Best to put requests of board in writing
Q: Is it necessary for a signed complaint to be sent to the board by a member and neighbor to report a rule violation? I spoke to a director about a pet in one of our homes. We live in a deed-restricted community where there is a no pet rule. I was told to write a letter to the board about the violation. After thinking about this requirement, I think the board should not be asking to put me in this position — they are elected to enforce the rules. If they take no action, does this give me the right to have a pet?
A: It is more policy and procedures than a statute requirement to have owners report a violation in writing. By the mere fact that you are an owner, you have an obligation to properly report rule violations as well as comply with the rules.
The board is within its rights to require that any question, report or need be in the form of a letter that is signed by the owner. The legal aspect of a written request or report will make the enforcement stronger.
When you make a verbal report, the report can later be refuted. If you see a director on the street and make a report, he/she may not have a way to record the information and it could become lost. Always put your questions, requests or reports in writing and sign them. It just makes for better business operations.
Close involvement isn't always bad
Q: Our management company employs a manager that is on the board and lives in our community. He is active on committees and is very much in control of the board. A number of our residents are unhappy with this situation.
A: I can understand your concerns but what you have is a knowledgeable and experienced director/officer working for the community. As long as he is not the primary manager and can divorce himself from his company while acting as a director, he should provide a wealth of knowledge for the other directors.
If he is the primary manager, you have another situation. If you are so concerned, write the board a letter and ask that he resign.
Members should vote on board's numbers
Q: We are a small condominium association with a five-member board. At the last annual election I placed my name as a candidate along with the five current members. At the last minute the board persuaded another person to enter his name as a candidate. In order to keep the current board in control, the board decided to increase the number of directors to seven and announced that there would not be an election because there was the proper number of candidates.
This year we again had six candidate names and the board decided to have an election for the top five. I have been somewhat a thorn in the sides of the other directors this year and they are hoping to vote me out in the election. Is this political positioning legal?
A: I have often said that the best operated boards are when you have opposing members on the board. I have found that one or two directors challenge the others to make better and proper decisions. The reason is that they need to verify and research their motions.
The board does not have the right to change the number of directors just to avoid this opposition. The matter should be presented to the members who have the opportunity to vote on adding or directors. The members are responsible to elect the candidates and if the board changes this procedure, the members lose control.
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.