Think long and hard before changing rules
Q: We would like to change our rules. Is there a repository or some source where we could get samples of rules? Can you provide a list of other condominiums whose rules we could use? We do not want to reinvent the wheel by drafting them ourselves to address legal problems that others may have already resolved.
A: Is there something that has happened to your recorded rules that require such changes? Never attempt to change your rules and regulations without a valid need and legal guidance. When you and your neighbors purchased your properties, you agreed to comply with established rules and regulations. If you change them, the members must agree to the changes. Changes must be properly drafted, approved and recorded in the county records. Since associations differ in their requirements, there is no such standard set of documents of rules and regulations.
Short of changing your documents, however, your board can adopt policies that do not conflict with the recorded rules. These policies can involve collections, locations for dogs to be walked, hours of operation for a clubhouse and so on. Again, use legal guidance because a rule you cannot enforce is not worth the time and effort used to create it.
With discord among five directors, change is in order
Q: We have several questions concerning our board. We have only five directors, but they seem to have problems properly conducting a board meeting. Can one of the directors call and engage our attorney without the approval of the other directors? We have one director who has taken to yelling, screaming and insulting the other directors. How do we control his outcries? A majority of the directors want to reorganize the officers. How do we ask the president to step down and name another director as president? The president is not a strong leader and he has the manager conduct the meeting business.
A: I have often said that a community is best served when you have opposing viewpoints on the board. It makes for better decisions. As for your other matters, no director should call the attorney (and your board should have a policy in place that spells this out). Also, at any meeting, officers can be replaced. I suggest that the directors talk to the offending officer and ask for a resignation. If the officer does not resign, simply vote in a new officer.
Board need not reveal bank account number
Q: The board of my homeowners association is refusing to disclose the association's bank account number to which I can deposit my dues via the Internet. They insist that I make payments by automatic withdrawal or by writing a check to the management company. I want to deposit my dues electronically by the Internet or by wire if I happen to be abroad. Does the Florida HOA statute or other statutes require the HOA to disclose the bank number to members?
A: I do not believe that the bank account number is part of the official records. You have a reasonable request, although direct deposit may create an accounting problem for the association. Such deposits may lack records to tie them to the payer, and the association may have to extend extra effort to obtain the information. You might also check to see if your bank's electronic payment systems will mail a check rather than direct deposit funds.
Unhappy with president? Request his resignation
Q: We have a weak president and he lets the manager run the board meetings. Recently we voted to approve a motion. This week the president announced that he wanted to repeal the motion at the next meeting. He seems to follow the lead of the manager. Is this the personality of a leader?
A: Your board voted him in as the president, so there must have been some likable qualities. However, you can make a change at the next board meeting by asking for his resignation. If he refuses, the board can vote for a new officer. As for motions, any motion can be changed at any properly called board meeting.
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.