Thursday, May 24, 2018
Home and Garden

Community Living: Condo board can't keep meetings secret

Condo board must have open meetings

Q: Our condominium board has met without a meeting notice. The meetings are not open to the members. They do not produce minutes or any recorded information about the meeting but they do make decisions and pass motions. Are the decisions of the board legal? Are the fruits of an illegal meeting binding?

A: The condominium act and the homeowner association act say that anytime a board meets with a quorum of directors to discuss association business it must be open to the members and proper notice communicated. There is one exception and that is a meeting with the association attorney to discuss pending litigation and that meeting is closed to the members. But, a notice must be provided and proper documents must be recorded and maintained.

There are allowances for an emergency meeting but with proper notice and minutes recorded. Any action approved at any emergency meeting would have to be discussed and ratified at the next regular meeting. My definition of "emergency" is any act that is life-threatening, involves dynamic equipment or property that needs immediate attention, or presents a safety issue.

Here is an example of one such emergency meeting. I managed a high-rise where several units were robbed. The police found that the robber had gained entry by climbing a wall that provided access to the building and escaped by the fire stairs. Because the robber had come to the building several nights in the past week, the police asked for help from the members. The board called an emergency meeting to set up observers on each floor during the evening hours. The next night the criminal was spotted and the police were able to apprehend him a few minutes later. At the next regular board meeting the agenda scheduled that the board discuss and retroactively approve the emergency meeting action.

If your board is meeting not to discuss emergency action with a quorum present, you should bring it to their attention by writing a letter. Explain that they are in violation of the statutes and if a complaint is issued to the state, a fine could be imposed on the association. Ask that they not meet with a quorum to discuss association business unless they do so with a notice to the members.

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.