Q: I do not understand why we have to resort to 911 when our neighbors are disturbing others in the building. We have our rules and regulations where one paragraph deals with noise. Should not the board take action? Why bother the police with this problem?
A: Yes, the board can take some action, but in truth, I recommend a letter be sent to the neighbor rather than knocking on the door. (Unfortunately, a letter would only be a warning after the fact.) Most cities and counties have noise codes, and the police could cite the neighbor for making noise during these late hours. A letter plus a police report would make the case against the noisy neighbor more complete. Once a case is on file, the board can turn the matter over to the association's attorney for further action. Also, in enforcing rules and regulations, the board should avoid placing the director in a hazardous situation.
Can those limited proxies be trusted?
Q: An election is coming up at the end of the month for directors of the homeowners association board of my over-55 community. My question pertains to a "Limited Proxy." The instructions state that "the purpose of a Limited Proxy is to appoint another person to vote for you as you may or may not specifically direct. In the event that you might not be able to attend the meeting, it must be signed by one of the unit owners of record authorized to cast the vote." How will the persons counting the votes know that the actual owners signed the proxy? Many homeowners do not trust the current directors as they would like to maintain control of the board.
A: There indeed could be fraud in this situation. But after the election, each owner who signed a proxy can be contacted to verify the document. If you find that a number of signatures were forged, you could have grounds for a criminal lawsuit. Most documents require the board to have a voting certificate on file. The voting certificate is a durable document mostly used for homes/units where you have two or more owners, a corporation owner or a trust, but it can be required that all units have a certificate on file. The certificate is a legal document that can be on file and has no expiration date but can be changed at anytime by the owners. This document can be used to verify the signatures on the proxies or, in the case of condominiums, the signatures on the envelopes containing the ballots.
Motions must be placed on agenda
Q: A year or two ago you addressed the question regarding new business at an annual meeting. Do motions from the unit owners need to be submitted to the board in writing before the meeting to protect absentee unit owners? I think you referred to a state statute.
A: It is simply good business operations to conduct meetings where no owner can sue the association for illegal actions. The problem is that if an owner stands at a meeting and makes a motion that was not on the agenda, the members voting on the issue will not have time to understand the facts of the motion. Absentee members also can come back to the board for taking action on which they could not vote. In short, all motions must be an agenda item.
Richard White is a licensed community associations manager. Write to him at 6039 Cypress Gardens Blvd., No. 201, Winter Haven, FL 33884-4115. He cannot provide personal replies by mail, but you can e-mail him at CAMquestions@cfl.rr.com Please include your name and city.