Q. We recently held an election for the board of directors. There were five candidates for four positions. Two of the candidates submitted information sheets that were included in the meeting package. Three others never submitted an information sheet. The candidates elected were the three that did not submit information sheets and one that did. After the election, I asked the president to see the three information sheets because they were not included in the mailing. The president said that information was not mandatory and they never received them from the three candidates. I question the ethics and legality of the election of the two candidates who did not submit the information sheets regardless of their qualifications and platform for the office. Can owners request another election?
R.C., St. Petersburg
Here is what FS 718.112 says about information sheets, “Upon request of the candidate…” and “The association is not liable for the content of the information sheet…” Thus, the information sheet is a volunteer submission by a candidate and could include false information if he or she does submit said sheet. It is good that you want to know more about the candidates but the information sheet is only one minor source. My guess is that the three candidates are well known in the community and did not feel that they needed a position paper. No, members do not have the right to request a new election except by recall method.
Q. Our HOA has an election once a year. This year there were five candidates for five positions. Is it still necessary to issue ballots to members? Can the five be elected without a paper ballot?
HOA documents dictate how elections are conducted. This is contrary to condominiums, as the statutes dictate the election requirements. . Most HOA documents say that nominations can be made from the floor at the meeting. If that happens, then you will need a ballot. If not, then the ballot may not be needed to elect the candidates if those named are equal or less than the number of open director positions. There are several ways to record the election in the minutes. The one that I prefer is to have the secretary cast and record one vote in the minutes for the candidates. No election is necessary if you do not have more candidates than the open positions. If your documents say that you can have nominations from the floor, then I would have a ballot available.
Q. I live in a mobile home community where we pay rent on a lot to a management company for a holding company. I live at the end of the street, where the lot was filled in by the park adjacent to a holding pond. Due to the settling of the lot we have experienced structural damage to our mobile home. I have reported the sinkhole to management and our insurance because we have sinkhole coverage. The adjustor inspected the sinkhole only to say it was the park’s responsibility to stabilize the lot before our damage would be covered. It now appears that our neighbor has similar problems. To date, management has been of no help to solve our problem. What is your recommendation?
Recent news of sinkhole damage has created numerous reports of settling events. Most are not sinkholes but just a settling of land. I suggest you send a certified letter addressed to the park owners with the details of the problem. You can send a copy to management for its information. It may be necessary to engage an attorney but that is a step you would need to take if park owners and management do not take action.
If you live near a pond or body of water, you may expect certain settling of the land under or around your home. If the property was filled land, the problem can be a greater settling and damage to the home.