We have been blindsided at board meetings by angry association members. The rest of the board is confused by their anger as we had no knowledge of the letters sent to the members.
How can we control this one director before she puts us in harm’s way and we are hit with a lawsuit from an association member? Rules are for all — not just for members who have an issue with some residents.
PA, Tampa Bay
The board as a whole must vote on any such actions and a majority of the directors rule. The condominium statues say that no one person can take private action without the approval of the board. This would mean that the director is in violation of the state statutes if she is taking unilateral action.
Recently a homeowner sent a request for the same enclosure addition. The committee turned it down due to personal tastes, not adhering to consistency of past committees. Is not that previous “enclosure” change now “grandfathered” for the entire community? The architectural review committees, as you suggested, has never published a booklet of approved changes. This should have been started 10 years ago.
If the architectural review committee has the power to refuse a request, then the owner has a right to petition the board for a review and reversal of the committee’s decision. In your case the owner should find out why the request was rejected and what they can do to have it accepted. Maybe they were using a color or material that the committee feels is not acceptable.
If the submission was of similar style and color to those installed, the owner may claim “selective enforcement.” If there is no formal policy in place that was approved by past boards and the board fails to approve the similar addition, the owner may seek legal guidance and sue the board. The key question that must be answered is why was the submission refused and what action did the board play?
The new board president says we do not have the legal right to regulate the color of anything inside the unit. Do we need to remove this rule?
Here is a short lesson on how to promulgate rules. There should be a specific need to create a new rule. To make a new rule just because someone thinks that there is a need to pass a rule is not justification. Unnecessary rules create too many complications and result in undue backlash.
The first step is to determine if we have the power to create the rule. Second step: define the problem. Step three: Ascertain if a new rule is necessary. Step four: Determine what results are desired. Step five: Determine if a new rule will conflict with an existing rule or other provisions of the association documents and statutes. Step six: Determine if the rule will be reasonable and not arbitrary or capricious. Step seven: Determine if the rule will be enforceable and what powers will be required to enforce it. Final step: To get the members involved in creating the rule, you must get the members of the community involved in all phases of the rulemaking process.
From the information provided, it appears that board did not have the power to make and enforce this rule. It does not appear to be a problem for the condominium but was a concern of certain board members. If this is true, this was not a valid reason for such a rule.
From your question, it appears that you are talking about the board recording the meetings. In this case, if the board formally records the meeting in order to process the minutes and then erases the tapes, they are not considered to be formal records. If the tapes are retained they become permanent records and can be reviewed upon written request by the members. If a member records the meeting, he should notify the board of the recording but he does not need approval.
If the board has a procedure to record the meetings, all it has to do is notify the members in a board meeting once that they will be recording all meetings. The board does not need to notify the members at each meeting. In addition, the board should notice the members that the recordings are for the purpose of producing minutes and are not permanent records or that they are permanent records for the association.
Keeping in mind that the duties of the committee are usually to answer questions and provide solutions to problems. Committees usually do not have agendas; their task is to address a specific issue. There is no quorum requirement for a committee meeting, and any person should be allowed to attend.
There are a couple of exceptions and requirements such as a budget committee and a screening committee. You also have a fining committee that no board member should attend. Most committees do not fall under these strict provisions. I see nothing wrong in the president being the liaison between the committee and the board in most cases.