By Attorney John C. Goede
Q. I live in a condominium association. Our election is 30 days away. I am running for a seat on the Board of Directors. We just received the second notice of annual meeting and election, which contained the notice, the ballot, and the envelopes. However, the candidate information sheets were not included. Isn’t the Association required to send out these candidate information sheets? – K.T., Naples
A: Candidates running for a seat on the Board of Directors are not required to provide candidate information sheets. However, the candidate information sheets are usually the best way for other unit owners to get to know the candidates as these sheets provide the Board candidates’ qualifications and background. If a Board candidate provides a candidate information sheet to the association not less than thirty-five (35) days before the election, then the association is required to send the one-sided 8 ½ x 11 sheet with the second notice of election.
You have confirmed that the candidate information sheets were not included with the second notice of election. The Florida Administrative Code regarding condominium elections provides that if an association fails to timely mail or deliver the candidate information sheets, it shall mail or deliver an amended second notice with an explanation for the need of the amended notice and include the candidate information sheets, as long as the amended notice can be mailed or delivered not less than fourteen (14) days before the date of the election. If the amended notice cannot be mailed or delivered not less than fourteen (14) days before the date of the election, then the association is required to re-notice and reschedule the election.
If the election is still 30 days away, the association still has ample time to mail or deliver an amended notice. I strongly encourage your association to send an amended second notice of election and include the candidate information sheets as quickly as possible so it avoids having to re-notice and reschedule the election.
Q. My homeowner’s association’s annual meeting is coming up in the next 45 days. We always have a problem hitting quorum. This year, it is very important that we not only hit quorum but also have as much participation as possible since we are seeking to amend some Declaration of Covenants and Bylaws provisions. I heard that there may be a way to suspend voting rights for people have not paid their dues to the association. Is this true? Would it help with our quorum problem? – S.A., Ft. Myers
A: Yes, your association may suspend the voting right of an owner. Section 720.305(4), Florida Statutes allows an association to suspend the voting rights of an owner for nonpayment of any fee, fine, or other monetary obligation due to the association that is more than 90 days delinquent. The Florida Statutes also state that the suspended voting right shall not be counted for any purpose, including, but not limited to, the percentage necessary to constitute a quorum, the percentage required to conduct an election, or the percentage required to approve an action pursuant to the governing documents. This means that the suspended owner’s voting right will not be counted towards the calculation of quorum or the percentage required to approve the proposed amendments to the Declaration of Covenants or the Bylaws.
The Florida Statutes are clear that there is no need for a hearing to suspend the owner’s voting right. However, if the association wants to suspend an owner’s voting right, the suspension must be approved at a properly noticed Board meeting. Additionally, upon approval, the association must notify the owner and, if applicable, the lot’s occupant, licensee, or invitee either by mail or hand delivery.
Q. My condominium’s Board of Directors often e-mail each other and will make motions and take votes via email. Is this legal? – B.B., Marco Island
A: It is a direct violation of Section 718.112(2)(c), Florida Statutes for your Board of Directors to cast votes on an association matter via email. This provision of the Florida Statutes allows the Board of Directors to communicate via e-mail but specifically prohibits casting votes on an association matter via e-mail. I strongly recommend that you provide the statutory reference to your Board of Directors as their action is in direct conflict with Florida law. If the Board refuses to follow the law, I recommend that you speak to legal counsel about your options in requiring the Board to adhere to the requirements of the law.