Annual meeting is the time for changes
Q: I live in a homeowners community where there is much unrest about the board's activities. Our annual meeting is coming up and there is a movement to encourage homeowners to not vote, show up or turn in a proxy for the annual meeting. This movement hopes to have the state step in and take over our HOA. What will happen if the state "takes over"?
A: The state will not take over your association or community. The option is to petition the courts to appoint a receiver. More than likely you will really be upset then, because the receiver must comply with the court orders and still operate your association.
A receiver acts like a board and must maintain and operate the association with no input from the members. That means the receiver has full rights to approve budgets, make special assessments and force collections. To do this, the members must now pay not only the fees to operate the association but also the cost of the receiver and all court costs. Do not think you will get a receiver for any $10 per hour. It is not the way to go.
I don't understand why the members feel they will not vote. The annual meeting is the place to elect new directors. It is the perfect place to make a change. Do not act like children and take your ball home if you do not like the game. Get in and fight to win and put the people in office whom you like, maybe yourself.
Modify documents to become adults only
Q: We are a small condominium building and would like to change our building from no age restriction to adults only. Is this possible, and what would be required?
A: This would be a document modification. You will need an attorney to guide you with the process. The attorney would draft the changes to be approved by the members. You would need to schedule a members meeting for all the members to vote on the issue and modification. The attorney will advise you on the percentage needed to approve the modification.
Once the members have approved the change, you will need to record the modification in the county records. Every two years you will need to conduct a census that shows one resident in each unit is 55 years or older and that no occupant is under the age of 18. You must document that more than 80 percent of your units have one resident 55 or older. The 20 percent is to allow that the primary resident dies and leaves his/her unit to a younger family member.
Also, every adult community needs to register every two years with the Florida Commission on Human Relations, Housing for Older Persons: bit.ly/iSHs5c.
Richard White is a licensed community associations manager. Write to him at 6039 Cypress Gardens Blvd., No. 201, Winter Haven, FL 33884-4115. Please include your name and city.