Best not to mess with covenants
Q: Our community has 94 homes and was created in 1980. The board is rewriting the covenants and regulations. They will present the covenants to the membership for a vote when they are completed. I cannot find anything specific about the number of votes necessary to amend the covenants.
The board would like to reduce that number to a majority of voters present at such a meeting. I suggested that they have an attorney review the changes but they do not want to spend the money. Would you please address this issue?
A: I rarely recommend that the documents and regulations be changed. You are dealing with a document that contains the deed restrictions and title requirements. To make a simple change without an attorney to review the changes can alter the title or make property transfer difficult, if not impossible.
Also, you could change or eliminate an item that was the sole reason one of the owners purchased. Some modifications such as percentage of ownership will require 100 percent approval whereas a change such as a different annual meeting date would require less than 100 percent.
To record the new modifications, someone must place their name on the document stating that they prepared the document. The Florida Bar may look at this as acting as an attorney. You cannot act as an attorney to prepare a legal document for others.
You must engage an attorney to protect the board and the association. Another possible solution: The board can approve policy procedures.
Since policies are not recorded, they can be simply modified by the board from month to month or year to year. They will not override the documents but they will allow changes to certain restrictions.
Condominium board holds all responsibility
Q: When a condominium management company is brought in to manage a condominium, who is the decisionmaker, the board or the manager?
A: The board of directors has total responsibility for the operations and maintenance of the association. The manager has duties assigned by the board. These duties are delegated either by contract or by instructions by the board.
Management is a tool to assist the board in decisionmaking and day-to-day operations. Management can never have responsibilities for the operations and maintenance, but they have duties to perform.
Don't call locksmith; send a letter instead
Q: Our building has storage lockers in a secure room. The board has replaced the lock to the room and I cannot retrieve my belongings in my locker. Only the board has the keys to the new lock. I have asked for a key and was refused. They will not tell me why I cannot have a key. Can I call a locksmith and deduct the charges from my maintenance fees?
A: I can only guess as to why the board would take such action. More than likely it is a security issue. Maybe some of the lockers have been pilfered.
I would suggest that you send a letter to the board and ask why there is new lock. In the letter, ask for a key or some other access.
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.