Q. Our condominium is a 55 and older community. The board sent out a notice to vote at the next members’ meeting to make the community smoke-free. This would include not only the common areas and unit balconies, but also inside the units. I wrote back that I felt that I should be grandfathered in because I, along with several other owners, smoke. I was sent a letter reporting that the association’s attorney would provide me with the information but to this date, I have not received any answer. What are my rights? How would this affect renters?
N.V., C learwater
To enforce a rule, the final answer will come from a judge. Attorneys will only provide guidance as to enforcement. It would be my belief, which has little value, that you, renters and other occupants have a right to be grandfathered in for the rule change. When you sell or the lease is terminated, future residents would need to comply with the document change.
Q. Our condominium has a rule that rentals must be 30 days or longer. When the building was built, some of the first owners were allowed to rent for one week. This was granted by the developer in writing before the condominium was turned over to residents. Recently several owners requested that the documents be modified to allow rentals be reduced to one week. An attorney was engaged and provided the process to modify the documents. A board meeting was called and we only had the exact number of directors to have a quorum. During the meeting one of the directors departed but gave his proxy to another member. Is it valid to proceed without the required directors present? The matter was tabled to be discussed at the next board meeting. But the president called a special board meeting to vote on the modification. Is it proper to call the special board meeting? Can anything be done about the action taken?
W.M., Vero Beach
A modification to the documents usually requires the members to vote, not the directors. It appears that you run your board meetings as a members’ meeting. There is a difference between the two. The board would have the right to vote to present the modification to the members and have the members vote on the amendment. At a board meeting a director cannot vote by proxy. At a members’ meeting, proxies are allowed for voting on issues; however, in condominiums, proxies are not allowed in elections.
It appears that you disagree with the process to modify the rental policy. It is a political matter and you must step up and disagree with the process. Do this by talking to neighbors and writing letters to the board. If you find that you have support, then you and your supportive neighbors can vote against the change. If you are in the minority, one choice that I do not recommend is to sue the condominium. The other choice is to run for the board at the next election.Q. We live in a mobile home cooperative park under FS 719. Our shares are a 99-year lease that lists a home site number. It does not contain any physical description or lot lines. The board says we own no land, as it is all common ground. Do I own any land with my lease? Are we not supposed to have an annual meeting independent of the board?
C.P., Palm Harbor
You address a title question. There are three types of associations and each has different ownership titles. Condominium title includes ownership of a unit (air space) and an UNDIVIDED interest of the common areas. Homeowner association (HOA) title is ownership of a lot and a REQUIRED membership in an association. The HOA association owns the common area. A typical cooperative is a corporation that owns all the land and individual ownership is evidenced by a share and a PROPRIETARY lease. Therefore, cooperative ownership is evidenced by the share and occupancy is evidenced by the lease.
Most cooperative owners do not have direct title to land. What they have is a share of the corporation that owns the land and a lease that allows them rights to occupy the land. The style of property usually has no basis as to title such as a townhome or single family home, as they can fall under any type of association.
A cooperative must have an annual meeting at which time directors are elected. If a member has a problem or question, the annual meeting (also called a members’ meeting) is not the place to seek solutions unless you write the board of directors in advance. To determine how you operate, you need to read your association documents and study your deed or in your situation in the proprietary lease and share to determine the type of association you have. You also need to understand the statutes that you fall under. Condominiums fall under FS 718, Cooperative under FS 719, HOA under FS 720, and timeshares and rental mobile home communities have their own statutes.