What happened to our annual meeting?

Q: I would like your opinion on whether or not an association must have an annual meeting. As of now, the last annual meeting in our HOA was in March 2012. FS 720 states that the association “shall” conduct an annual meeting. Our current board and property management company are of the opinion that you only have to try to have one. If a quorum is not reached then the annual meeting is not held and no attempt is made to schedule another meeting.

That does not sound to me like that is correct or proper. Our documents also state that the HOA will have an annual meeting. What is your take on this?

J.D., Sanford

A: FS 720.306 says that a quorum for an annual meeting shall be 30 percent of the members. If you cannot get one third of the members to attend a meeting your community is doomed.

Only the members can correct this problem. The board’s duty is to call and schedule an annual meeting once a year. If the members take the attitude of letting others “do the work,” then they deserve what they receive. It is my belief that this is the biggest problem with citizens and members today.

I receive hundreds of questions weekly that make the same statements — they are not happy with the board or the board is not doing the work correctly. If you are not happy about something as a member, then get off your couch and do something about it.

In the case of your annual meeting, did you go knock on doors and ask your neighbors to attend the meeting? If you take a proxy with you, ask them to sign the proxy. Remember, you only need 30 percent to attend in person or by proxy.

Q: We needed a new roof for our home and wanted to upgrade to a metal roof from the shingle roof that we had. Our board would not approve the metal roof, stating in the bylaws that our roof could only be replaced with shingle or tile. Within the community our clubhouse has a metal roof of the same type that we wanted to put on our home. Do we have a case to have the association replace our shingle roof with a metal roof?

J.G., Naples

A: If your documents limit changing your roof materials, you must comply with the documents. The roof should be of similar style, material, and color.

The only way that you can change this is to modify the documents. This would require a membership vote to modify and change the architectural requirements.

Such a change would begin by a request from members to the board by petition. The board would then seek to find if a majority of members wish to continue with this change. Then the board would seek legal guidance to ensure that they have the power and the right for such modifications to the documents. At a members or annual meeting the members would then vote to modify the documents and allow changes to the architectural requirements.

Q: I live in a community where more than half the residents are “snowbirds.” My community is a gated community. The bylaws say no hurricane shutters can be placed on your home unless a named storm is approaching the area. Then we have 10 days to remove them.

Why can’t we put on hurricane shutters every hurricane season — especially those who live up north during the summer? I would think there would be a law that would override any homeowners’ bylaws and covenants. Can you provide any light on this subject?

M.D., Vero Beach

A: This is a question that I receive each year at the beginning of hurricane season. Not only do many community documents restrict the placement of hurricane shutters during the entire hurricane season, many counties and cities have codes restricting permanent placement of shutters except during storm warnings.

From a personal viewpoint, I live year-round and dislike seeing my neighbor’s home boarded-up.

As a snowbird it would be nice for you to leave your home shuttered and protected but it is an eyesore, a magnet for criminal activity, and really devalues your property. From your viewpoint you are taking the easy way out of protecting your property but in truth other factors can cause damage.

No, I do not believe that the state would change a law to allow you to shutter your home and leave for the summer.