A little more on the Sunshine Laws
- 2. Official Records Florida law requires condominiums to maintain the official records of the association within the state for at least 7 years. The records of the association shall be made available to a unit owner within 45 miles of the condominium property or within the county in which the condominium property is located within 5 working days after receipt of written request by the board or its designee. 2
- 3. Inspection An associations official records must be available for inspection by unit owners or their authorized representative at all reasonable times. An association may comply with this requirement by maintaining a copy of the official records on the condominium association property and making them available for inspection or copying. 3
- 4. Copies Unit owners have the right to make or obtain copies of official records. The association may adopt reasonable rules regarding the frequency, time, location, notice and manner of record inspection and copying. Associations must maintain an adequate number of copies of the declaration of condominium, articles of incorporation, bylaws, rules and all amendments to those documents, the question and answer sheet and the year-end financial information. 4
- 5. Denial of Access If an association fails to provide requested records within ten working days after receipt of a written request, the unit owner may be entitled to damages. The failure of the board to allow inspection of books and records constitutes a dispute for which a unit owner may either file a complaint with the Division or petition the Division for mandatory nonbinding arbitration.
- (in either case David Israel is exercising a right he does not have!)
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One of the questions that we get asked at almost every class is “Do community associations have to abide by the Florida Sunshine Law concerning the rights of unit owners to attend board meetings.
Florida’s Government in the Sunshine Law was enacted in 1967. Today the Sunshine Law can be found in Florida Statute 286.
The Government in the Sunshine Law applies to “any board or commission of any state agency or authority or any county, municipal corporation, or political subdivision.”
Technically, it does not apply to community associations.
However, Florida Statutes 718, 719, and 720 contain similar language and provisions with respect to holding meetings “in the sunshine” (in the presence of the owners).
For condominiums, FS 718.112 (2) (c) states:
“Meetings of the board of administration at which a quorum of the members is present shall be open to all unit owners.
FAC 61B-23001 (1) (a) defines a “meeting” as:
“Any gathering of the members of the board of directors at which a quorum of the members is present, for the purpose of conducting association business.”
“Unit owners have the right to attend and observe all meetings of the board of administration and its committees.”
There are several exceptions.
FS 718.112 (2) (c) 3. a. b.
3. Not withstanding any other law, the requirement that board meetings and committee meetings be open to the unit owners does not apply to:
a. Meetings between the board or a committee and the association’s attorney, with respect to proposed or pending litigation, if the meeting is held for the purpose of seeking or rendering legal advice; or
b. Board meetings held for the purpose of discussing personnel matters.
In Homeowners’ Associations, FS 720.303 (2) (a) and (b) states:
“A meeting of the board of directors of an association occur whenever a quorum o fthe board gathers to conduct association business. All meetings of the board must be open to all members except for meetings the board and it’s attorney with respect to proposed or pending litigation where the contents of the discussion would otherwise be governed by attorney client privilege.” Meetings to discuss “personnel matters” are also not required to be open to the members.
It is recommended that notice be posted for all meetings whether they are to be open or closed.
Some associations schedule private “workshops” or “executive sessions” claiming that these are not real meetings because no “business” or voting on any issues is being done.
There is some controversy as to the interpretation of “conducting association business” in the code.
I welcome comments or opinions on this issue.
For additional information click here