THE IMPEACHMENT PROCESS IN YOUR COMMUNITY IS WORSE THAN
Eric Glazer, Esq.
Published November 18, 2019
Regardless of what you may
think about the impeachment process taking place in Washington,
I promise that the impeachment process in your community is
Florida law allows directors in
both condominiums and homeowner associations to be removed from
office without waiting for the results of the next election.
It’s called the recall process.
Have you ever heard the saying
that “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it?” Well, the recall statute
for all intents and purposes worked pretty well. In sum, a
majority of owners could sign recall ballots voting to recall a
director. Let’s say in a 100 unit community you want to remove
a director or several directors. 51 homes sign a recall ballot,
and it got served on the board. The board then had 5 days to
decide whether or not the process was done correctly and if all
the ballots were valid. Reasons for rejecting ballots include:
a) The ballot not being signed by the owner – but by a renter or
b) The ballot not being signed by the authorized voter of the
unit as indicated on the voting certificate for that unit.
c) The ballot being signed by someone who lawfully had their
voting rights suspended.
If the Board decided that
certain ballots should be rejected and the number of valid
ballots were now less than a majority, the Board would be
required to file a recall petition with the Department of
Business and Professional Regulation. An arbitrator would be
assigned, due process was provided to all and may the better man
THAT IS NOW DONE AND OVER WITH.
For whatever reason, The
Florida Legislature changed this a few years ago. Now, the
recall ballots must be accepted if they are “facially valid.”
To determine whether a ballot is ‘facially valid’, only the four
corners of the ballots should be reviewed and extrinsic evidence
should be ignored.” Goss v. Cassel Creek Property Owners Ass'n,
Inc., Arb. Case No. 2014-02-4990, Summary Final Order (July 15,
In a recent arbitration case
called Roberts, v. Harbour Pointe At River Bridge Condominium
Association, Inc. June 25, 2019, the arbitrator ruled that the
association could not a) check its own roster including voting
certificates in order to determine whether the recall ballots
were facially valid; and b) reject 4 ballots due to suspension
of voting rights. The association was simply required to
determine whether the form was filled out correctly. It is
irrelevant who it is signed by and whether that person even had
the right to vote in the community. The board must confirm the
recall. The directors are removed.
So, here is where we are at the
moment. One person can sit down and fill out recall ballots
that equal a majority of the units. Let’s take a 25 unit
building – so 13 recall ballots are required to remove the
board. These are the signatures on the 13 ballots:
These ballots are served on the
Board. According to the current law, the Board is not allowed
to determine if any of these characters are actually owners,
because it would require going outside of the four corners of
the ballot. As long as the ballot is filled out correctly, the
board member is recalled.
And you wonder why Florida is
laughed at by the rest of the nation when it comes to our
HOA & Condo Blog
Eric Glazer graduated from
the University of Miami School of Law in 1992 after
receiving a B.A. from NYU. He has practiced community
association law for more than 2
decades and is the owner of Glazer
and Sachs, P.A. a seven attorney law firm with offices in
Fort Lauderdale and Orlando and satellite offices in Naples,
Fort Myers and Tampa.
Since 2009, Eric has been the host
of Condo Craze and HOAs, a weekly one hour radio show that airs
at noon each Sunday on 850 WFTL.
He is the first attorney in the
State of Florida that designed a course that certifies
condominium residents as eligible to serve on a condominium
Board of Directors and has now certified more than 10,000
Floridians all across the state. He is certified as a Circuit
Court Mediator by The Florida Supreme Court and has mediated
dozens of disputes between associations and unit owners. Eric
also devotes significant time to advancing legislation in the
best interest of Florida community association members.