When some units go delinquent, others must make up the shortfall
Q: Two units in our small condominium are not paying their fees. At a recent board meeting it was announced that a special assessment would be approved at the next board meeting to fund the shortage caused by these units. Are the other owners responsible for paying these fees? Why are we responsible to pay other unit delinquent fees?
A: Your board of directors is responsible for the maintenance and operations of the condominium. If some units do not pay, then the funds necessary to pay for the maintenance and operations must come from other sources. Guess who is the other source? You and the other members must pay. Unless you can generate other funds from another source, you must pay.
Manager's actions will tell you whether conflict of interest exists
Q: My question involves conflict of interest with our management. We have multiple condominiums that fall under one recreation board that services all of the condominium buildings' recreation centers. One of the presidents of a building also serves on the recreation board. He also serves as manager of the recreation areas as a representative of the management company. Members of our condominium question whether this is a conflict of interest.
A: The definition of conflict of interest can be actual or potential. It is where the party has a personal financial interest that may be a conflict with their client. Conflict of interest is a philosophic idea that implies personal gain or advancements for oneself with the loss or suffering of others.
It is more of a violation of ethics and professional codes rather than a legal violation. FS 112.313(7)(a) prohibits a public officer from having any contractual relationship that would create a continuing or frequently recurring conflict between his/her private interests and the performance of his/her public duties, or that would impede the full and faithful discharge of his public duties. However, this covers public officials and not nongovernment employees or agents.
The question should imply that the manager is profiteering from his/her position at the loss of the members. Normally, this is not a valid situation, but the final answer would depend on the actions of the manager in which there are violations of the members' trust and values.
Whose John Hancock is required depends on type of contract
Q: I am on an HOA board and am wondering if the president has to sign all board-approved contracts, or if other officers on the board can legally sign a contract even when the president is available to sign. Nothing is stated in our bylaws regarding who is required to sign contracts.
A: This is more of a business operational question, contract law rather than an association statute requirement. The answer is also dependent upon the type of contact. In any contract approval, the contract must be approved by the board of directors in a legal meeting. In some situations the board would approve who signs the contract. As the manager, I have been approved by a motion to sign the contract. Some contracts may require the secretary to sign. Any legal age, qualified person can sign a contract when approved by the board of directors.
Quorum needed to fill vacancy created by director's resignation
Q: We recently received a resignation from one of our directors. We have three board members on property and one board member that is away. Are the three that are on property enough to appoint a new member or must the other person vote? It appears to be a general question to me but I have someone saying otherwise.
A: The key to this answer is quorum. First check you documents to determine the number of directors needed for quorum. Normally it is 51 percent or more, and in your situation three directors. Just because one of the directors is out of town is not a reason to delay appointing a new director to fill the vacancy.
If you are able to contact the absent director, have him/her phone during the meeting and use a speaker phone. This will allow the absent director to be recorded in the minutes as present and his vote recorded. It is not a critical operation but should not be delayed.
For further information, read the requirement to fill a vacancy in FS 617. A majority of directors can fill a vacant director's position.
Many issues to consider before towing resident's unused car
Q: We have a resident who is storing a car that he does not use in our parking lot. It has been sitting there for three months and he refuses to get rid of it. Is there any recourse for us? Can we tow it?
A: This is not a simple yes or no answer. To tow, you must comply with FS 715. Other questions come to mind involving your parking limitations. What do your documents say about parking, and is the vehicle a hazard? Sometimes non-operating vehicles could be a culprit.
Does the vehicle have flat tires or maybe dripping fluids? Before you tow the vehicle, you should have the association attorney render guidance. Contact your County Code or other agencies to see if the vehicle violates any county codes.
Maybe they will issue a removal order. Maybe it is time for the board to establish an approved parking policy to prevent this action in the future.
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.