The owner of a company that manages many ROCs throughout the state recently called and asked whether residents who wanted to be candidates for the ROC’s Board of Directors had to first complete a "certification form." My answer was "it depends on whether the ROC is a condominium, cooperative, or subdivision."
While there are many similarities in the statutes that govern condominium, cooperative, and homeowners associations, there are also a some very important differences. The "certification form" requirement is a prime example of one of these differences.
In 2008, Florida’s legislators substantially revised portions of Chapter 718, which governs condominium associations. Included in these revisions was an amendment to Section 718.112(2)(d)3 which now provides that:
- The "first notice of the date of the election" for the board of directors be accompanied by "a certification form" that is to be completed by a candidate for a position on the board of directors and that attests that the candidate "has read and understands, to the best of his or her ability, the governing documents of the association and the provisions" of Chapter 718 "and any applicable rules".
- This signed "certification form" must be furnished by the candidate to the association by not less than 35 days prior to the election.
- The "certification form" is to be provided by the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes of Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
Inasmuch as (to the best of my knowledge) no candidate for Florida’s legislature is required to sign a "certification form" attesting that he or she has "read and understands" our state’s governing documents, one can be excused for wondering exactly what was going through the minds of our representatives in Tallahassee when this amendment was proposed and passed.
Currently, neither Chapter 719 (which governs cooperatives) nor Chapter 720 (which governs mandatory subdivision homeowners associations) contain a "certification form" requirement for board candidates. Thus, any ROC that is not a condominium association and that does not have a "certification form" requirement in its governing documents need not provide these forms as part of its election materials nor would a member of one of these ROCs be required to sign that certification form to be eligible to run for the board.
However, rumor has it that our legislators have revisions to both Chapter 719 and Chapter 720 on the agenda for the 2010 legislative session and I’d be surprised if this ‘certification form" was not part of the proposed amendments for both chapters. Stay tuned for further developments.