Can Co-owners Serve Together On Condo Board?
An Opinion By Jan Bergemann
Published July 9, 2007
of you may have read the article "Judge
rules co-owners can serve together
on Coral Springs condo board"
and/or the judge's ruling in the case LAKEWOOD
VILLAGE CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION, INC. vs.
Actually, the judge's ruling is absolutely correct. But the case never should have ended up in court -- no good association dues should have been wasted on a case like this. It was quite obvious that the board can't make up rules -- in the middle of a pending election process – to disqualify a candidate. The association attorney never should have filed a lawsuit considering these facts. But since it's all about money -- and not about right or wrong - we see lawsuits like this squandering owners' money all the time!
There is only one disqualifying factor in the statutes. The Florida Condo Act Section 718.112(d)3 is absolutely clear on this issue: Only a convicted felon, whose right to vote has not been restored, is not eligible for board membership. PERIOD!
definitely nothing wrong with the judge's ruling -- he surely did his
homework and quoted important case law to bolster his opinion. I wish he
would have as well opined on the fact that the rule to disqualify a
co-owner from serving on the same board was invalid from starters. Even if
This is an issue that has been long discussed. Various proposed condo bills -- like HB 1227 in 2006 --
tried to make the necessary changes, but failed to pass the legislature due to the heavy resistance of the specialized attorneys, who would rather see lawsuits -- like the one discussed here -- create some more income. Common sense would dictate to see this kind of language included in the Condo Act: "Co-owners of a unit may not serve as members of the board of administration during the same fiscal year." This one sentence would have stopped the waste of association dues -- not only in this case!
of the governing documents of
And let's just consider the practical side of this issue: It's absolutely ridiculous! Especially if there is, like in this case, only a three-member board. Don't forget: "A meeting of the board of administration means any gathering of the members of the board of directors, at which a quorum of the members is present."
Let's face it, if husband and wife are two of the three board members every time they see each other -- be it in their home, their dinner table or in the bedroom -- and talk about anything relating to the condo association, they are officially holding a board meeting, thereby violating Florida statutes if the other association members are not officially invited. Hmmm, that could make for delicate board meetings, couldn't it?
the opposition will say that the definition says that it's only a board
meeting if they "meet for the purpose of conducting association
business." But if nobody else is present -- who knows what
they are talking about?
that's why it would be a good idea to add this little sentence to the
Temptation is what creates the financial problems in our associations -- be it by co-owners serving on the same board or by the lack of term limits for board members!
I hope we all know the words: "Lead Us Not Into Temptation!"
Adding safeguards to the statutes surely would help to cut down on TEMPTATION!