Issue: I live in a master homeowners association and there are a dozen sub-associations within the master association, some of which being condominium associations and some being homeowners associations. At a recent members meeting, there was a vote approve controversial amendments to the governing documents. Oddly enough, only 1 person was allowed to vote per sub-association and that person voted on behalf of all of the owners in the sub-association. This does not seem right because my sub-association never consulted me for my position on the amendments and the master association representative was appointed by the Board of Directors for the sub-association. In other words, the person voting on my behalf was not elected by me, did not consult the constituents of my sub-association, and voted to substantially change my rights as a homeowner. How is this legal?
Answer: Assuming your association is governed by Chapter 720 of the Florida Statutes, the law provides that the voting interest in an association is defined in its governing documents. Thus, the above described scenario is absolutely possible and legal assuming it is reflective of the association’s governing documents. In associations with representational voting, you generally see three scenarios: 1) the voting representative may vote in block in his/her discretion; 2) the voting representative must seek the proportional vote of the neighborhood association and vote in accordance with the fractional vote cast by the neighborhood; and 3) the voting representative may seek the proportional vote of the neighborhood association with no legal requirement to do so.
Although I certainly understand your concern, the scenario in your homeowners association works well for many communities where participation is low and it is otherwise difficult to obtain a quorum to conduct business. If your community has a high level of participation and involvement, I would recommend consulting your Board or the voting representatives to see if they would consider pursuing an amendment to require more involvement with the members of your sub-association.