Q: I read in your column that financial committee minutes must be posted. I have tried to find this in Chapter 718.112 and have been unable, can you help? L.D., Naples
Answer: Usually committee meetings do not produce minutes, but they do produce reports of the meeting. These reports would be presented at the next board meeting in the agenda section called reports. Committee meetings do not need to be posted or open to the members, except when they discuss financial decisions or budget preparations, or make final decisions for the board. Then a notice must be posted 48 hours in advance of the meeting and it must be open to the members to attend.
Committee meetings are not as formal as board meetings and membership meetings. The committee members usually gather with no roll call, and no quorum required, and discuss a specific question or subject. They attempt to evaluate the question and come up with answers and or solutions that would be presented to the board in their reports.
To keep the members informed, it would be nice if the committees issued reports that were posted for the members to review. It’s not a requirement, though, it is just good business procedure.
Q: Two homeowners in our community have not paid HOA fees for seven years! We don’t know if the same has been happening on the mortgage end, or if they even have a mortgage, but we are told by our HOA that the law firm on retainer says it is working on it!
The yards continue to be maintained, but someone is paying for this, and it’s coming out of our pockets. It’s hurting us all by having homes that could be on the market and losing two HOA payments.
The law firm, through the HOA, says it will recoup those years of non-payments. But isn’t there a statute of limitations?
Do we have the right to request a copy of the work the firm has done on our community’s behalf, and can we really ever have that money owed back into our budget again? We don’t feel the truth is being told, and we want to know why. M.N., Fort Lauderdale
Answer: Although condominiums have a limitation of one year, an HOA does not have this limitation to collect delinquent accounts. No board should allow any owner to be this seriously delinquent. It is definitely time to change the board and maybe the attorney.
Why would any board during the past eight years just sit back and let the owners not pay their fees? This means that the members (the owners) failed in their responsibilities to elect good directors.
About the only reason I can think of that the attorney would recommend not to lien and foreclose on the property is if there is a bankruptcy in progress.
I have advised over the years to have a strict collection policy. That would mean continued monitoring of monies received and letters sent to the owner of the delinquency. Once the final certified letter is sent, which should be within 60 to 90 days of delinquency, the matter should be turned over to the association attorney with instructions to lien and foreclose on the property.
With this strict and fast policy, any good attorney should be able to have the foreclosure filed within 180 days of delinquency.
If you read my column, you know I always say the board has the responsibility and right to do this. And the failure of the board to act responsibly is the fault of the owners who fail to supervise the board’s actions. Therefore, the final responsibility is with the owners themselves. When you don’t follow the actions of the board, you will pay.
Richard White is a licensed community association manager. He does not offer legal opinions; any other questions and comments concerning association operations can be sent to Richard White, 6039 Cypress Gardens Blvd., No. 201, Winter Haven FL 33884-4115; or email [email protected]