Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Q: I live in a house owners association where the association preserves the landscaping on all the individual lots. Just recently, I had a number of plants, including hedges and palm trees die, and I do not understand who is accountable to spend for their replacement. Because the association keeps the landscaping, is the association accountable for replacing the landscaping?
F.T. (through email).
A: The response depends on the language contained in your governing documents. It is not unusual for homeowners associations to mow lawns and maintain some level of landscaping on the individual lots as part of the common costs paid by all owners. While the files may offer the association the duty to keep landscaping, lots of files also supply that in the event any portion of the landscaping have to be replaced, including hedges, trees, grass, and so on, the property owner is responsible for payment. If the files are silent, it is not clear whether upkeep and replacement are 2 different commitments. I do not believe there are any court precedents on point. A court would likely planning to the dictionary definition of preserve to decide whether replacement in a particular context was included.
If you could show that the association was irresponsible in undertaking maintenance, the association might be accountable. For instance, if the association s landscape contractor runs over your hedges with a riding mower, it makes sense that the association should be accountable for the replacement (and of course the association might make a claim versus the specialist).
Q: I was recently chosen to the board of my condo association as a director at huge. In doing my due diligence since being chosen, I have been investigating what my tasks and responsibilities as a director at big will be. I do not discover anything in the Florida Condominium Act and I am getting contrasting opinions from those I speak to. Some individuals have said that, as a director at huge, I can vote just as other director, but others are saying that I will only get to enact the occasion of a tie. Can you please clarify this for me?
K.A. (by means of e-mail).
A: Reference to directors at huge typically refers to a particular seat for which a director is chosen. For instance, in multi-condominium associations (where there are several condos, but only one association), the bylaws might develop a plan where each condominium elects certain directors to the board, and the entire neighborhood chooses the at big directors.
The term "at huge" director is likewise used to refer to those directors that do not also hold officer positions. That is, you may have 5 directors, but only four officers (president, vice president, secretary and treasurer). The director who does not hold an office is said to act as an at huge member of the board.
In either situation, all directors, including at large directors, can vote, and do not simply break ties.
One of the most disturbing problems was the opening of the envelopes and counting of the tallies by a committee of three people. One of the members of the committee was the spouse of a the board vice president, who was likewise up for reelection. The committee counted the ballots behind closed doors.
H.C. (through email).
The Florida Administrative Code offers that an impartial committee should be selected to open the envelopes and count the ballots (this guideline does not apply to proxy votes). The guideline specifically forbids current directors, officers, and prospects from serving on the unbiased committee.
It is also an offense for the tally counting committee to perform their work behind closed doors, at least if the owners at the conference do not unanimously approval. Device owners deserve to observe the ballot counting procedure.
I suggest you bring your issues to the attention of the board of directors. In turn, I would advise the board contact the association s attorney to review and discuss these issues and irregularities, along with any other extra concerns associated with the way in which the election was doned. The attorney can then encourage the board regarding whether any restorative actions need to be taken to address these abnormalities.