Q: Our Board meetings are getting out of hand. There is a particular owner that takes the microphone and makes a long speech on just about everything. She often takes 5-10 minutes and argues with the Board and other owners while she has the floor. Can we stop this?
E.L., Bonita Springs
A: Yes and no. The statutes are clear that owners have the right to address the Board. Specifically, the statute provides that “the right to attend such meetings includes the right to speak at such meetings with reference to all designated agenda items.” So, you are not able to prevent owners from speaking, but there are ways to limit the time and unstructured debate.
Pursuant to Florida Statutes section 718.112, “the Association may adopt written reasonable rules governing the frequency, duration, and manner of unit owner statements.” Many of my clients have adopted rules limited owner statements to three minutes per agenda item. Many of my clients have also adopted a requirement that owners must sign up to speak on a particular agenda before the meeting begins. These rules accomplish both a) preventing endless debate; and b) preventing spontaneous statements can prolong the meeting. It is very difficult because most boards want to be flexible and invite owner comments, but the meetings also need to be efficient.
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