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Rules are Official Records

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Q: My condominium has a restriction against parking pick-up trucks on the community property. Where can I get the most current copy of my condominium’s policies? (S.B., via e-mail)

A: Section 718.111(12) of the Florida Condominium Act requires an association to permanently maintain from the inception of the association, certain official records, including the declaration of condominium, bylaws, articles of incorporation and rules and regulations. Parking restrictions will typically either be found in the declaration or rules.

You have the right to make a written request for access to and copying of official records. Verbally requesting the documents through a phone call or conversation is not legally sufficient.

Official records of the association must be made available to unit owners within 10 working days of the request. The law states that the failure of an association to provide the records within 10 working days after receipt of a written request creates a rebuttable presumption that the association willfully failed to comply with this paragraph.

A unit owner who is wrongfully denied access to official records is entitled to the actual damages or minimum damages for the association’s willful failure to comply. Statutory minimum damages are $50 per calendar day for up to 10 days.

Further, pursuant to the Florida Condominium Act, associations must maintain an adequate number of copies of the declaration of condominium, articles of incorporation, bylaws, rules and all amendments to those documents. The association may charge the actual cost of preparing and furnishing copies of these documents.

As of January 1, 2019, Florida condominium associations operating a condominium of 150 or more units (timeshares exempted) are required to have an independent website or web portal wholly owned and operated by the association or a website or web portal operated by a third-party provider. The password-protected condominium websites for the exclusive access by association members must include the recorded declaration of condominium and bylaws along with any amendments to each, the articles of incorporation filed with the State, and the association’s rules and regulations.

Even if official records are posted to the website, written requests for inspection and copying must still be honored. In other words, the website requirement for larger condominiums is in addition to, and not in lieu of an owner’s physical inspection rights, even though getting records from a website is obviously the much easier route.

The law does not require the association to mail or e-mail official records. The owner must “come to the records” unless the association chooses to make them available by internet and you agree to accept them in that manner, if your association’s records policies are more liberal than the minimum requirements mandated by the statute.

Q: There are seven members on the board for my condominium association. While we typically have a quorum at board meetings, there are often board members who are unable to attend for one reason or another. Can an absent board member give a proxy to another board member or even a unit owner who is not on the board to cast their vote at the board meeting?  (E.M., via e-mail)

A: No. Section 718.111(1)(a) of the Florida Condominium Act provides that directors may not vote by proxy at board meetings.

However, Section 718.112(2)(b)5 of the Florida Condominium Act provides that board members can participate in board meetings by telephone, real-time videoconferencing, or similar real-time electronic or video communication and can be counted toward a quorum and vote as if physically present. A speaker must be used so that the conversation of remote board members may be heard by those attending in person and that the remote director can hear all statements made at the physical location of the meeting.

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