Q: I own a one-bedroom, one-bath condominium. I understand a law was passed requiring condominium owners to carry insurance. My condominium association wants all owners to carry insurance in the amount of $50 per square foot of their unit. I think this is too much; the units are far from luxurious. Can the association dictate the amount of insurance that one has to carry?
A: Since 2004 the condominium act has required unit owners to carry insurance coverage to cover loss to the unit. In 2008 the statute was changed to allow boards of directors to require each owner to carry insurance and stated that the board had the right to buy the coverage and charge the owner. At this time, the state is debating the requirements and wording of the 2008 changes. The latest is that the state will not remove the requirement for owners to have insurance coverage. Over the next few weeks, the Florida Legislature is in session and planning to make changes to the Condominium Act, the Homeowner Association Act and the Cooperative Act. I would advise all association members to stay on top of the proposed changes. Check politics.tampabay.com, or go to www.flsenate.gov and www.myfloridahouse.gov to read pending bills and locate your elected officials. In searching the sites, I found more than 25 bills that can affect associations.
Manager should inform board of error
Q: What is the responsibility of a licensed management company in Florida regarding unlawful directive from a condominium board? Specifically, if a board not familiar with the law directs the manager to use reserve funds as needed to fund operations, should the manager advise the board that such a transfer of reserve funds must be approved by the members? What action should the manager take to report the violation?
A: The most recent changes to the condominium act say that directors must sign a certificate that they have read the statutes and the association documents when they place their name as a candidate. This places the responsibility directly on the directors; managers only have duties that have been assigned or contracted. That does not mean, however, that managers should not advise the board of their errors. I recommend that the manager report in writing the failure to comply with the appropriate documents (usually in a management report). Then the manager has choices: Do nothing and comply, report the matter to the members, or quit.
Signing for meeting notices isn't required
Q: Our mobile home park in past years had each resident sign a form that they had received meeting notices. This year the new board said it was not necessary and was not in the rules of the park. What happens when the board has a meeting? Do they post a notice in advance? Several of the residents think that our rules are not being followed. Where can we get a set of the rules?
A: Let me first address board meetings. The three associations types (condominium, FS 718; homeowner association, FS 720; or cooperative, FS 719) all require a meeting notice be posted on an "official" bulletin board 48 hours in advance of the meeting. A copy of the agenda should be attached or included in the meeting notice. As for the annual or members meeting, notices should be mailed to the members, but each type association has different dates to mail the notice. There is no requirement that owners sign for receiving the notice. Each association should have a set of governing documents and you should have received a set of the documents when you closed on your property, so check your closing papers. If you cannot find your documents, you can obtain a set from the association/management office, but they have a right to charge you a copy cost. As for the statutes, you must first determine the type association you have. Then you can download the statute from the state site: www.leg.state.fl.us.
Richard White is a licensed community associations manager. Write to him at 6039 Cypress Gardens Blvd., No. 201, Winter Haven, FL 33884-4115 or e-mail him at CAMquestions @cfl.rr.com Please include your name and city.