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Condo line: Can renters serve on the board?

Q: Our condominium documents state that a board member must be an owner, not a tenant. Most of our units are owned by snow birds or investors including absentee owners. Many of the renters are full-time and have lived here longer than three years. Some of our renters serve on committees. Few of the owners are willing to serve on the board. Can we have renters serve on the board and as officers since we have very few full-time residents?

P.M., Coconut Creek

A: While the condominium act and the corporation not-for-profit act have few restrictions on who can serve on the board, your documents are the controlling issue on this point. In order to allow renters to serve on the board, you must modify or remove this section in your documents.

I would suggest that the board or the members find out if the members wish to modify this requirement. If a majority of the owners are willing to remove this section, the board should contact an attorney about modifying the documents.

If the owners do not wish to modify the documents, you can reduce the number of directors on the board and engage professional help to accomplish the business and operations of the association. You still need for a board to be responsible and approve necessary business functions, but a manager, CPA or accountant, and employee staff can do the day-to-day activities. The board can reduce the number of its meetings.

It is a shame that you have so few owners who are willing to step up and serve on the board.

Q: I live in a 55+ community. A worker who was repairing something in my condominium unit received a speeding ticket as the worker departed our condominium. I received the $60 fine after going to a hearing. The Rules Enforcement Committee says it must uphold the fine and I am responsible for paying this ticket or must appeal it to board. Is there any way that I can work it so I will not have to pay this fine?

S.G., Pembroke Pines

A: Most documents state that all owners are responsible for their guests and anyone they invite into the community. This would include workers and vendors that come to your unit as well as family members and friends. It is your responsibility to make sure that all your guests and vendors comply with the rules.

Here are the requirements for communities and condominiums that fine: The documents must allow the board to fine owners for rules violations. The rules enforcement committee must be properly established and conducted by members that have no relations or connections with the board of directors — in other words, neutral members.

If it’s properly set up, the enforcement committee can impose a fine that you must pay. With the information provided, I cannot determine if the board or the committee properly imposed this fine. You must read your documents to determine if the condominium has the right to fine and if the members of the committee are in fact neutral members. Use this experience as a learning event.

Q: What are the Florida laws or requirements for having the minutes of all board meetings and monthly financial summaries posted and accessible to the homeowners? Our property management operates two portals: A confidential board portal, that only the board members can view and a resident’s portal for the homeowners. The resident portal has no link to click to review minutes or finance information.

J.M., Orlando

A: The statutes require a book of minutes be retained for seven years. There is no requirement for the board to directly provide members with copies or special postings. However, good operational procedures demand adequate communications to all owners. This would mean that copies of current minutes be available on a designated bulletin board or a community website or even in the monthly newsletter.

If an owner does not have access to these communications, they can request to view the minute book. If they want copies the board can charge a nominal copy fee.

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

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