Sometimes you just have to shake your head in amazement at some of the laws that exist. Here’ an example:
We all know that 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, for the purpose of conducting association business.” See: Florida Administrative Code
We also know that if there is a “meeting” of the Board, the meeting must be noticed 48 hours in advance, and the unit owners have the right to attend the meeting. Florida Statute 718.112
Finally, we all know that if there is a Board meeting, the unit owners are entitled to copies of the meeting agenda and the meeting minutes. Florida Statute 718.111.
There is a clear presumption in favor of transparency. We want meetings to be properly noticed. We want the unit owners to be able to attend and participate in the meetings and we want documented proof of what occurs at board meetings. Sounds pretty simple so far.
And then along comes Florida Statute 718.112 (2)(c) which states: Members of the board of administration may use e-mail as a means of communication but may not cast a vote on an association matter via e-mail.
Picture this………4 of 7 board members meet in the association’s conference room. They discuss association matters. This is a meeting and must be properly noticed. Unit owners have the right to attend and speak at the meeting. Minutes of the meeting must be kept and owners have the right to copies of the minutes.
Another scenario…..the same 4 of 7 board members don’t actually “gather” but each gets on their laptop computer simultaneously. Instead of physically speaking to each other, they e-mail each other for the next 2 hours about association matters. Believe it or not…..this is now not considered a meeting, it does not have to be noticed, and minutes do not need to be taken. Worse yet, arbitration cases have held that these e-mails between board members are actually “private” e-mails and do not constitute official records of the association. Therefore, unit owners are not entitled to copies of these e-mails, as long as the e-mails are not shared with the association’s manager or are on the association’s computer or an account set-up exclusively for the association.
Does any of this make any sense? Instead of using your voice, you use your typing abilities and magically there is no “meeting” and no need to otherwise comply with the notice or official records requirements of the law.
HB 841 is currently being debated in The Florida Legislature and if this insanity isn’t stopped, it will soon become the law for co-ops and HOAs.