Q. At the last board meeting in our condominium, the board announced a new policy covering the event of a personal conflict with a neighbor. We are instructed to first call the police if the situation becomes violent and then if it is not resolved, report the matter in writing to the board. It was the consensus of the board that members need to address problems with another resident individually. I am appalled at this policy and can see many problems. What if the neighbor is intoxicated? We have a management company — is this — not an issue they should handle?
Since the manager and board members are rarely witness to neighborly disturbances, they become a third party. As such, they are limited to enforce or take sides in the dispute and they have no powers to resolve it. Also, there could be a liability exposure if they intervene and someone is injured or property is damaged. You may think that the board and manager are on duty 24 hours a day. If board members serve at will without any compensation, there is no requirement that they be available at odd hours. As to the manager, while compensated, most will not respond after hours except for emergencies.As to your example of a drunk, say he was swinging a knife and making threatening gestures. If you called the board or manager, what could they do? Don’t you think calling police would result in faster action? The board and manager have limited enforcement powers.
Q. As a condominium owner, do I have the authority to request an independent audit? Do members have the authority to request meetings? Currently we only have one a year.
While a member can send a written request for copies of financial reports, the board is responsible for them and audits. For the board’s protection as well as members’, it should have a third party complete the reports and proper financial reports. You will find the list of “Official Records” that members have a right to view and copy in FS 718.111. A member who wishes to view or copy the records should send a letter with the request as to specific records and dates. An appointment should be made by the board for you to review the records. If you want copies, the board can charge a per page copy cost. This section also requires the board to complete an annual financial report. This report should be free to any owner within 120 days of its completion, thereafter a copy charge may be applied.
Here is what the statute says about reports: An association with total annual revenues of less than $100,000 shall prepare a report of cash receipts and expenditures. An association with total annual revenues of $100,000 or more, but less than $200,000, shall prepare compiled financial statements. An association with total annual revenues of at least $200,000, but less than $400,000, shall prepare reviewed financial statements. An association with total annual revenues of $400,000 or more shall prepare audited financial statements.
As an owner, you can request that the board call for a vote to prepare an audit. Just be aware that there is a cost for the reports. In addition, the board should complete a report every month or every other month. This is more of a comparison of the expenses and income compared to the budget schedule.
As to meetings, you can send a letter to the board asking that it discuss the question you want answered. Keep in mind that the board has the responsibility to operate the association and meetings are for that reason. As such most decision, motions and reports are made then. Matters of variations to common areas or changes to documents would require members to vote at members’ or annual meetings and you can request such a meeting but you must have other members sign your letter or petition. Also, with such modifications or changes, you should have an attorney review the petition and modifications.