Tuesday, January 16, 2018
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Community Living: There are rules for agenda items

There are rules for agenda items

Q: Is there a rule in the Florida statutes or any other rule book that states you must have signatures to put an item on the agenda? Is there a percentage of signatures needed to have the item added? I cannot find the subject in our rules and regulations. Can the board of directors demand this requirement?

A: FS 720.303 says that if 20 percent of the owners sign a petition to place an item on the agenda, the board must include the item. A personal problem that you face may be resolved by meeting with members of the board away from a board meeting. In other words, you write a letter to the board and ask for a private meeting to discuss your problem.

There are other ways to have an item added to a meeting agenda. You can talk to a director and convince him to sponsor your request to add an item. You can volunteer to be a candidate, and when you are elected, sponsor the agenda item.

Be aware that the directors are responsible for the maintenance and operations of the association and have a fiduciary duty to the members. They may feel that your suggestion is not in the best interest of the community. They may have more pressing matters than to allow a new action at this time. Since the agenda must be prepared several days in advance of the meeting, you need to allow proper time to present your request to the board.

If you want to amend the documents, then the board should engage an attorney. There is also the need to communicate the change to the members.

Get lawyer's help for extension project

Q: I live in a garden condominium, and several owners have requested to add 3 feet to the rear of their unit into the common area. One of the owners has circulated a petition to permit his extension. I have heard two opinions. One is that 75 percent of the owners must sign the petition, and the other is that 100 percent must sign. What I am asking is, can one owner stop the 3- to 5-feet extension? How can we overcome this action to block our request for the extension?

A: Each owner has an undivided interest in the common area. The statutes further say that no owner can privately use the common areas without amendment.

Have an attorney guide the board and members through the process. There are other situations that become involved. You may need to change the percentage of ownership listed in the documents. The county tax agent will be interested because of the increased size of the unit. You will find that there is an increased cost for the association insurance because of the increased value added. There must be an understanding for future repairs and who pays for the repairs, the owners or the condominium. You also need to understand what will happen if there is a need for deconstruction. You may need to seek approval of all mortgage holders. You must have the guidance of an attorney that understands your documents and the statutes.

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