Even though I just completed a difficult stretch of teaching lots of board certification classes all over the state, I always like to think of ways to improve the seminar and keep attendees entertained on one hand, but promote just how serious the topic is on the other. While I take my responsibility to teach very seriously, I’m not convinced that The Florida Legislature feels the same way about the importance of condo and HOA education and why it should be mandatory. I’ll make some enemies today as well and say that not everyone who is teaching these Board Certification classes should be teaching them because at least in my humble opinion, they are not qualified.
A few years ago, The Florida Supreme Court issued an opinion as to what a licensed Florida Community Association Manager can and cannot do. Here are some of the things they cannot do because it would be considered the practice of law:
- determine the timing, method, and form of giving notices of meetings; where the determination would require the interpretation and application both of condominium acts and of the community association’s governing documents—
- determine the votes necessary for certain actions by community associations;
- address questions asking for the application of a statute or rule;
- determine the number of affirmative votes needed to pass a proposition or amendment to recorded documents;
- determine the number of owners’ votes needed to establish a quorum.
It seems pretty clear to me that The Florida Supreme Court does not managers answering legal questions. If a manager needs to look at a statute to give the answer to a question, the manager needs to call the attorney for the answer.
I can only speak for the seminars that I teach, but half the time is spent explaining the statute and the other half is spent answering questions related to the statute. It seems pretty clear to me that a community association manager would thus be precluded from teaching the seminar pursuant to an opinion of our state Supreme Court. Yet, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation continues to allow non attorneys to teach the law year after year after year.
Not only is this area of law often confusing, but The Florida Bar has confirmed that is an area of the law that warrants board certification. There are over 77,000 licensed Florida attorneys. Only 127 are board certified in Condominium and Planned Development Law. While I’m not suggesting that only Board Certified attorneys be allowed to teach, I am suggesting that at a minimum, a certification class for Board members not be taught by anyone who is not licensed to practice Florida law. By the way, I should not be allowed to teach medicine, accounting, electricity or plumbing. I’m not qualified. Ask my wife.
I want to hear from those of you that have taken more than one Board Certification course. Let us know if you believe I’m wrong or right.