The Florida Legislature substantially revised several sections of our state’s Condominium Act last year. One of the important revisions focused on the length of time a unit owner could serve as a board member without seeking re-election. Effective October 1, 2008, the terms of all members serving on condominium association boards were considered to expire at the next annual meeting unless the majority of the unit owners approved an amendment to the association’s bylaws (or confirmed an existing bylaw provision) that would provide for "staggered" two year terms. This revision to Florida Statute Section 718.112(2)(d)1, was accompanied by the rather curious statutory amendment found in F.S. Section 718.112((2)(d)3 which required that any candidate for a board position sign a "certification form" attesting that he or she had read and understood, to the best of his or her ability, the association’s governing documents, the provisions of F.S. Chapter 718 and any "applicable rules".
Needless to say, these amendments created quite a stir among board members and managers in resident owned communities. I received more than my share of calls and emails from ROC board members and managers asking whether their particular communities were subject to these new revisions.
At least for the immediate future, the answer to whether a particular ROC is subject to these restrictions on the length of terms for its board members and the certification form requirement turns on whether that ROC’s community association is a condominium association as opposed to a cooperative association, mandatory homeowners association or some other type of corporation:
- Condominium Associations fall within Florida Statute 718 and must comply with the statutory revisions to Section 718.112 governing the length of terms for board members and the certification form.
- Cooperative Associations are primarily governed by Florida Statute Chapter 719. For the most part, Chapter 719 remained unchanged during the 2008 and 2009 Florida legislative sessions and for now residents of ROCs that are cooperatives continue to have the ability to decide for themselves the length of terms for board members and do not have to sign certification forms in order to run for positions of their boards.
- Florida Statute Chapter 720, which governs mandatory homeowners associations, also survived the 2008 and 2009 sessions of the Florida Legislature with no term length restrictions and no certification form requirement.
However, the 2010 legislative session looms in the not so distant future and I fully expect that attempts will be made to bring greater uniformity to the statutes governing the various types of community associations. I’m not certain what will happen with the certification requirement but I won’t be surprised if both cooperatives and mandatory homeowners associations find themselves subject to some sort of restrictions on term lengths by this time next year. I’ll keep you posted.