Q. What are the rules regarding owners’ ability to speak at Board meetings?
-P.G., Port St. Lucie
Florida law provides that either owners and/or their authorized representatives have the right to attend condominium association meetings that are open to the membership. You also have the right to speak at association meetings, with the caveat that you can only speak about the specific items on the agenda that was posted prior to the meeting. Although most meetings are open to members, members generally cannot raise new issues that are not listed on the agenda. Also, keep in mind that not every board meeting is going to be open to members. For example, a meeting to discuss litigation with the association’s lawyer will be a closed meeting in order to preserve attorney-client privilege. Also, as a member, you are permitted to record an open meeting, if doing so is not unduly distracting.
For homeowner’s associations, Florida Statutes section 720.303(2) provides that members have the right to attend all board meetings, and that “the right to attend such meetings includes the right to speak at such meetings with reference to all designated items.” The statute then goes on to state that the board may adopt reasonable rules governing the frequency, duration, and other manner of owner statements. It is important to note that this is slightly different from Chapter 718, which governs condominiums. The condominium statute provides that owners have the right to speak “with reference to all designated agenda items,” the distinction being that homeowner’s associations are not required by statute to have a detailed agenda, and condominium associations are required to have a detailed agenda. The purpose behind allowing members to speak is that if the board is going to exercise business judgment, it needs to be informed, and part of this information gathering is hearing from the owners.
Harris B. Katz, Esq., is Managing Partner, Boca Raton of the Law Firm Goede, Adamczyk, DeBoest & Cross, PLLC. To ask questions about your issues for future columns, send your inquiry to: firstname.lastname@example.org. The information provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The publication of this article does not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader and Goede, Adamczyk, DeBoest & Cross or any of our attorneys. Readers should not act or refrain from acting based upon the information contained in this article without first contacting an attorney, if you have questions about any of the issues raised herein. The hiring of an attorney is a decision that should not be based solely on advertisements or this column.