Q. We requested an agenda item to be included at the next condominium board meeting. I know the information was conveyed to the board but the board dismissed the item without any discussion or vote. In our 2011 reserve budget, they included repaving a parking lot that is listed as a limited area parking lot. Our documents do not specifically address limited common areas but the statutes do. They say that a limited common element shall be maintained by those entitled to use the limited common elements. Should this be a reserve item? It seems to me that if an owner has rights to a limited element and the statutes say they must maintain them, Why should the other owners pay for paving?— J.F.
St. PetersburgA. I read two parts to your question. The first is the agenda question. The board has a responsibility to operate and maintain the condominium. An owner with a question or request does not have the right to demand an item be discussed at a board meeting. Owners do have a right to send a letter requesting an answer to a question but that would be outside not during board meetings. Your question really involves the maintenance of limited common areas/common elements. Understand that the section you refer to in the statutes places an obligation on the unit owner who has a limited common area assigned to their unit. That obligation does not include the total repairs or replacement as the limited common elements wear out. It places an obligation on the unit owner to use the area properly and in so many words keep the area clean and safe. The board has the responsibility to maintain all common elements and that includes those that are limited to specific units. From the information provided, it appears that the board has properly included the parking paving in the reserve budget.
Q. I live in a mobile home community that is an adult community. In the past, no person under 55 could buy in our community. Recently sales have been made to families that are less than 55 years old. In fact, one young lady has a 4-year-old girl living in our neighborhood. I want to know what my rights are as when I purchased my home I did so thinking we would not be disturbed by children.— R.M.
RiverviewA. If your park is a rental community, you need to address the question with the park manager or the park owner. If you are a HOA, cooperative or condominium, you need to address the problem with the board of directors. If the facts are correct and the manager/owner or the board has allowed this to happen, they have violated the adult community status. If they do not correct the underage residents, your community cannot restrict young residents in the future. I would suggest that you talk to your neighbors about the problem, and you and your neighbors send letters to address the problem to the board or manager/owner. Ask them to correct the error and establish correctly that you are an adult community. Briefly, the federal and state laws require that one resident in each home be 55 years old or older and no resident be under the age of 18 years. There are other requirements but this seems to be the problem you address.
Q. Our homeowners' documents say we need 50 percent of the membership present in order to vote on issues. We never have 50 percent present but the meetings use the members present and proceed as if we have a quorum. I feel that this is not in accordance with our bylaws and any such vote is not valid. Would you have any thoughts on the process?— J.B.
TampaA. FS 720.306 says that a quorum of members for HOA is 30 percent. This would override your bylaw 50 percent requirement. I feel the need to discuss the difference between a board meeting and a members' meeting. At a board meeting, only a quorum of directors are needed to conduct a meeting and that does require 50 percent of the directors to be present. The members present for a board meeting have no requirement as to quorum. In a members' or annual meeting, you need 30 percent present or by proxy to be a valid members meeting. The other question I have is what are you voting on at a members meeting? Normally the board has the responsibility to conduct business affairs of the association and establish policies in board meetings. If your members are voting on operational matters or business affairs, then the board is not fulfilling their responsibilities. Then it leads me to the other question, why the members do not take more interest in the association's affairs? Sounds to me something must be done to get them interested. Is it the board's obligation to get them involved or is it the members themselves that needs to get the word out. It is both and that means that your need to become involved to get your neighbors involved and get the board active in better communications.
Q. We have water leakage problems in our building as it is more than 25 years old. Does the rule of owner's responsibility still apply to damaged walls? The condominium has always assumed responsibility for leaks in common pipes and the owners take responsibility if the leak comes in his unit. Are we correct?— E.B.
DunedinA. First check your documents to see if they have different requirements. Most documents do not require the association to do more than replace unfinished drywall. Regardless of the source of the water, each party would be responsible for their own repairs for the loss and damage. A better source for this information would be your association attorney and your insurance agent. That brings up a point that I have made in previous columns. That is the requirement for an owner to be insured. About seven years ago, the state changed the statutes and required each owner to buy property insurance. That law was changed and owners are not required to provide their own insurance. That, however, does not relieve the owner from paying for their own loss. If water comes from another source but damages a unit, the owner would be responsible for their own loss. How much simpler it is if they have insurance to cover the loss.