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"Delivery' can take several forms

Question: What are the new rules about sending the approved budget to the unit owners? We used to have to mail it, but someone said he read somewhere that it can now be distributed door to door. Is that true?

Answer: "Official notices shall be mailed or delivered to each unit owner," state statutes say. You can hand-deliver official notices and information, but that does not mean you can hang the paperwork from the doorknob. It means that each owner should receive the information in person and sign a log or document acknowledging receipt. It does not mean that the children or the maid can receive it.

Funds restricted in

a special assessment

Question: Our condo board is considering solar heat as an adjunct to gas for heating our pool. I made the motion to assess for the year 2002. My understanding at that time was that if we decided against solar heat, the money could be used for other projects. Our management company says no, if the money is not used for the assessed purpose, it must be returned to the owners. Is this correct?

Answer: If it is a special assessment, your manager is correct. Each special assessment must be for a specific project and the accounting must be accurately maintained. Any overage must be returned to the owners. Consult with your CPA about the accounting records.

Documents determine

who serves on board

Question: Is it normal to have a member on the board of a homeowner association whose name is not on the deed of a home in the community?

Answer: Your documents are the source to determine if the board member must be an owner of record. If your documents do not restrict who can be on the board, then anyone of legal age who has no criminal record can serve.

Condo Act spells out

how to display flags

Question: What is a condo association's obligation about flags hung from individual units? Can the board establish a policy that limits the size and placement of flags, or do residents have the right to display whatever size they want and attach it to the building in whatever manner they wish? Can we limit the number of flags per unit so no one unit can display several flags at the same time?

Answer: The Condominium Act, FS 718.113, allows each owner to display one portable, removable American flag in a respectful way. As a result of the events of Sept. 11, the state and professional groups have suggested that the rules about flying flags be relaxed. I suggest that the board establish guidelines for flags that comply with the statutes but allow a short moratorium, possibly six months, on enforcement of such rules. Notify the owners of the policy and allow feedback about the pending policy.

Write to Richard White, 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 Please include your name and city. Questions should concern association operations; legal opinions cannot be offered. For specific legal advice, contact an association attorney.

Readers may call the state Division of Condominiums Bureau of Customer Service at (800) 226-9101 with questions or requests for materials. Or write to Bureau of Customer Service, 1940 N Monroe St., Northwood Centre, Tallahassee, FL 32399-1032. Please note that this office provides no information about homeowners' associations. No state bureau or department covers those associations.

You can access the Bureau of Condominiums Web site at