Editor’s note: Attorneys at Goede, DeBoest & Cross respond to questions about Florida community association law. The firm represents community associations throughout Florida and focuses on condominium and homeowner association law, real estate law, civil litigation, estate planning and commercial transactions.
Q: I live in a condominium and our election happened recently. We now have all new Board Members who have never served on the Board before (including myself). Do you have any advice that will help us manage our community’s affairs?
-S.B., West Palm Beach
A: Yes, I have some important advice for you and your fellow Board Members. First, pursuant to 720.3033(1)(a) within 90 days after being elected to the Board, each Director must either (a) certify in writing to the Secretary of the association that he or she have read the association’s declaration of covenants, articles of incorporation, bylaws, and current written rules and 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 association’s members, or (b) submit a certificate of having satisfactorily completed the educational curriculum administered by a division-approved education provider. While the Statute only requires you to satisfy either (a) or (b), we recommend that you review the association’s governing documents and take a Board Certification Course, because there is information that you will learn from one that you will not get from the other, but if completed together, you are setting yourself up for success. Second, learn to rely on your professionals; meaning, for example, if you have a legal question, ask the association’s attorney, if you have an issue with the building’s roof, make sure you have a licensed roofer or engineer inspect the roof for any issues. By relying on professionals, the Board isn’t holding themselves out as something they aren’t, which limits the liability exposure for not only the Board but also for the association. Finally, be involved. Don’t assume that another Board Member or the property manager is doing the job for you. Additionally, just because, for example, the Treasurer is supposed to be the person who handles the association’s finances, that doesn’t mean the other Board Members don’t need to know what the association’s finances look like in order to make decisions that affect the community as a whole.
Avi S. Tryson, Esq., is Partner of the Law Firm Goede, DeBoest & Cross. Ask questions about your issues for future columns, send your inquiry to: firstname.lastname@example.org. The information provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The publication of this article does not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader and Goede, DeBoest & Cross, or any of our attorneys. Readers should not act or refrain from acting based upon the information contained in this article without first contacting an attorney, if you have questions about any of the issues raised herein. The hiring of an attorney is a decision that should not be based solely on advertisements or this column.