Florida Condominium Association Frequently Asked Questions and Answers Sheet

Today’s post will be short and sweet.

According to Rule 61B-23.002 of the Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.), each condominium association must prepare and maintain a Frequently Asked Questions and Answers (FAQ) sheet.  The FAQ sheet must be updated every 12 months. To aid in compliance, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) created F.A.C. Form CO 6000-4, a fill-able PDF consisting of 7 questions relating to unit owner voting rights, maintenance fees and association on-going legal issues. Associations may create their own FAQ sheet but it must be similar in form and substance to CO 6000-4. Compliance couldn’t be easier and yet this rule is often overlooked.

If your association is professionally managed, make sure your LCAM has updated your FAQ sheet and has it available to current owners and potential buyers. The FAQ sheet must be maintained as part of the association’s official records.

As always, we are available to answer any questions you may have.

Emily

Emily Shaw is a condominium homeowner in Tampa, Florida and a Director of VERA Property Management, a full-service community association management and consulting firm serving the Tampa Bay Area.

40 Responses to Florida Condominium Association Frequently Asked Questions and Answers Sheet

  1. One incumbent told a candidate running in the 2014 condo elections that they are permitted to received 10% in proceeds from a contractor. Is this possible? Thank you.

    • Hi Joan –

      I believe you are asking whether or not board members are allowed to receive kickbacks (e.g., a condo board member receives 10% of the cost of a job from a contractor if the association approves that contractor’s proposal of services). Is this correct? If so, then the answer to your questions is a resounding NO. Board members may not receive any form of compensation for their service to the association. It is against the law and board members may be subject to financial penalties for violating this law.

      Per Florida Statute 718.111(1)(a): “An officer, director, or manager may not solicit, offer to accept, or accept any thing or service of value for which consideration has not been provided for his or her own benefit or that of his or her immediate family, from any person providing or proposing to provide goods or services to the association. Any such officer, director, or manager who knowingly so solicits, offers to accept, or accepts any thing or service of value is subject to a civil penalty pursuant to s. 718.501(1)(d).”

      I hope this answers your question.

      Emily

  2. Hi: My condo charge me $300.00 for repair a fire sensor in front of the elevator which was broken by the personel delivering furniture. Even I wasn’t home but association claim they were coming to my home. Can they do that? Thank you

    • Hi Robert –

      This is pretty common. Associations generally hold unit owners responsible for damage caused to the common elements by the unit owners, their guests or their vendors. Most governing documents or association rules & regulations have language to this effect. The unit owner would then look to the guest or vendor who caused the damage for reimbursement.

      Chapter 718.111(11)(j)(1) states that a unit owner is responsible “for the costs of repair or replacement of any portion of the condominium property not paid by insurance proceeds if such damage is caused by intentional conduct, negligence, or failure to comply with the terms of the declaration or the rules of the association by a unit owner, the members of his or her family, unit occupants, tenants, guests, or invitees, without compromise of the subrogation rights of the insurer.”

      A furniture delivery man who breaks a fire sensor may fall within this statute.

      Based on your comment, it seems that there may be some uncertainty as to whether or not the furniture delivery was for you. Is that right? If you did not have any furniture delivered then the association would have no right to charge you.

      Thanks,

      Emily

  3. Hi Emily,
    In our upcoming election, I suspect fraud. First, a director re-running for office claimed at a “Meet the candidates night” that she is a Florida License Real Estate agent. It is stated on her resume as well . In checking the most current list at, myfloridalicense.com, her name does not show up. Second, two directors allegedly are telling unit owners how to vote on their ballot. How do I go about resolving these issues? Many thanks for all your help in the past. I am so grateful

    • Hi Joan,

      Good to hear from you again. Happy to help! Regarding the candidate lying about a Real Estate license, the only thing I can think of for you to do in that situation is bring it to the attention of other board members and unit owners. If it turns out that you are right and she blatantly lied, then you may be able to get enough support for a recall vote. Regarding your second point, I’m not sure that this is an issue. If a board member essentially wants to campaign for themselves and other candidates there is nothing stopping them from doing that. For example, as a board president, if a unit owner asked me directly who I should vote for in an upcoming election, I might encourage them to vote for all the current board members (including myself) because we work well together. Where an issue arises is if your property manager is telling people how to vote.

      Let me know if you’d like to discuss further.

      Thanks,

      Emily

  4. Hi Emily
    My association has maintained a rather large amount of money in the bank for several years in two separate accounts. We do not have a funded reserve that has to be accounted for. Anytime someone requests specific information in a format or of a detail that the association does not usually provide the answers are very vague and evasive and the requested information is never provided.
    I was on the board for 6 years and could not get answers myself and have long suspect fraud between the president and management company.
    My question is:
    Do condo associations have to refund surplus funds if requested?
    Does this option have to be on the proxy ballot at the annual meeting?

    Thanks
    Rick

    • Hi Rick –

      Thanks for reaching out and I am sorry to hear that you aren’t getting much transparency from your association. That is a far too common issue. Remember that you are entitled to all of the Association’s records and if the Association does not provide them you can file a complaint with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

      Regarding you specific questions….I believe you are referring to the surplus rollover vote that you will often find on the limited proxy of the annual meeting. This surplus vote relates specifically to IRS Revenue Ruling 70-604. In essence what the ruling says is that, to avoid paying taxes on any annual surplus, the membership may vote to either return any surplus to the membership or rollover the surplus to a future year. This, however, is only applicable to Associations who file a Form 1120 tax return. Most associations opt for the Form 1120-H tax return. Bottom line here is that if your Association files Form 1120, it is wise to have this vote on the annual meeting proxy. If your Association files Form 1120-H, then it isn’t necessary. Either way, it is not required.

      There is no requirement that surplus funds be returned to unit owners, requested or not. I’m not sure why an Association would ever return a surplus. If there was a significant surplus, I would recommend that the Board simply take some of that surplus into account when creating the next budget and reduce maintenance fees.

      I hope this answers your questions.

      Thanks,
      Emily

  5. Our condo association is run without any communication to the owners who do not live there year round. No minutes are ever sent to owners except for once a year at the annual meeting which reviews the past year’s budget and approves the upcoming budget. I have asked many questions to get the information needed to understand their spending only to be treated as a “troublemaker”. Many owners are fed up with the president of the condo association who selectively answers to certain owners and a manager who plays the battered employee who has to keep everyone happy. These two on the board run the place as they see it fit and as it serves them best. Meetings are canceled at the last minute, minutes are not given to owners unless they ask for it, electronic mail is denied to owners as a form of communication and lastly the board has decided that they will charge renters a $100 fee each and every year they lease a condo. This has been done behind the owners back. Is this legal to charge a renter a fee year after year a $100? When I have asked as a owner what this fee is for I have been told – for a background check or because they ( the manager and others) have to deal with renters and lastly if they don’t like it tell them (the renters) to stay home! We never get any news about safety, maintenance problems, concerns of the building upcoming challenges etc. NOTHING unless we physically go in and ask the manager. Yet our association took a 35% increase in 2007 -2008 and we are at $650 a month now and through other owners have heard that there will be another hike due to roof replacement and because we went into the the office and discussed it with the manager. I rally would like my question about the renter fee be answered and what we can do as owners to make this place more transparent. Thank you, Sheree

    • Hi Sheree –

      Sounds like you’ve got a mess on your hands. I’m sorry to hear that. I’ll address a few of your comments here.

      Firstly, except in specific situations, associations aren’t required to provide the homeowners with official records (e.g., meeting minutes) unless the homeowner makes a request in writing. So even though it would be nice if the association would volunteer information (I think they should), there is no violation of law there. Same goes with electronic communication, though I don’t know what association would choose NOT to use electronic communication since it is easier and cheaper. This is probably a management company rule (since they make money on mailings).

      Secondly, the rights of the association to charge fees relating to leases is really a documents-specific issue. There is no easy answer on this in the Florida Statutes. To determine if the association is allowed to do this we would need to look at your documents. I’m happy to talk via email more about this particular issue. You can always ask whether or not the association received a legal opinion before beginning to charge the $100. If they did, you are entitled to see it.

      Lastly, it seems that your association may not be properly funding reserves if fees keep being increased for issues like roof replacements. If they are not properly funding reserves, they are required by Florida Statutes to obtain a vote of the membership annually in order to NOT fully fund reserves. Have they been doing this? If I were you, I would probably start making formal requests for various association records (which they have to provide you) that may help you better understand what’s going on. For example, if you want to better understand spending, I would ask for a full general ledger for the association over the last 12-24 months. This will show you every single dollar that has been spent.

      I’m happy to chat further about these issues if you’d like.

      Emily

  6. Hi Emily,
    May a condo board charge a deposit like $300.00 (refundable upon the termination of a lease) on a leased rental unit? I am reviewing condo rental documentation and I would like to present an answer to our board. Many thanks, as always, for your help. Joan

    • Hi Joan –

      Unfortunately rules on leases are not easily answered through the Florida Statutes. What the association may or may not do in this regard is really going to depend on what your documents say. Happy to talk with you specifically about your association’s documents if you’d like. Feel free to shoot me an email.

      Emily

  7. GM: Emily,
    Our documents state that a resident is allowed to rent their unit after 18 months. I have 2 questions:
    1. Does the unit owner have to physically live in the unit in order to rent?
    2. One director state that the “80/20” rule referred to limiting the number of rentals. I disagreed stating the “80/20” rule referred age. They are stating this to unit owners and I fear potential lawsuits. Is there anything that you know of that states the Board of Directors is allowed to place a “cap” on the number of units rented.
    As always, I thank you enormously for all of your help and assistance.
    Joan

    • Hi Joan –

      Rental rules are primarily a function of your documents so I would need to see those before I could comment on your questions. From what I have seen before, the 18 month rule likely does not require the unit owner to actually live in the unit for 18 months before renting, just that the owner has owned the unit for at least 18 months (again I’d need to see your documents). As far as the 80/20 rule, many associations limit the number of units that can be rented at any one time. It is very common. If you documents specify that only 20% of the units may be rented at one time, then once that cap is reached, no other unit owner may rent until a currently rented unit is no longer rented. Many associations have waiting lists.

      Let me know if I can help any further,

      Emily

  8. Good morning, Emily
    I attended our preliminary budget committee meeting to prepare 2015’s budget. Before the meeting started, two questions arose: 1. Do we need a quorum of directors at this preliminary BCM? 2. Aside from the Directors, may the unit owners in attendance speak at these preliminary meetings? As always, thank you for your help?

    • Hi Joan –

      Section 718.112(2)(c)(2) stipulates that meetings of a committee which make recommendations to the Board regarding the budget are subject to the same requirements as a Board of Directors meeting. As such, notice must be posted, homeowners may attend, and homeowners may speak to agenda items in the same way they would at a Board meeting. You do not need a quorum of the Board present to run a committee meeting; however, you would need a quorum of committee members.

      Let me know if this doesn’t answer your questions.

      Thanks,

      Emily

  9. Emily,

    Our family, through three different limited family partnerships, owns three condos in the same building. The Board of Directors struggles to get interested parties to serve on the board partly because a long time board member is very hard to get along with. Is there any legal provision that would restrict more than one family member to serve on the board since we own three units?

    • Hi Chris –

      Check out Florida Statute 718.112(2)(d)(2) which says…. “co-owners of a unit may not serve as members of the board of directors at the same time unless they own more than one unit or unless there are not enough eligible candidates to fill the vacancies on the board at the time of the vacancy”. Based on this, I’d say you probably could have three members of your family serve on the Board (assuming they are all owners) but I would also check the language in your governing documents.

      Emily

  10. Water use is included in our condo fees. The association has always provided an area for unit owners to wash vehicles. Board has now decided to install a pay car wash and pay vacuum(none existed before). I believe this a violation of the condo docs and is a fee increase. Your thoughts, please. Also, how do Boards make additions , such as new amenities, and stay within their authority?

    (

    • Hi Bernie –

      An analysis of your condominium documents would be required to properly answer this question. If you’d like to examine it further, please shoot me an email.

      Emily

      • Emily, thanks so much for your reply. Our condo docs define water as a common expense, collected in condo fees. Alterations, additions require
        75% membership vote. Upon approval of such changes, Board can charge to those receiving exclusive or mostly exclusive use of such changes.
        Let me know what else you made need. Thanks, Bernie

  11. Hi Emily, I am trying to find the correct government agency to see if our Board of Directors in our condo has been filed (condo). Can you give the name of the website? Many thanks….once again

  12. HI Emily, It is me.. again. It seems that our present unauthorized President has obtain and gotten an approved loan from a bank without having a meeting with the corporation. Allegedly, the loan would be for elevator repair. The amount is over $250,000.00. Our docs say that anything over $250.00 must be acknowledged and approved by the unit owners at the corporation meetings unless it is an emergency. We have had no meeting; therefore no minutes It is my understanding that a bank would ask for minutes as part of the credit check. Allegedly, the transfer of funds will take place on Monday at 10:00am. I just found out about it. Is there anything we, as a corporation can do?

    • Hi Joan –

      This is a complicated question in that an analysis of your documents would be required. If you’d like, Ryan can research the issue and provide you a legal opinion.

      Emily

  13. GM: Emily….yet another inquiry. Other than the Secretary of the Corporation, who else may sign the minutes of a corporation meeting?

  14. Hello Emily, Another concern. There have been changes made concerning directors. The changes were file with Tallahassee without have a corporation meeting so that the directors could vote on the changes. It just seems “wrong”. If it is, what can be done about it. Also, on Sept 11, I contacted you but did not have a reply to my inquiry which was “Other than the Secretary of the Corporation, who else may sign the minutes of a corporation meeting?” Sure do need your help on these two issues.

    • Hi Joan –

      Not sure what you are referring to as far as changes “filed with Tallahassee”. I assume you mean that an updated annual corporate report was filed listing the current Board of Directors? This is common practice and it done after any change in the Board or registered agent. Regarding signing the meeting minutes, there is no Florida law that the Secretary must sign the minutes of a Board meeting that I am aware of. You documents may have specific language. Unless, are you referring to corporations in general?

      Emily

      • GM: Emily, In April, we filed the names of the new board of directors with Tallahassee. There were five directors with their titles. Then, in June, a set of names and titles was filed in Tallahassee but there was not a corporation meeting whereby the directors would have motioned to make changes and the until owners could have listened to these motions. It was signed by the president which was questionable as to whether this person was president; but not is listed as President and Treasurer. A director who had stepped down prior to the president sending these changes had resigned but his name continued on the list knowing full well that he had resigned. I am sure of the integrity of this present board.

  15. Great article. Thanks for the info, it’s easy to understand. BTW, if anyone needs to fill out an IRS form 1120-H, I found a blank form here: http://goo.gl/X8KI5D. This site also has some tutorials on how to fill it out and a various blank forms in case you need to fill out one.

  16. GM Emily, My question concerns Registered Agent. May the President of an association also be the registered agent? From my reading of 617.0501/02/03, I am assuming that it should be an officer owing and separate from the directors of the corporation. Thank you, Joan

  17. The secretary of our HOA appointed an employee as his recording secretary.
    This person is not an owner in the HOA. Is this person allowed at a
    executive meeting where her immediate supervisor is being discussed for possible termination? This seems like a privacy violation. I am very uncomfortable with this being allowed.

    • Hi Brenda –

      I’m not sure there are specific rules about this but I do think it seems like an odd scenario fraught with potential complications. Why would you want an employee in a conversation like that? Is the Board comfortable with this?

      Emily

      • 2 of us were very uncomfortable and it is the minutes that we objected but the other 3 did not. The proceedings were recorded so I did not see the necessity for this employee to be present. The secretary says that condo doc 718 allows the recording secretary to be present – I am not disputing this – our regular board meetings are only attended by owners and she is allowed at those as well – personnel meetings only by the BOD

  18. Could you give me the rules for a 2 tower condo of 288 units to have a Board Managed HOA office with no CAM. Thank you

    • Hi Donna –

      There are no specific rules you have to follow to be self-manager. The Board would be responsible for managing the day-to-day aspects of the property and ensuring continued compliance with Florida Statutes and the community’s governing documents. If your Association is considering becoming self-managed for the first time, there are certain important things to consider. I’d be happy to discuss this further with you.

      Emily

  19. I sent a letter by certified mail to my board of directors insisting to be allowed access to the online bank ledger of both of our accounts so that I can download the information in an excel spreadsheet format. The bank provides this service for free and has options to export in several formats including excel.

    My question,
    is the online account ledger considered part of the official record. I know that they have to allow me to inspect the records on demand, but what does that include.

    Thank you

    Rick

    • Hi Rick –

      Unfortunately bank statements are not specifically listed in the FL statutes as part of the official financial records of the Association so managers and Boards may argue that it is not an official record. Personally, I think that bank statements are fundamental to the preparation of Association financial statements and, as such, would constitute an official record. I would continue to push for this information. Reluctance to provide it makes me concerned that they are hiding something (or perhaps are just lazy).

      Emily

  20. Is this q&a site still active?

    • Yes! We just have been very busy so haven’t had chance to write new posts. But we are still here to answer questions.

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