I have many times heard complaints from owners (and sometimes board members) that the association is not following Robert’s Rules of Order (“Robert’s Rules”) during their board and/or owner meetings. Robert’s Rules is a well-known manual of parliamentary procedures which dates back to the late 1800’s.
It is important to understand that there is no requirement in any of the community association statutes (Chapters 718, 719 and 720, Florida Statutes) to follow Robert’s Rules. In some cases, the association’s governing documents (typically the bylaws) will require the association to adhere to Robert’s Rules. In other cases, the governing documents will state that Robert’s Rules may be used as a guide, but it is not required. Many bylaws do not mention Robert’s Rules at all. Therefore, unless your governing documents require Robert’s Rules to be used, it is not applicable.
That being said, most associations want some structure to their meetings and will try to follow the most important concepts of parliamentary procedure, including making motions, having a second, having debate on the motion, putting the motion to a vote, and the announcing the results of the vote. In the case of community associations, owners are entitled to speak on agenda items and the owners’ comments will also need to be part of the meeting.
In conclusion, while board members should have a basic understanding of parliamentary procedure, compliance with Robert’s Rules is not required unless the bylaws make compliance mandatory.