Q: Can my adult son or daughter speak at a condo board meeting? Their names are not on the deed, and our documents say nothing about this.
A: Most documents don't address the question of non-owners speaking at board meetings. Keep in mind that a board meeting is just that: a meeting for the board to conduct association business. The board can address only items on the agenda, and speakers may talk only about those items. It's not a general complaint session or a free-for-all.
FS 718.112(2)(c) says the board can create reasonable rules and limit the time to no less than three minutes. If I were running the meeting I'd allow children or guests or vendors to address the board.
If your problem is unique and personal, I recommend you write the board in advance of the meeting. The board meeting is not the place to discuss personal problems. There may be some other way for you to get the information you need or resolve your problem.
Check on permit first
Q: One of our members has built a concrete wall around his property that violates the setback guidelines. What recourse does our homeowners association have? If we have to take this to court, who pays our legal fees?
A: I'm not a lawyer, so I won't try to give legal advice, but I can share the procedures I'd recommend. Usually the legal costs for enforcing rules are borne by the association, but if the matter goes to court, the association can ask the judge to require that the violator pay your legal costs.
Consider this alternative: File a complaint with the code-enforcement division of your city or county. Most of them require a building permit to construct a wall. If your neighbor has no permit, the city or county may require him to remove the offending wall.
A policy for change
Q: Our bylaws say that a director who is absent without reason for three consecutive meetings is considered to have vacated his position. How do we go about filling this vacancy?
A: At the second consecutive meeting missed by this director, make a remark in the "officers' reports" about the bylaws' obligation to attend meetings and record it in the minutes. Then send a copy of the minutes to the absent director with a note saying that if he or she is absent from the next board meeting, you will consider the position open and a new director will be named.
At the next meeting, the first item on the agenda will be a motion to appoint a new director. If he's there, no action is necessary. If the absentee director is not there, move ahead to appoint or elect a new director.
Richard White is a licensed community associations manager. Write to him c/o Community Living, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Sorry, he can't take phone calls or provide personal replies by mail, but you can e-mail him at CAMquestions@cfl.rr.com. Please include your name and city. Online: talkwithcam.com.