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Maverick board needs reining in

Two of our board members have had free rein to run the place for some time. They have never filled five board vacancies. They favor themselves and their friends and ignore or deal harshly with others. They have established a cozy relationship with our management. They hired a board member's son to do work on the property (roof, fence, painting) even though we believe he is neither licensed nor insured. Now some people willing to serve on the board have come forward. We hope that they will replace the management company and the members will vote out the two questionable board members. Are there other steps we can take?

FS 617.0809 says that vacancies on the board must be filled by the remaining board members, who vote to appoint a qualified person as a director. If the board does not fill the vacancy, the members, or anyone, can petition the Circuit Court to fill the vacancy.

Your management company should have notified the remaining board members of this statute requirement. Failure to do so indicates that the management is in breach of its duties or extremely naive about its obligations.

Send a letter to the board of directors, signed by the owners, citing the statute and asking that the vacant director positions be filled immediately or that a special members meeting be called to elect new directors.

Some meetings are mandated

I asked the manager about the next annual meeting and was told that we no longer have meetings because nobody shows up. I am a new owner, and I'm curious about what happens to our funds. I have been told that fewer than half the owners pay their maintenance fees. Is this the way associations operate?

That is not a proper answer, and you can tell your manager I said so. Your documents undoubtedly require an annual members meeting. That is not at the discretion of the manager or the board. They must call a meeting each year and hold an election for new directors. If members choose not to attend, that's their business, but the meeting is a requirement.

Repairs shared proportionately

When structural repairs are required in some but not all buildings in a condominium, is the expense shared equally by all owners or only by those who reside in the buildings being repaired?

All repairs must be shared by all owners in proportion to the percentage of ownership indicated in the documents. Otherwise, one could argue that only those owners on the top floor should have to pay for roof repairs, or that those who live on the first floor don't have to pay for elevator repairs. All owners' property values are upheld when the entire complex is in good condition.

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 CAMquestionsatt.net. 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 toll-free 1-800-226-9101 with questions or requests for materials. Access the Bureau of Condominiums Web site at www.state.fl.us/dbpr/lsc/index.shtml; 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. The state has no bureau or department covering those associations.

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