By Attorney Avi S. Tryson
Q: Our condo association just sent out notice of a board meeting where the new budget for the upcoming year will be passed by the board, and it had the proposed budget attached to it. The proposed budget looks like it’s a significant increase in the amount of assessments. Isn’t that something that the unit owners have a right to vote on before it is passed by the board?
M.I., Fort Lauderdale, FL
A: Section 718.112(2)(e), Florida Statutes, deals specifically with annual budget meeting for condominiums. In particular, subsection (2) addresses the issue in your question, and states that if a board adopts an annual budget where assessments against unit owners exceeds 115% of assessments for the preceding fiscal year, and the board receives a written request for a special meeting from the unit owners representing at least 10% of all voting interests, the board shall conduct a special meeting of the unit owners to consider a substitute budget. The written request from the unit owners must be received by the board within twenty-one (21) days after their adoption of the budget which is being challenged. Once the board receives the written request, it must duly notice and hold the substitute budget meeting within sixty (60) days of the adoption of the original budget. Unit owners may consider and adopt a substitute budget at the meeting if such substitute budget is approved by at least a majority of all voting interests, unless your association’s bylaws require adoption by a greater percentage. There must be a quorum of unit owners present at such meeting, because if not, the original budget shall take effect. Therefore, in your case, you will need to wait until after the proposed budget is passed by the board, then calculate whether the budget exceeds 115% of last year’s budget. If so, you will need to gather the signatures of at least 10% of the voting interests of unit owners and submit a written request to the board within twenty-one (21) days of the date that the board passed their budget.
Q: My condo association’s board used to hold regular board meetings on a monthly or at least quarterly basis. However, in the last 2 or 3 years they seem to only have a meeting when there is an emergency that requires it (other than the once-a-year meeting where the board election is held). Aren’t they supposed to hold meetings on some kind of regular basis?
G.H. Melbourne, FL
A: You will have to check your association’s governing documents to see if they contain any specific provisions with regard to board meetings, because if there is not a specific provision, then the board is not required to hold meetings at any regular interval as Chapter 718, Florida Statutes, does not contain any specific mandate for boards of directors of condominium associations to meet with any certain regularity or timing, other than holding the annual meeting for the election and a meeting to pass a budget. Although not required, the board should consider holding meetings with some sort of consistency in order to address issues that typically arise on a regular basis throughout the year. Please note that if there is a specific issue that you want to have the board address, you do have the option of petitioning the board to hold a meeting under Section 718.112(2)(c)(1), Florida Statutes. Under that provision, if 20% of the voting interests of the association petition the board to address an item of business, the board, within sixty (60) days after receipt of the petition, must place the item on the agenda at its next regular board meeting or at a special meeting called for that purpose.