Election time in our Florida community associations is quickly approaching. The thought of the annual meeting doesn’t exactly invoke thoughts of birds chirping or humming birds humming, and is more akin to Halloween Horror Night at your association. Nevertheless, unit owners far and wide will be throwing their hat into the ring trying to win a spot on their Board of Directors on this night of torture and evil. While willing participants quickly learn how difficult it is to compete against their fellow neighbors, they are sometimes shocked to learn that will also be competing against fellow men and women who may or may not even live in the association, and believe it or not, may not even own a unit in the association.
Unit owners are often very surprised to learn that as far as condominiums go, there is no requirement that a Board member must also be an owner of a condominium unit at the condominium. In fact, the statute says:
Any unit owner or other eligible person desiring to be a candidate for the board must give written notice of his or her intent to be a candidate to the association at least 40 days before a scheduled election.
Clearly, the statute contemplates the possibility that persons other than unit owners can serve on a condominium Board. Eligibility may be determined in the bylaws which may state that a Board member must be an owner, but don’t be surprised if your do not contain such a clause.
The HOA statute states:
All members of the association are eligible to serve on the board of directors,
While the statute could have specifically stated that “only” members of the association are eligible to serve on the Board, absent any provision in the bylaws which would allow non owners to serve, I have no problem limiting the Board membership to owners.
So…..in a condo, the answer to the title of this article is “Yes” unless prohibited by the bylaws. In an HOA, the answer is “No” unless expressly allowed by the bylaws.
Just because you are an owner though, you still may not be allowed to serve on your Board. The condo statute states that any person who is delinquent in the payment of any fee, fine, or special or regular assessment is not eligible for board membership. The HOA statute likewise states that a person who is delinquent in the payment of any fee, fine, or other monetary obligation to the association for more than 90 days is not eligible for board membership. The difference however is that in the condo setting, the candidate must be eligible to serve on the board of directors at the time of the deadline for submitting a notice of intent to run in order to have his or her name listed as a proper candidate on the ballot or to serve on the board. That is not the case in an HOA.
Both statutes are in agreement that felons are not eligible for Board membership unless their rights have been restored for at least five years. HOA members got the right to exclude felons about two years ago.
For Board members in condominiums, within 90 days of getting elected to the Board you must become certified. One way is by taking an approved course. Florida law even allows you to get certified within one year prior to serving on the Board. I have now taught the course and certified approximately 3,000 Floridians. If you would like to take the course in a fun environment, have some food, get a framable certificate and an outline of everything you learned, you can register at www.condocrazeandhoas.com Any by the way……..the course is completely free. On November 8th we will be teaching the course at The Hard Rock Hotel in Hollywood. On December 1st we will be teaching the class at The Waldorf Astoria in Naples and on December 15th we will be teaching at The Holiday Inn at Universal Studios in Orlando.
Interesting that other than perhaps having to be an owner, and having to get certified, there are no other qualifications or prerequisites for Board membership. Should there be?