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BUDGET CAN BE APPROVED WITHOUT MEMBER VOTE

Published Apr. 17, 2010|Updated Apr. 19, 2010

Q: I live in a large HOA with seven associations and a single clubhouse. Recently we held the annual meeting to elect the directors. I thought the membership should also approve the budget at that meeting, but I just received the budget and a payment book in the mail. I thought it was strange that the payment book was sent without the members voting to approve the budget. I was told that the board approved the budget last month and the members did not need to vote. In our bylaws, it states that the membership approves the budget. At the membership meeting we did not have a quorum, so how can the board approve the budget?

A: In some situations, the statutes override bylaws. This is one of those circumstances. Florida Statute 720.303 states that the association shall prepare an annual budget that sets out the annual operating expenses. The board has the duty to notify and provide a copy of the budget 14 days before the board meeting where the budget will be approved. The statutes require the board to maintain and operate the association. As such, they must have the funds to do so and the right to assess members for collections of the necessary funds. Thus, the board would have the right and duty to approve the budget.

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Community's type of association unclear

Q: I live in a nonprofit adult care facility for those 62 years old and older. We purchased our unit and pay a monthly fee for maintenance and meals. We have a board of directors, but no one seems to know how they are selected and their meetings are not posted or open to the residents. What rules and regulations govern us? Are we anything like a condominium or homeowner association?

A: From your question I cannot determine the type of community or rental facility in which you live. You can try to find out what type of association you are living in. First, locate your closing papers and the title document to see if they offer any answers. You should have some document that explains your rights and the facility's duties. Most times it is called a declaration or covenants. This documents also will include the articles of incorporation, bylaws and the rules and regulations. If you cannot find the answers, write a letter to the board and ask them. Your questions should have been explained to you at the time of purchase.

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Engage attorney for title transfer

Q: We own a share in a mobile home park. We did not know that the park operations were tied to the Consumer Price Index when we purchased. We would like to sell and buy elsewhere. Where do we go to have the share transferred? Our park board has been transferring shares but they are slow.

A: Many mobile home parks that are owned by the members are established as a cooperative. The cooperative is one of three types of associations (condominiums and homeowner associations are the other two). Each falls under a separate Florida statute; for condominiums, it's F.S. 718; for cooperatives, it's F.S. 719; and for homeowners associations, it's F.S. 720. In a cooperative, title is evidenced by a share and a priority lease. Anytime an owner sells or a buyer buys, they become involved in title transfer. I strongly suggest that an attorney is engaged to handle the transaction.

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.

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ON THE WEB

Florida statutes

If you are unsure about the Florida statutes governing community associations, go toleg.state.fl.us. During the legislative sessions, go to flsenate.gov and myfloridahouse.gov to find the latest on pending bills.

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