Sometimes you just have to shake your head in
amazement at some of the laws that exist. Here’ an example:
We all know that a “Meeting of the board of
administration” means 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.” See:
Florida Administrative Code
We also know that if there is a “meeting” of
the Board, the meeting must be noticed 48 hours in advance, and
the unit owners have the right to attend the meeting.
Florida Statute 718.112
Finally, we all know that if there is a Board
meeting, the unit owners are entitled to copies of the meeting
agenda and the meeting minutes. Florida Statute 718.111.
There is a clear presumption in favor of
transparency. We want meetings to be properly noticed. We want
the unit owners to be able to attend and participate in the
meetings and we want documented proof of what occurs at board
meetings. Sounds pretty simple so far.
And then along comes Florida Statute 718.112
(2)(c) which states: 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.
Picture this………4 of 7 board members meet in
the association’s conference room. They discuss association
matters. This is a meeting and must be properly noticed. Unit
owners have the right to attend and speak at the meeting.
Minutes of the meeting must be kept and owners have the right to
copies of the minutes.
Another scenario…..the same 4 of 7 board
members don’t actually “gather” but each gets on their laptop
computer simultaneously. Instead of physically speaking to each
other, they e-mail each other for the next 2 hours about
association matters. Believe it or not…..this is now not
considered a meeting, it does not have to be noticed, and
minutes do not need to be taken. Worse yet, arbitration cases
have held that these e-mails between board members are actually
“private” e-mails and do not constitute official records of the
association. Therefore, unit owners are not entitled to copies
of these e-mails, as long as the e-mails are not shared with the
association’s manager or are on the association’s computer or an
account set-up exclusively for the association.
Does any of this make any sense? Instead of
using your voice, you use your typing abilities and magically
there is no “meeting” and no need to otherwise comply with the
notice or official records requirements of the law.
HB 841 is currently being debated in The
Florida Legislature and if this insanity isn’t stopped, it will
soon become the law for co-ops and HOAs.