Ethics & Responsibilities
The Board Member Ethics Document and the section below from CAI's* Rights and Responsibilities Document serve as a good blueprints of the ways in which Board members should conduct themselves and interact with condominium owners. When this doesn't happen, homeowners have recourse.
* Community Associations Institute (CAI) is a national organization dedicated to fostering vibrant, responsive, competent community associations. Founded in 1973, CAI represents association-governed communities, such as condominium and homeowner associations, cooperatives, and planned communities.
Jupiter Bay's Board members must have the right attitudes, communication skills and owner-involvement perspective and strive to perform according to standards set by CAI. Condominium owners have the obligation to support the Association and elected officials and provide their input and opinions towards the betterment of the community.
Homeowners Have the Right To:
- A responsive and competent community association.
- Honest, fair and respectful treatment by community leaders and managers.
- Participate in governing the community association by attending meetings, serving on committees and standing for election.
- Access appropriate association books and records.
- Prudent expenditure of fees and other assessments.
- Live in a community where the property is maintained according to established standards.
- Fair treatment regarding financial and other association obligations, including the opportunity to discuss payment plans and options with the association before foreclosure is initiated.
- Receive all documents that address rules and regulations governing the community association -- if not prior to purchase and settlement by a real estate agent or attorney, then upon joining the community.
- Appeal to appropriate commmunity leaders those decisions affecting non-routine financial responsibilities or property rights.
Homeowners Have the Responsibility To:
- Read and comply with the governing documents of the community.
- Maintain their property according to established standards.
- Treat association leaders honestly and with respect.
- Vote in community elections and on other issues.
- Pay association assessments and charges on time.
- Contact association leaders or managers, if necessary, to discuss financial obligations and alternative payment arrangements.
- Request reconsideration of material decisions that personally affect them.
- Provide current contact information to association leaders or managers to help ensure they receive information from the community.
- Ensure that those who reside on their property (e.g., tenants, relatives, friends) adhere to all rules and regulations.
Community Leaders Have the Right To:
- Expect owners and non-owner residents to meet their financial obligations to the community.
- Expect residents to know and comply with the rules and regulations of the community and to stay informed by reading material provided by the association.
- Respectful and honest treatment from residents.
- Conduct meetings in a positive and constructive atmosphere.
- Receive support and constructive input from owners and non-owner residents.
- Personal privacy at home and during leisure time in the community.
- Take advantage of educational opportunities (e.g., publications, training workshops) that are directly related to their responsibilities, and as approved by the association.
Community Leaders Have the Responsibility To:
- Fulfill their fiduciary duties to the community and exercise discretion in a manner they reasonably believe to be in the best interests of the community.
- Exercise sound business judgment and follow established management practices.
- Balance the needs and obligations of the community as a whole with those of individual homeowners and residents.
- Understand the association’s governing documents and become educated with respect to applicable state and local laws, and to manage the community association accordingly.
- Establish committees or use other methods to obtain input from owners and non-owner residents.
- Conduct open, fair and well-publicized elections.
- Welcome and educate new members of the community—owners and non-owner residents alike.
- Encourage input from residents on issues affecting them personally and the community as a whole.
- Encourage events that foster neighborliness and a sense of community.
- Conduct business in a transparent manner when feasible and appropriate.
- Allow homeowners access to appropriate community records, when requested.
- Collect all monies due from owners and non-owner residents.
- Devise appropriate and reasonable arrangements, when needed and as feasible, to facilitate the ability of individual homeowners to meet their financial obligations to the community.
- Provide a process residents can use to appeal decisions affecting their non-routine financial responsibilities or property rights— where permitted by law and the association’s governing documents.
- Initiate foreclosure proceedings only as a measure of last resort.
- Make covenants, conditions and restrictions as understandable as possible, adding clarifying “lay” language or supplementary materials when drafting or revising the documents.
- Provide complete and timely disclosure of personal and financial conflicts of interest related to the actions of community leaders, e.g., officers, the board and committees. (Community associations may want to develop a code of ethics.)
Actions Against Board Members
According to the Model Code of Ethics for Community Association Board Members, which can be accessed via the above link, board members:
Should strive at all times to serve the best interests of the association as a whole regardless of their personal interests, use sound judgment to make the best possible business decisions for the association, and perform their duties without bias for or against any individual or group of owners or non-owner residents.
Should not use their positions or decision-making authority for personal gain or to seek advantage over another owner or non-owner resident; spend unauthorized association funds for their own personal use or benefit; misrepresent known facts in any issue involving association business; or harass or make personal attacks on colleagues, staff, residents or contractors.
Whenever condominium homeowners feel that their elected board members are no longer representing the interests of the association members, are not acting in an ethical manner, are misusing the association's financial resources, or are shirking their fiduciary responsibilities, there are several actions that can be taken:
Board Member Recall: Per Florida Statute 718.112(2)(j), "any member of the board of administration may be recalled and removed from office with or without cause by the vote or agreement in writing by a majority of all the voting interests.” See “Recall of Board Members” below for more information.
Formal DBPR Complaint: Per Florida Statute 718.501, the Division of Condominiums, Timeshares and Mobile Homes “has jurisdiction to investigate complaints related to financial issues, elections, and unit owner access to association records”. The division permits any person to file a statement in writing as to the facts and circumstances concerning a matter to be investigated. Based on the investigation, the division may impose a civil penalty individually against an officer or board member, may order the removal of such individual as an officer or from the board of administration or as an officer of the association, and may prohibit such individual from serving as an officer or on the board of a community association for a period of time. The Forms Page of this website provides a “fill in the blanks” Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) official Condominium Complaint form.
Recall of Board Members
|Please reference the Recall Guide (via the following link) and the Sample Recall Ballot (available on the Forms page of this website).||Recall Guide for Condo Owners|
Per Florida Statute 718.112(2)(j), "any member of the board of administration may be recalled and removed from office with or without cause by the vote or agreement in writing by a majority of all the voting interests. A special meeting of the unit owners to recall a member or members of the board of administration may be called by 10 percent of the voting interests giving notice of the meeting as required for a meeting of unit owners, and the notice shall state the purpose of the meeting. Electronic transmission may not be used as a method of giving notice of a meeting called for this purpose.
1. A board member recall can be initiated by a) a unit-owner vote or b) agreement in writing by a majority of all the association’s voting interests. Following is the next step for each:
- a. If the recall is approved by a majority of all voting interests by a vote at a meeting, the board shall duly notice and hold a board meeting within 5 full business days after the adjournment of the unit owner meeting.
- b. If the proposed recall is by an agreement in writing by a majority of all voting interests, the agreement in writing or a copy thereof shall be served on the association by certified mail or by personal service in the manner authorized by chapter 48 and the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure. The board of administration shall duly notice and hold a board meeting within 5 full business days after receipt of the agreement in writing.
2. If the board fails to duly notice and hold the required board meeting within 5 full business days, the recall shall be deemed effective.
3. The effective date of the recall of the board member or members is the 6th business day, if the board meeting is not held, or immediately upon the conclusion of the board meeting, provided that the recall is facially valid. A recalled member must turn over to the board, within 10 full business days, any and all records and property of the association in their possession.
4. If the board fails to duly notice and hold the required meeting or at the conclusion of the meeting determines that the recall is not facially valid, the unit owner representative may file, within 60 days after the recall, a petition pursuant to FL Statute 718.1255 challenging the board’s failure to act or challenging the board’s determination on facial validity. The review of a petition under this subparagraph is limited to the sufficiency of service on the board and the facial validity of the written agreement or ballots filed.
5. A board member who has been recalled may file, within 60 days after the recall, a petition pursuant to FL Statute 718.1255 challenging the validity of the recall. The association and the unit owner representative shall be named as the respondents. The petition may challenge the facial validity of the written agreement or ballots filed or the substantial compliance with the procedural requirements for the recall. If the arbitrator determines the recall was invalid, the petitioning board member shall immediately be reinstated, and the recall is null and void. A board member who is successful in challenging a recall is entitled to recover reasonable attorney fees and costs from the respondents. The arbitrator may award reasonable attorney fees and costs to the respondents if they prevail, if the arbitrator makes a finding that the petitioner’s claim is frivolous.
6. The division may not accept for filing a recall petition, when there are 60 or fewer days until the scheduled reelection of the board member sought to be recalled or when 60 or fewer days have elapsed since the election of the board member sought to be recalled.
7. Board vacancies occurring as a result of a recall or removal are to be filled as follows:
- a. If less than a majority of the board members are removed, the vacancy may be filled by the affirmative vote of a majority of the remaining directors, notwithstanding any provision to the contrary contained in this subsection.
- b. If a majority or more of the board members are removed, the vacancies shall be filled in accordance with division procedures which address operation of the association during the period after a recall but before the recall election.