Condo Line

Get legal guidance to make changes

Q. I cannot believe I am back on the board of directors of my condominium. The board wants me to rewrite our rules and regulations with respect to delinquencies. I have obtained copies of delinquency letters used in the past and information from our attorney on suggested changes. However, I want more in the changes than I have received. In a recent column you refer to a census. We do not have copies of many of the owners’ driver licenses on file. Is that reliable data for the census requirement?

J.H., Pinellas Park

If you plan to change or modify your documents, you need legal guidance. Those types of alterations will require your members to vote on the modifications. If you are referring to “board” or “house” rules or policies, that only requires a board vote. Before rules or policies are approved by the board, I suggest that you have your attorney to review the new rules or policies to determine whether they can be enforced.

What I have suggested in the past is to have several policies for different actions by the board. They would include, but not be limited to: collections, inspections and architecture policies, meetings, rule enforcements, and security and emergency actions. Since policies are created and approved by the board, they can be modified as needed by a simple board vote.

As to the census, that is a requirement only in adult communities (55+ associations). Every other year the board must have all owners or residents sign a simple affidavit by one resident in each home and provide a proof of age copy. Driver’s license is one of the documents that provide this information. Q. We have a secretary who is never in a hurry to post the minutes. When he does the minutes just before the next meeting, he refuses to make corrections. I am asking how long after the meeting the minutes should be posted. What liability does the board face for posting incorrect minutes and keeping them on file?

R.R., St. Petersburg

It is recommended that a first draft be completed in two to three days for directors to review. While these draft minutes can be posted for members to read, I suggest they be reviewed by the directors to correct errors beforehand. They should be marked as draft, unapproved or similar words. One of the statute requirements is found in FS 617.1601 and FS 617.1602. In so many words, the minutes should be published as soon as possible for the directors to review. This is nothing more than to allow directors to remember the events of the meeting. The sooner, the better. If the secretary is not providing the service that the board wants, then replace him at the next board meeting. Officers can be replaced at any board meeting by a vote of the majority of the directors.

Q. The president wants to establish as part of our reserves a fund to cover the deductible on our insurance. I am opposed to this fund and ask the manager if it is common in other condominiums. She said it was not common. Is the board permitted to do this without member approval? I do not feel that the board should impose an expense that is not needed to properly run the condominium.

E.G., Clearwater

Budgets and expenses are the responsibility of the condominium board of directors, not the members. Statutes require that the board establish a reserve budget to include a line item for painting, roofing and paving. They are also required to include any item that has a value of over $10,000. If the board wants to include any other item that has a future expense, regardless of value, it can establish a line item for that as well. While other condominium boards do not establish such a fund, from a business standpoint it sounds like a good idea. Deductibles in today’s economy are extremely high. If you have such a fund, you can increase the insurance deductible and save insurance costs. The question should require that you talk to the insurance agent and find out how much future coverage will cost if you increase your deductibles.

Write to Condo Line, Richard White, 6039 Cypress Gardens Blvd., #201, Winter Haven, FL 33884-4115, or e-mail Include name and city.

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