Documents, laws describe duties
Q: I would like to have the state rules for our board duties. I would like to know the rules as a resident and board. Can you guide me how I can obtain this information?
A: The answer is not a one-source document. It's not complicated but it does require effort. Keep in mind that the association should not be a "mom and pop" operation but a business. That means the board will have the same requirements as any large commercial corporation board of directors.
While the statutes for the type of association, such as FS 718, and the corporation statutes, such as FS 617, provide some of the answers, your association documents will also have requirements for the board of directors and officers. The state has published a pamphlet called "Condominium Unit Owners Rights And Responsibilities" but it applies to HOA as well.
Let me define the board duties. Directors are responsible for the operations and maintenance of the common areas and association.
Officers and management have duties that are defined in the statutes, the documents, and the instructions of the directors.
In simple terms, the directors are responsible and the officers only have duties. The pamphlet says that owners are responsible to pay their fees on time, respect and use the common areas properly, comply with the statutes and documents. It also says that an owner should attend and participate in meetings, volunteer to work on committees and serve on the board, vote on issues presented and at elections, cooperate with other owners, bring any concerns or problems to the attention of the board, and be familiar with the statutes and the association's documents.
The one thing that is not in the pamphlet is the final responsibility to be a member of the community. In the end, the owners are the ones who pay for the maintenance and operations. If the board fails, then the owners must pay.
Census required in adult communities
Q: What is the rule number pertaining to the census for our community? I cannot find the information in the association documents or the statutes.
A: You are addressing one of the requirements for an Adult Community, a 55-and-older association. Go to the HUD site and download the Federal Register (www.hud.gov/offices/fheo/library/hopa_final.pdf). You may also go to the state (fchr.state.fl.us).
The census must be conducted every two years. Each home or unit must have one resident sign an affidavit that he or she is 55 or older. They need to have an official document showing their age that can be copied for the records. The affidavit is a simple document that says they are a resident (at an address in the association) and that there are no residents younger than 18 living in the home or unit. It does not need to be notarized.
If the association is sued for age discrimination, the document will be proof that you have complied with one of the items necessary to be an adult community. I would add that to be on the safe side, have the association attorney draft the census form.