Published March 2021
Florida Community Association Professionals’ (FCAP) training is offered on two levels. Level one consists of courses meeting Florida’s continuing education requirements for CAMs, and level two is the Florida Advanced CAM Studies (FACS) course. For further information about the more than 38 online continuing education classes available or to pursue the Certified Florida Community Association Manager (CFCAM) designation, please visit www.fcapgroup.com/membership/education-training/.
Could you please tell me the statute that speaks on board voting in an email? Also, I’m not sure if this is in the statute, but if there is a part that speaks on voting in an email, does the board need to ratify it in the next upcoming meeting?
Actually, the statute prohibits voting by email.
Section 718.112(2) (c) Board of administration meetings.—Meetings of the board of administration at which a quorum of the members is present are open to all unit owners. Members of the board of administration may use e-mail as a means of communication but may not cast a vote on an association matter via e-mail.
I would like to know how you would handle the following situation regarding candidates for the board of directors. We have four two-year openings and one one-year opening. One of the four current board members who will remain on the board without having to run is married to one of the candidates who submitted a Notice of Intent to Run. There are four additional candidates, and two of them own a share together. So, as I understand it, the ones who own a share together can only both be on the board if there are not enough candidates to fill the openings. Would that mean that the three candidates who are running as the only ones not a part of the share automatically become directors? Then the one whose husband is already on the board and the two who own a share together would be the ones who have to be in an election? What if the two candidates who own a share together receive the most votes out of the three? Please help. I want it to be done right and not just based on opinion.
I don’t find anything in the statute that addresses your specific dil-emma, so this is just my opinion, which means you will need to seek legal counsel. My first thought is the candidates who own one share cannot both run for the board. Both of their names should not be on the ballot. Only one of them can run unless they own two shares. The candidate whose husband is already on the board cannot run for the board unless they own two shares. Her name should not be on the ballot. If that means there are the same number of eligible candidates as seats (or fewer), those eligible candidates are automatically on the board with no election. If that means there are more eligible candidates than seats, you will have a full-blown election. If that means there is still a seat to be filled after the annual meeting, those existing and new board members can appoint someone to fill that seat(s), and that person could be a spouse/joint owner of a board member if no one else in the community is willing to be appointed.
Are HOAs in Florida required to have a website?
In Florida Statutes, Chapter 720, the Homeowners Association Act, communities are not required to have a website. Neither does Chapter 719, The Cooperative Act, require websites.
Chapter 718, The Condominium Act, does require associations with more than 150 units to have a website, with certain documents required to be posted.
I recall you saying that cable providers are to “give” a community channel with their contracts for large accounts. But I don’t see anything in the Chapters 718/719 that say that. Can you clear that up for me please?
You almost remember correctly. Many cable companies offer a channel to the community for their local news. There is no statutory requirement; it would be contractual.
An owner is making a fuss about me opening proxies and counting them before the election. I do so because I have to know if I have a quorum and that the proxy was signed by the designated voter. What does the state say about proxies and who and when they can be opened?
This owner wants the board to make a policy that the CAM does not open them (because he is an owner) and that it should be done the day of the meeting in front of other owners. I said she is mixing up the policy for proxies with the policy for ballots and the election of board members.
She also said the proxies are not property of the association until after the annual owners’ meeting. I say they are the property once they have been delivered to the association.
I don’t find any statutes or rules and procedures for opening proxies. Ballots, yes. You could have the board create a policy at a board meeting and vote on it.
I always open proxies as they come in and put all that information and their vote (if a limited proxy) on the owner sign-in spreadsheet ahead of the meeting. I don’t find a law or rule against doing so.
I don’t have any help at my membership meetings, so I get as much done before the meeting as possible; otherwise, it will be another hour before the meeting can start.
My understanding is that written documentation becomes a part of official records when in the possession of the association.
Editor’s Note: Part I was published in the January 2021 issue and can be read online at https://www.fcapgroup.com/flcaj/flcaj-articles/fcap-community-january-2021/. The following suggestions for landscaping policies can help promote Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ principles, though local requirements, association goals, and legal advice should also be considered.
Water conservation may be promoted by providing the following:
Trees, shrubs, flowers, and ground covers shall be watered utilizing low-volume, drip spray, bubbler emitter, or similar low-volume water application devices. All plant material shall be planted in a manner which is not intrusive to utilities or the pavement.
Due to legislative action, Chapter 2019–155, Committee Substitute for House Bill No. 1159, has charged ISA Certified Arborists with the authority to advise residential tree owners about the potential risk their tree(s) pose to people and/or property prior to pruning or removal.
The following are recommended species:
The following species are unacceptable and may not be used for required landscaping:
For example, a 6,000 sq. ft. lot would require a minimum of three trees.
Note: Corner lots require an additional tree be planted in the side yard.
Lot size Min. # of required trees/ shrubs—
Minimum replacement sizes:
Do palms count as trees on my lot? Since palms generally do not provide significant canopy, in most cases they must be used in groupings of three to meet the requirements of one replacement tree. They must also meet certain size requirements, with the minimum clear trunk height starting at eight feet (which means that the palm trunk needs to be a minimum of 8 ft. tall before the emergence of palm fronds). Palms planted in groupings shall be planted with staggered heights. NOTE: No more than 50 percent of minimum lot requirements shall be made up by palms.
Hedges in the front yard setback should be maintained at a height of 30 in. or less. Hedges in the side or rear setback should be maintained at a height of 8 ft. or less.
A landscaping plan shall be submitted in conjunction with an application for individual development ARB approval and shall contain at least the following:
The owner/agent shall be responsible for the maintenance of all landscaping and irrigation equipment.
Landscaping shall be maintained in a good condition to present a healthy, neat, and orderly appearance at least equal to the original installation and shall be kept free from refuse and debris.
Any dead vegetation and landscaping material shall be promptly replaced with healthy living plantings.
Irrigation systems shall be maintained to eliminate waste of water due to loss from damaged, missing, or improperly operating sprinkler heads, valves, pipes, and all other portions of the irrigation system.
Tree pruning shall be accomplished in accordance with standards established in Pruning Standards for Shade Trees, Revised 1989, promulgated by the National Arborist Association. There should be no excess pruning, which encourages pests.
Certain plant species shall not be permitted because of their nuisance characteristics, exotic origin, pest problems, or high maintenance concerns. The following shrubs, groundcovers, etc., are prohibited for use in the landscape:
Homeowners should exercise care and not plant any plants, trees, vines, etc., that are known to be invasive or non-friendly to the area. Consider placement of trees and shrubs to maintain visibility, line of sight, and access for emergency services. Contact your city or county for information on crime prevention through environmental design.
For reference and further information, please check out http://plants.ifas.ufl.edu/education/district4.html
For sample plant lists and specific landscaping ideas for the four major hardiness zones in Florida, and for landscaping options that address common situations encountered in various yards, see the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ pattern books at http://fyn.ifas.ufl.edu/homeowners/publications.htm
Consider provisions for Firewise Landscaping at http://www.fl-dof.com/wildfire/firewise_landscaping.html or http://fireinflorida.ifas.ufl.edu/landscaping.html