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Community Living: Altering common area can be tricky

Altering common area can be tricky

Q: Our condominium has sent the unit owners a request to vote on allowing alteration to the common areas. The alteration would be to allow owners to build patios on common grounds. A similar vote failed at the last annual meeting.

At this year's meeting the votes were counted again and the motion was defeated. But immediately, the meeting was recessed to allow the members that did not vote cast their ballots within the next 30 days.

Now we find that the board plans to count any proxy not returned as a "yes" vote. It seems that our board will overcome our "no" votes anyway they can. Is this legal?

A: Obviously the board has an agenda to allow private use of the common areas. The board is correct that this matter should be voted on by the members. Such a move to allow members to install private patios can lead to complications in the future.

My first thought is how will the installation of said patios affect the architectural appearance of the building and common areas. Who will be responsible for upkeep and maintenance of the new alterations in the future? Has the board given any thought to what will be allowed on the new patio: furniture, umbrellas, barbecues and enclosures?

I am not sure but I think the county would be interested in any additions to the units. Thus, a county building permit may be required.

My experience forces me to ask: Has any thought been given to how future repairs may be affected? As an example, will painting the building have a problem with the construction with these additions?

This leads to my final question: Why were the directors elected for a second year? The board should rethink their ideas and not count as a vote those proxies that were not returned. The board needs to consult with an attorney to verify that they have the proper action and authority in their quest to alter the common areas.

When is it an open meeting of board?

Q: Your columns said that whenever there is a quorum of directors, it is considered a board meeting requiring meeting notice, minutes and open to the members. It seems to me that you wrote that as long as there were no decisions made that the directors could meet. It seems that there is a conflict between the two articles.

A: The statutes say that anytime a quorum of directors meet to discuss association business it is a board meeting. There are a couple of exceptions of which one is when they meet to discuss a pending lawsuit with the attorney and the other is when they meet to discuss employee action. What I think you read was the question that the board met for a workshop. In the eyes of the state, there is no legal workshop meeting. The key is quorum and business discussed. It has nothing to do with approval or not, it is simply a discussion of business.

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leg.state.fl.us

Community Living: Altering common area can be tricky 07/21/12 [Last modified: Saturday, July 21, 2012 5:31am]

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