Condo Board Quality
Florida Condo Board of Directors
Florida condo quality of life can be impacted by the quality of the condo board of directors. The board of directors is commonly tasked with decisions about the operation of the association including contracts, legal matters, and budget choices.
Florida Statutes 718.112 shows that "(1) GENERALLY.— (a) The operation of the association shall be governed by the articles of incorporation if the association is incorporated, and the bylaws of the association, which shall be included as exhibits to the recorded declaration." Florida Statutes 718.112 also provides other responsibilities of the board of directors.
Condo board service has been described and commented upon as follows.
- A thankless job. In the section titled "Reserves", the law firm who published this paper wrote that legislation passed in 2022 imposed "... personal liability on association officers and directors if they fail to comply with the milestone inspection and SIRS requirements. As many people know, serving on an association's board of directors is typically a thankless job. It is an unpaid position requiring constant communication with dissatisfied unit owners about why certain things regarding the building are either occurring or not occurring. Thus, board positions were already difficult to fill in many cases, and now it will likely be even harder to find volunteers willing to subject themselves to personal liability if the association fails or is unable to comply with the legislature's new directives."
- Oh Crap! I'm a New Board Member: What have I gotten myself into?
How to be a Good Board of Director
Being a good member of the board of directors of a Florida condominium requires a combination of knowledge, skills, and time. Here is a top 10 list of suggestions on how to be a good board of director at a Florida condominium.
These suggestions on how to be a good condo board member apply whether you actively campaigned to win a contested election for an open board seat or reluctantly agreed to fill an empty board position to help the association comply with the Florida Statutes in a community with high member apathy.
- Read the Governing Documents: Study the condominium's declaration, bylaws, articles of incorporation and rules and regulations at a minimum. Understand the rights and obligations of the board and individual unit owners.
- Attend Board Meetings: Regularly attend board meetings. Prepare for meetings by reviewing the agenda and relevant materials in advance. Actively participate in discussions and decision-making.
- Understand Florida Condominium Law: Familiarize yourself with Florida's condominium laws, particularly Chapter 718 of the Florida Statutes, which governs condominiums. Stay updated on any changes to the law and seek legal advice when necessary.
- Act in the Best Interest of the Community: Always prioritize the best interests of the condominium community. Make ethically sound decisions that enhance property values, promote harmonious living, and protect the rights and welfare of all residents while operating within the governing documents and Florida Statutes. Disclose any potential conflicts and recuse yourself from related decisions to ensure transparency and fairness. Respect privacy by maintaining strict confidentiality regarding sensitive or confidential matters.
- Collaborate and Build Consensus: Work collaboratively with fellow board members, seeking consensus whenever possible. Respect differing opinions and engage in constructive discussions to reach well-informed decisions.
- Communicate Effectively: Establish clear lines of communication with fellow board members, residents, and property management. Be responsive to inquiries, address concerns promptly, and provide regular updates to keep everyone informed.
- Acquire Financial Knowledge: Understand the condominium's financial statements, budgets, and reserve funds. Collaborate with the property management company and treasurer to ensure a sound understanding of the associations finances.
- Seek Professional Guidance: Consult professionals when needed. This includes attorneys, accountants, engineers, reserve study providers, property appraisers, and other experts who can provide specialized advice on legal, financial, or technical matters affecting the condominium.
- Encourage Resident Engagement: Foster a sense of community by encouraging resident involvement. Encourage feedback and suggestions, and ensure open channels of communication.
- Continuously Educate Yourself: Stay informed about emerging trends, industry best practices, and new legislation related to condominium management. Attend or watch videos of seminars, conferences, and training programs. Read articles published by reputable law firms. Listen to podcasts such as the excellent Take It Too The Board podcast, hosted by Becker lawyer Donna DiMaggio Berger.
The top 10 list of how to be a good member and owner of a florida condominium may also be useful.
Number of Board of Directors vs Units in the Association
A condo association's articles of incorporation and/or bylaws may show the number of board seats for the association. If these governing docs do not, FS 718.112 provides minimum board size requirements based on the number of units in the condominium.
The number of board seats along with the total number of units in the association may indicate the difficulty level of filling the board and operating the association.
Board Members Quitting
A pattern of board members that quit can indicate an association with operating problems. The association's board meeting minutes and membership meeting minutes could, and should, show all changes to the board of directors.
Since condo associations are generally required by Florida Statutes 718.111(1)(a) to be a Florida corporation. Florida condo associations file annual reports with the state and those records are available to the public through Florida Division of Corporations website sunbiz.org. Use the condo association's name (not the "property" name) to search for the association's annual reports and other corporate records.
Prospective condo buyers and owners can search sunbiz.org by the association's name to find images of the documents submitted to the state including annual reports. These annual reports will show the directors and officers.
Some Florida condo buyers wish they had understood the quality of a condo association's board of directors including members' willingness to serve on the board, as well as other aspects of how the board of directors had operated over the last several years.
Prospective Florida condo buyers should, if they don't understand how condo associations and the association board of director operate, engage licensed and reputable attorneys and advisors to guide their buying decision.