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Electing a condominium board

March 15, 2011

Q: I'm new to living in a condominium and all the talk around the pool seems to be about the upcoming election of the board. What is this about?

A: Serving on the board of administration, usually called the board of directors, or simply "the board" is important because board members have significant responsibilities and fiduciary duties to the members of the association. The developer appointed the original board but after turnover, the board of directors of a condominium association must be elected by the process presented in FS Chapter 718 and Rule 61B-23.0021 of the Florida Administrative Code. Members elect board members as provided for in the governing documents and pursuant to the governing statutes.

Those who seek election to the board must be at least 18 years of age and a natural person, not a legal entity such as a corporation. The person must be able to hold the public's trust and confidence. Also, officers and directors must not be more than 90 days delinquent in their regular assessments.

Condominium associations are corporations and business law re-quires at least one director for any corporation. In the absence of a provision in the association documents, the condominium act requires a minimum of five directors. The governing documents may require more than the minimum associations with fewer than five units may have only three. The term of a board member is one year but the term of someone appointed to fill a vacancy is the remainder of the unexpired term. Sometimes governing documents provide for a 2-year term and staggered elections.

There is a secret ballot process for the membership election of the board. The first notice of elections must be provided at least 60 days prior to annual meetings and the second notice not less than 14 days and not more than 34 days before the election. The second notice must include the detailed agenda and election materials.

A candidate's notice of a desire to run must be received by the association no less than 40 days before the election. Candidates must provide their information sheets no later than 15 days before. If the number of candidates is equal to or less than the number of vacancies, the ballot process is not necessary.

The election process requires members be identified. In order to do this, the roster of members, including names, unit number, address and telephone number, must be current and updated up to and including on the day of the meeting. The roster should be available for inspection by any member or his duly authorized representative and should be available on the day of the election.

The election materials must include: an outer envelope with preprinted return address, a signature line and unit identification; the ballot with instructions for voting, a candidate list in alphabetical order by last name, a copy of the candidate information sheet and a blank inner envelope in which he ballot must be placed and sealed. These are counted at the meeting.

Attorney Sylvia Heldreth is a Certified Specialist in Real Estate Law. Her office is located at 1215 Miramar St. in Cape Coral.

This article is not intended as specific legal advice to anyone and is based upon facts that change from time to time. Individuals should seek legal counsel before acting upon any matter involving the law.



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