Unhappy with management firm

Q: As an owner not on the board of my homeowners association, I have taken time to research the community association managers’ (CAM) educational requirements. The educational hours required are very small compared to other professionals that are licensed real estate agents.

In the past three years our board has changed management several times. The property management companies do not appear to have a system of quality control in place to supervise their on-site managers. We had several rules violations that are not being enforced and tenants/renters are not being properly screened. The landscape company is not supervised by the manager, and landscape schedules are not being followed. We see a downfall in the appearance of our community. What can be done to upgrade the quality of management?

G.S., Orlando

A: The directors that you and the members elected to the board are 100 percent responsible for seeing that the community is well-maintained and properly operated. The board is responsible for seeing that the management company it engages is qualified and performs the contracted services. The board can engage management to assist it in day-to-day activities, but the board must supervise to see that management is performing its assigned duties.

You are correct that the limited number of hours required for a manager trainee may not properly train a person to be a proficient CAM. To stay current the state requires additional hours of study each year. Also, experience will make a CAM a better manager.

When you address management companies, you must take into consideration their business operations and management. A private company has its own business plans, which are not necessarily regulated by the state.

The answer to your final question: The quality of management is the responsibility of the board.

Q: Over the last year and a half the condominium has been reroofing our complex. It seems that they stop and start irregularly. I have serious water damage to my unit. I have tried numerous times to communicate with the board. I’ve even talked with the contractor without any solution to my problems.

I am at the point where I feel that I need a legal solution. When I expressed this to the president, he and the roofing contractor said they are engaging an attorney as well. I need advice as to what type of attorney is necessary for me to engage.

C.A., Fort Lauderdale

A: The attorney should have association experience. There are several sources that you can use to locate an association attorney. If you search the Yellow Pages under association law, you can probably find attorneys who specialize in association law.

You can also contact your local Community Association Institute Chapter for recommendations. Most association attorneys are members of this professional association. On the website, a list of Florida Association attorneys is available. This magazine will also list local chapters as well as other professional associations dealing with condominiums and homeowner associations.

Q: At our recent annual meeting we elected five new directors. Shortly after the meeting, two of the directors resigned. At the next board meeting only two directors showed up and they considered that they had a quorum to conduct business. I objected saying that three directors were considered a quorum. Was I correct?

M.R., Hollywood

A: The statutes say that when a director vacancy occurs, it must be filled immediately. The word immediate in so many words means at the next board meeting. It should be one of the first items on the agenda. That would mean that once a director has been selected and approved, that director would join the board immediately.

On the same subject, say you have a board of five directors and they all resigned at the same time. The last director cannot resign but must meet to appoint four new directors; then he can resign. In this case the quorum to appoint would be one.

I also read into your question the possibility that members of the community do not volunteer to be on the board. In this case there are two possibilities to continue. One is called receivership and the other is to continue with three directors. Both are bad choices for the members. Capital receivership is when the courts become involved and that means higher fees to pay for legal and receivership costs.

To answer your question about the quorum, it would depend on the situations I described. The two members could have appointed new directors. If they did not, they should reschedule the meeting immediately to appoint new directors.