President running a one-man show
Q: Our president often makes decisions on his own without consulting with the directors or discussing it at a board meeting. What can be done to resolve this problem?
Our members never attend meetings, never vote and never become involved in any decisionmaking. The same directors continue to serve year after year. It is an automatic event with little support from the members.
Can this be reported to the state?
A: If your president sees that the directors do not care and the members are not involved, he will do what he wants. In that situation, the directors and members are giving up rights and freedoms.
The board of directors is responsible for the operations and maintenance of the association. If they allow the president to act alone, it is considered that the other directors agree with the president's decisions. If the members allow the board to permit one person to make decisions, the members then share in the final answer.
This is a problem that the state will not solve. It is a situation that you must correct by encouraging your neighbors to become involved. Until the members understand that allowing one person to spend their money without challenge is not prudent, the members assume the final responsibility and must pay for their inattention.
It is the members' responsibility to see that the directors properly operate the association and not allow one person to make all the decisions.
Collecting delinquent fees calls for lawyer
Q: Is it possible to attach the rental income from the rental agent who is renting out a unit in a homeowners association?
We have townhouses in our HOA that are delinquent. They are all short-term rentals and the rental is done by a rental agent. We have two issues with owners who have either not paid a special assessment or not renewed their insurance.
Each owner is obligated to pay their own wind and liability insurance. We have put liens on their units, but that does not help our treasury until the unit is sold.
In the meantime, the owners are collecting monthly checks from the rental as collected by the rental agents. What is the procedure for forcing the rental agent to write the checks from the proceeds to the HOA rather than to the owner? Or is that not legally possible?
A: The unfortunate situation is that you must spend money to collect delinquent accounts. You must engage an attorney to file liens and then foreclose on the property as soon as possible. It is legal action that requires an attorney. To delay can result in loss of large delinquent sums.
The good news is that any legal costs will be added to the delinquent account. The bad news is that if the property is foreclosed, the delinquent amount and legal costs may not be collected.
You must look at the loss as a cost of doing business. Once you have the attorney taking the collection action, have him/her file a claim on the rental income.
You cannot do this alone as you need legal guidance. The attorney would be able to provide the answer as to the attachment of rents.
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.