Q: Our HOA has the usual set of officers as required by the by-laws: president, vice president, secretary and treasurer. My question is about the treasurer and his wife (who is not a board member). She is the one who does the majority of the “work” for the position: making bank deposits, writing checks to pay the bills, recording the payment of assessments, paying the custodian (our only employee) and essentially doing the books. Her husband, the actual treasurer, is the “mouth” and oversees the maintenance and beautification committee but little actual bookkeeping. Is this legal? Thank you for your response. J.B., Miami
Answer: Let me first address responsibilities and duties. The board of directors has total responsibility for the association. The officers elected by the board have duties, not responsibilities. The documents you refer to do give duties to the officers, but that does not mean they have to physically do the work. They have a right to appoint or engage others to do the work. That means they must supervise and accept the blame if there are errors. Your documents should give the duties of each of the officers, but in no case will you find that they must do the work themselves.
Any person, including members who volunteer, management, CPAs, attorneys or a paid bookkeeper, can be engaged to perform the work. It’s always best to put people in position who are better qualified to do the work. In your case, apparently the wife has certain bookkeeping skills. The board and her husband have the right to engage her for pay or as a volunteer. If she makes an error and it is not corrected by her husband or the board, the board and her husband, as treasurer, would assume final responsibility. A similar situation could happen to the secretary if someone else takes the minutes. As with the treasurer, it could be a volunteer member, manager or paid professional who takes and produces the minutes. Once the minutes are completed, they must be approved by the secretary and the board.
Q: Who is responsible for replacing or repairing front doors in a Florida condominium? For years there was no mold/mildew build-up on my front door. Then all unit front doors were painted. Unfortunately, whatever paint was used apparently was the wrong type. Ever since the painting, the door has been the petri dish for ugly, black mold, which is a laborious task to remove. My door and many others in the community are rusting. The bottom of my door is rusted through in places. Many of us dislike the appearance of the doors and realize that for safety issues and to keeps pests out, the doors need to be replaced. The association says it is the owners’ responsibility, but I have spoken with residents of other condominiums in our area and have been told that the state has relatively new rules stating that associations are responsible for new doors. By chance, have you encountered information on this? S.Q., Naples
Answer: You need to read your condominium documents in the section concerning responsibilities to windows and doors. Not all documents are the same for condominiums, so there is no one correct answer. If you find that the board/condominium is responsible, you will need to write the board and ask them to repair or replace your door. As to the state ruling on doors, it may have something to do with new hurricane zoning requirements. Sometimes, this will place the obligation on the condominium and sometimes the obligation goes to the owner. You’ll have to do some research based on your specific case and your area.
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 camquestion@ cfl.rr.com.