CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATIONS EDUCATION

BOARD MEMBERS: ELIGIBILITY + QUALIFICATIONS

An Opinion By Jan Bergemann 
President, Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Published December 14, 2010

  

One of the hottest topics in Florida's condominiums: Qualifications and eligibility of board members. In the last few years many legislative bills addressed this issue, overturning older Declaratory Statements and Arbitration Rulings.

  

In former times bylaws often eliminated owners from serving on the board -- bylaws often passed to keep sitting boards (the clique) in office and eliminate "unwanted" volunteers.

  

One of the favorite restrictions added to bylaws was the eligibility requirement of residence of 9 or more months a year. 

 

Florida Statutes 718 contains a multitude of provisions, regulating eligibility and qualifications of owners serving on condo boards.

  

One of the continuously reappearing arguments about eligibility are so-called residency requirements of 9 (nine) months or more a year, a provision that was fairly common in condo bylaws in former years. A Declaratory Statement issued by the Division in 1998 [DS98150] still allowed the bylaws to prevail, but that changed in 2006, when the Division issued a Declaratory Statement [DS 2006-051291] that clearly reversed that earlier statement. With the technology available now, it actually makes no more sense to eliminate volunteers just because they are not permanently on location. 

 

Florida's legislature added quite a few eligibility restrictions and qualification requirements to the statutes. Here are the provisions dealing with these issues:

  • STAGGERED TERMS: NO MORE THAN 2 YEARS, IF BYLAWS ALLOW                              FS 718.112(2)(d) If the bylaws permit staggered terms of no more than 2 years and upon approval of a majority of the total voting interests, the association board members may serve 2-year staggered terms.

  • CO-OWNERS SERVE TOGETHER:  ONLY UNDER SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES              FS 718.112(2)(d)  In a condominium association of more than 10 units or in a condominium association that does not include timeshare units or timeshare interests, coowners of a unit may not serve as members of the board of directors at the same time unless they own more than one unit or unless there are not enough eligible candidates to fill the vacancies on the board at the time of the vacancy.

  • SUSPENSION BY DIVISION:  [FS 718.501(1)(d) 6.]                                                                     FS 718.112(2)(d) A person who has been suspended or removed by the division under this chapter is not eligible for board membership.

  • ASSESSMENT DELINQUENCY: [FS 718.112(2)(n)]                                                                  FS 718.112(2)(d)  A person who is delinquent in the payment of any fee, fine, or special or regular assessment as provided in paragraph (n), is not eligible for board membership.        FS 718.112(2)(n)  Director or officer delinquencies.-- A director or officer more than 90 days delinquent in the payment of any monetary obligation due the association shall be deemed to have abandoned the office, creating a vacancy in the office to be filled according to law.

  • CONVICTED FELON:                                                                                                                        FS 718.112(2)(d) A person who has been convicted of any felony in this state or in a United States District or Territorial Court, or who has been convicted of any offense in another jurisdiction that would be considered a felony if committed in this state, is not eligible for board membership unless such felonís civil rights have been restored for at least 5 years as of the date on which such person seeks election to the board.

  • DIRECTOR OR OFFICER OFFENSES:                                                                                       FS 718.112(2)(o) Director or officer offenses. ó A director or officer charged by information or indictment with a felony theft or embezzlement offense involving the associationís funds or property must be removed from office, creating a vacancy in the office to be filled according to law until the end of the period of the suspension or the end of the directorís term of office, whichever occurs first. While such director or officer has such criminal charge pending, he or she may not be appointed or elected to a position as a director or officer. However, if should the charges are be resolved without a finding of guilt, the director or officer shall be reinstated for the remainder of his or her term of office, if any.

NEWLY ADDED QUALIFICATION:

  • BOARD MEMBER EDUCATION QUALIFICATION:   FS 18.112(2)(d) 3.b. Within 90 days after being elected or appointed to the board, each newly elected or appointed director shall certify in writing to the secretary of the association that he or she has read the associationís declaration of condominium, articles of incorporation, bylaws, and current written policies; that he or she will work to uphold such documents and policies to the best of his or her ability; and that he or she will faithfully discharge his or her fiduciary responsibility to the associationís members. In lieu of this written certification, the newly elected or appointed director may submit a certificate of satisfactory completion of the educational curriculum administered by a division-approved condominium education provider. A director who fails to timely file the written certification or educational certificate is suspended from service on the board until he or she complies with this sub subparagraph. The board may temporarily fill the vacancy during the period of suspension. The secretary shall cause the association to retain a directorís written certification or educational certificate for inspection by the members for 5 years after a directorís election.

The RULE OF THUMB: Everybody listed as ineligible in the statutes is out, everybody else is in -- if elected or appointed!


Maison Grande Condominium Assoc., Inc.
[Declaratory Statement DS 2006-051291; November 27, 2006]


Golden Lakes Village Condominium Association "A", Inc 

[Declaratory Statement DS98150; December 21, 1998]


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