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Community Living

New law may get delinquent officer to pay up

Q: One of our officers is several thousand dollars delinquent in monthly maintenance fees and assessments. I want him to resign, but the rest of the board — who aren't aware of just how serious his delinquency is — refuse to oust him.

A: Resolving this situation just got a whole lot easier. Effective Oct. 1, a new condominium law — passed in this year's legislative session and recently signed by the governor — states that a director who is 90 days or more delinquent in regular assessments (i.e., monthly maintenance) is deemed to have abandoned the office, creating a vacancy to be filled. (Note that this does not apply to special assessments.)

My guess is that once you inform your delinquent director of this law, he'll pay up or resign. Worst case: You'll have to put up with the situation until Oct. 1, then the board can declare that he has abandoned his office and fill the vacancy.

The bill was CS/HB995ER.

Put board on notice

Q: Our documents say the homeowners association will maintain common areas. Now the board wants abutting homeowners to cut the grass in about 25 feet of common area around a retention pond. The board claims they would have to cross over an owner's property to get to the common area. How can we get the board to honor the documents and maintain the area?

A: You and your neighbors should start writing letters to the board, making these points:

• Their failure to maintain the common area devalues the property and puts the association at risk of a costly lawsuit.

• Failure to maintain the common areas is a violation of their fiduciary duty.

Tell the board you want this subject on the agenda at the next meeting and will expect the board to provide members with a detailed explanation of why they are declining to maintain the common area. Put the board on notice that you expect the members to do their job.

Add to agenda

Q: There's an important issue that we want on the agenda at the next meeting, but the president refuses to do so. What can we do?

A: Well before the next meeting, write to all the directors spelling out the problem and asking that it be placed on the agenda for the next meeting. Ask for a private meeting to discuss the matter with the president before the board meeting. If the president refuses to schedule the item, you are within your rights at the meeting to ask for an amendment to the agenda. That allows the board to discuss the issue, but a vote must wait until the next meeting, when the item must be on the agenda.

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. Visit him online at www.talkwithcam.com.

New law may get delinquent officer to pay up 07/18/08 [Last modified: Friday, July 18, 2008 4:30am]

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