Q. We requested an agenda item to be included at the next condominium board meeting. I know the information was conveyed to the board but the board dismissed the item without any discussion or vote.
In our 2011 reserve budget, they included repaving a parking lot that is listed as a limited area parking lot. Our documents do not specifically address limited common areas but the statues say that a limited common element shall be maintained by those entitled to use the limited common elements. Should this be a reserve item? It seems to me that if an owner has rights to a limited element and the statutes say they must maintain them, why should the other owners pay for paving?
J.F., St. Petersburg
Your question has two parts. The first is the agenda question. An owner with a question or request does not have the right to demand an item be discussed at a board meeting. Owners do have a right to send a letter requesting an answer to a question but that would be outside board meetings.
Your question really involves the maintenance of limited common areas/common elements. Understand that the section you refer to in the statutes places an obligation on the unit owner who has a limited common area assigned to their unit. That obligation does not include the total repairs or replacement as the limited common elements wear out. It places an obligation on the unit owner to use the area properly and in so many words keep the area clean and safe. The board has the responsibility to maintain all common elements and that includes those that are limited to specific units. From the information provided, it appears that the board has properly included the parking paving in the reserve budget.Q. For many years, until 2008, our condominium provided a directory that included names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses of renters as well as owners. Now the board tells us that privacy laws prohibit a directory. What information can the board provide to let us know the names of our neighbors?
Yes there is a problem with an open address directory. It can lead to liability if the information gets into the wrong hands. Once the board publishes a directory and circulates it to the members, then the association has no control over the information published in the directory and it can go anyplace. A possible solution is a web-placed directory that requires a password; members who wish to post could upload their information here. Such a web site would be valuable to the board and members as a place to post association information such as the documents, rules, and meeting minutes.
Q. I live in a condominium complex of several buildings, each with its own Blue Book. The building I live in is pet friendly. The Blue Book says that an owner can move in to the building with a dog but cannot replace the dog when the dog dies. Over the years this rule has not been enforced.
Our current board decided to start enforcing the rule and called a special meeting for this purpose. Although the individual directors were against the rule, they voted to start enforcing it after so many years of neglect. They discussed the grandfathering of those with pets.
Are dog owners being discriminated against? How can owners remove this rule from the Blue Book? Would you suggest that we hire an attorney to accomplish these changes?
For those who do not know, the Blue Book refers to the documents and the rules and regulations.
I will answer the last question first. Yes, engage an attorney. The power of rules is the right of enforceability. That is the question, how do you enforce a rule? The board has powers to enforce rules but it has limits. The one action allowed is to send letters to the violator and demand that they comply with the rules. If the documents allow, they can fine the owner.
Beyond these two actions, the board has no other enforcement powers. Their next step is to turn the matter over to an attorney to take legal action. If the attorney cannot get the owner to comply, then the board must approve court action. In the end, the judge is the final enforcer.
As to the question of discrimination, no because the was written in the documents — your Blue Book — and you should have known of the rule.
I would suggest that the owners vote to remove this rule as it has not been enforced for years. Such a situation would provide any violator with the defense of laches in court (meaning the rule was abandoned). Thus, I would suggest that the board seek legal guidance on how to proceed.