Q. I am single, no kids and 51 years old. I am looking to buy a condominium in Florida. The area where I want to live has many 55 and older age restrictions. Is it possible to place an offer with the contingency that the board will accept a resident who is under 55?
C.H., St. Petersburg
The age restriction is based on residency and not ownership. Yes, the board can approve an underage purchaser; however, you would not be able to live in the community until you turn 55. Or you could have someone who is 55 or older live with you in the unit. I suggest that you look elsewhere for your new home that is not in an adult community.
Q. We live in an RV park that is owned by an investor/manager. He advertises that we are a 55-plus park, but he allows residents to move into the park who are under 55. Recently he allowed a family with a 2-year-old to move into the park. He said that if we challenged his actions, he would hire an attorney, at our expense. We know that something like 20 percent can be under the age of 55 and that seems to be the problem. Can you give us advice?
The Adult Community Law applies to not only condominiums, HOA, cooperatives, but also to mobile home parks and rental properties, including apartments. The law was established to be an exemption from age discrimination laws. The Housing for Older Persons Act of 1995 in the most simple words says that one person living in each home/unit must be 55 or older and no one under the age of 18 can reside in the home. It further says that if the primary person who is 55 or older dies, then the surviving residents can remain in the home even if they are not 55. In this scenario, the home is counted as part of the 20 percent of residents under 55. This percentage is not to be used to allow families that do not have a senior person who is 55 or older to move into the community. That one family you refer to now restricts the owner from using the adult community exemption. Q. Our board minutes are not available to members until after they are approved at the following board meeting. In fact, copies are not made available except on a web page after they have been approved. Is this reasonable?
Most people do not understand the purpose of minutes and how they are used. They record the business conducted and create a legal document to prove it. They should be written in a method that can be easily read by a judge if they are needed to prove a court case. That means recording only the business conducted, just the facts and not the details. A secondary purpose of minutes is to inform attendees and non-attendees of the meeting. As to when they should be made available to members, as soon as possible, marked as “not approved,” “draft” or similar words. The board does not need to provide free hard copies to the members, but it does need to allow inspection if a member so requests. I suggest that a bulletin board or web page be established and the draft minutes be made available within a couple of days after the meeting. I have a saying that for every hour of meeting, the minutes should be one page. In other words, keep them simple and limited to the facts. The statutes require that minutes be retained in a minute book. Members can request to view this book by sending the board a request to see the minutes. If they want copies, then the board can charge a reasonable copy cost.