Give association troublemaker a job

Q: We have one homeowner who constantly disrupts our association meetings as well as sends letters to the other homeowners with false accusations regarding the actions of the board.

He has also filed six complaints with the state, all of which have been dismissed. Do you have any suggestions as to how to stop this owner?

A.H., Tampa

A: All associations have one owner, maybe two, who create problems as you describe. It is usually someone who needs to be put to work. The board can approach these people and ask them to work on a committee to solve a particular problem.

While this would give them input to the board, it also keeps them active.

You say he has made complaints to the state. Why not ask him to put his concerns in writing with what he would like to see as a correction and send it directly to the board? In other words, you are trying to give him input to the board and not avoid his concerns.

The board has a right to establish meeting policies that allow certain time periods when members can address the board. Establishing these policies would still allow him to talk but would limit him on the subject as found on the agendas. The board can also invite him to meetings where one or two of the directors are present, not the whole board. Let them talk and ask him what his solutions are to his problems.

Q: We live in a community with an HOA, condominium and master association. From each home and unit, a member is allowed to serve on the board with each household allowed one vote. Can both members of a household serve on the board recognizing that only one would have a vote?

A director is not permitted to solicit proxies, but can a spouse of a director seek proxies and vote? Can one spouse serve on the HOA and the other on the master board since the HOA Directors are the members of the master board and have a vote?

D.R., Miami

A: One needs to understand that voting for the members allows only one vote per home/unit. Serving on the board as a director is another matter as each director has one vote. Do not become confused with the members voting and the directors voting as they are two separate operations. Members vote at annual meetings and directors vote at board meetings.

Being a director does not limit their member’s rights. A director has every right as a member to solicit proxies and petitions. You do not give up rights or obligations when you were elected as a director. Boards have both directors and officers but only the directors vote. As an officer they have a first responsibility as a director and therefore they vote as a director not an officer. Just because your documents say you have one vote it does not limit nor restrict directors or officers from voting as members at annual meetings; they still have a vote as directors at board meetings.

As for two persons from the same home serving on the board, condominiums are restricted to only one member at a time but HOA statutes do not have this restriction. You are addressing three boards and you can have multiple owners serving on each of the three boards since they are separate entities. Think of each of these bodies as separate operations.

Q: Our documents clearly state “no trucks or boats may be parked or placed on any of the condominium property including limited common elements unless permitted by the Association.”

Our attorneys in the past told all previous boards that in order to allow trucks or boats, a vote of the full membership is required with 65 percent voting in favor. We have a new attorney and our board was informed they have the authority to change this to allow boats as long as they make a change to our rules and regulations.

We now have two rulings, which is correct?

B.P., Stuart

A: As you have found out, you have two attorneys with different opinions. The reason that you seek legal opinion from your attorney is to seek an answer that the attorney feels he can defend.

The final decision is with your board of directors. Its members have the responsibility to take information from professionals to make their decisions.

In my many years of answering questions I’ve found that people often keep asking the same question until they receive the answer they want. Your association apparently has a problem in which some owners want to park their boats on the property and they continue to ask the same question hoping to get a different answer.

I would recommend that you follow the advice to have the change to your documents voted on all the members. This way you can put the question to bed.