules which regulate parcel use, the statute states that the association must provide 14 days mailed notice of the board meeting where such rules are to be considered.

The Florida Condominium Act, Chapter 718, has similar language concerning the board’s adoption of rules regarding unit use. Again, in the absence of any specific language in your governing documents requiring unit owner approval, assuming the documents give the board rule making authority, the board has the authority to adopt rules.

Q: My condominium association is predominantly seasonal residents and many of the board members are only here during the winter. As such, the association does not hold a board meeting from May to October. Isn’t the board required to have monthly meetings? (M.V., via e‑mail)

A: There is nothing in The Florida Condominium Act, Chapter 718, that requires the association to hold monthly board meetings or for the association to hold any specific number of board meetings during the year. It is possible that the condominium documents could require that board meetings be held with a certain frequency. However, such language, in my experience, would be unusual. As such, if the board only schedules its board meetings during season, there is nothing that would require the board to hold other meetings. In my opinion, the board should hold board meetings as frequently as necessary to properly conduct the business of the association, and in the absence of any particular provision of the condominium documents to the contrary, it is not required to hold them monthly or with any other specific frequency.

Q: My HOA board believes that committee meetings at which final action on behalf of the board is not taken or recommendations to the board regarding the association’s budget are not made, do not have to held open to the members and do not have to be noticed in the same manner as board meetings, unless required by the association’s bylaws. Can you please clarify? (J.S., via e‑mail)

A: Homeowners’ association committee meetings at which a final decision will be made regarding how to spend association funds, or meetings of any body vested with the authority to approve or disapprove architectural decisions, must be open to the members of the association just like board meetings. If a committee does not have the authority to take such final actions, the meeting can be closed to the members. Also, committee meetings that are held to discuss personnel matters or proposed or pending litigation with the association’s attorney, may be closed to the members pursuant to Section 720.303(2)(a) of the Florida Homeowners’ Association Act. Meetings of a committee that are required to be open to the members must also fully comply with the notice requirements for board meetings under the association’s bylaws or the default statutory notice requirements, if the bylaws do not provide board meeting notice requirements (i.e., notice posted in a conspicuous place in the community at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting).

This article originally appeared on News-Press.

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