How to Participate as a Homeowner or Condominium Owner
As a homeowner or condominium owner, you have a vested interest in managing your community. That’s why it’s essential to understand the HOA or COA elections process and how you can participate in Florida. In this blog post, we’ll explain what you need to know about the election process and share some tips on getting involved, following Florida Statutes Chapter 720 for HOAs and Chapter 718 for COAs.
The basics of HOA and COA elections
Homeowners and condominium associations must hold regular elections to select board members who will oversee the community. The election process is typically outlined in the community’s governing documents, which may include a declaration of covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) and bylaws. These documents specify how often elections should be held, who is eligible to vote, and how votes are counted. Generally, board members are elected by a majority vote of those who cast their ballot (Florida Statutes § 720.306(8) for HOAs and § 718.112(2)(d) for COAs).
Step 1: Nomination of Candidates
The first step in the HOA or COA election process is the nomination of candidates. The board of election committee will issue a call for candidates, usually a few weeks before the election. Anyone interested in running must submit their name to the board or committee. The deadline for submitting names is usually two weeks before the election.
Step 2: Voter Registration
Once the candidates have been nominated, the next step is voter registration. The board or committee will notify all homeowners or condominium owners, informing them of the election date and reminding them to register to vote. Any homeowner or condominium owner not registered to vote cannot participate in the election.
Step 3: Candidate Forum or Debate
Most HOAs and COAs hold a candidate forum or debate, where each candidate can introduce themselves and discuss their platform. This forum is an excellent opportunity for homeowners and condominium owners to learn about the candidates and their goals for the community. It’s also the best time to ask questions and clarify issues concerning the community.
Step 4: Casting Your Vote
The final step in the election process is casting your vote. Homeowners and condominium owners can usually vote in person at the annual meeting or by mail-in ballot, which will be sent out a few weeks before the election. You can also vote via email, depending on the procedures set by the organization.
Step 5: Election Results
After the votes have been counted, the board or committee will announce the election results at the meeting or via email or other forms of communication. If you have any doubts about election results, seek legal advice from a HOA attorney or condominium attorney specializing in Florida Community Association Law.
Who can participate in HOA and COA elections?
To participate in the election process, you must be a member of the HOA or COA. Homeowners are automatically members of their HOA, while unit owners in a condominium association are typically members. In some cases, tenants may also be entitled to vote if the association’s governing documents have given them that right. Remember that your community’s rules may require you to be current on your dues and assessments before you can vote.
How to get involved in the election process
One way to get involved in the election process is to run for a position on the board yourself. This gives you a direct say in how the community is managed. To run for the board, you’ll need to check your community’s governing documents to see the qualifications and how to announce your candidacy officially. If running for the board isn’t for you, you can still participate by attending meetings, asking questions, and casting your vote.
Challenging the election results
If you believe the election was conducted improperly or the results were skewed, you may have the right to challenge the results. This can be a complicated process, and consulting with an attorney specializing in HOA and COA law is essential. Some possible reasons for challenging an election may include a lack of notice, improper counting of votes, or discrimination against certain members.
The importance of participating in HOA and COA elections
Volunteer members manage homeowner and condominium associations elected to serve on the board. Participating in the election process can help ensure that qualified and responsible leaders are selected to oversee your community. It’s also a way to have a say in matters affecting your property and quality of life. By working with your fellow homeowners or unit owners, you can help create a vibrant and thriving community you can be proud to call home.
Important Florida Statutes Related to HOA and COA Elections and Participation
- Florida Statutes § 720.301-720.316 (Homeowners’ Association Act): This act governs the formation, management, and operation of homeowners’ associations in Florida. Key provisions related to elections and participation include:§ 720.306(8): Addresses the election of HOA board members, voting rights, and procedures for conducting elections.
- Florida Statutes § 718.101-718.128 (Condominium Act): This act governs the formation, management, and operation of condominium associations in Florida.
- Florida Statutes § 617.1601-617.1604 (Nonprofit Corporations Act): These statutes apply to nonprofit corporations, which include most HOAs and COAs. Key provisions related to elections and participation include:
- § 617.1602: Addresses voting rights for members of nonprofit corporations.
- § 617.1603: Outlines the procedures for calling meetings of members, including notice requirements.
- § 617.1604: Describes the process for conducting meetings and voting by proxy.
While these statutes provide a general overview of the laws governing HOA and COA elections and participation in Florida, it’s essential to consult the specific governing documents of your community and seek legal advice from an attorney specializing in Florida Community Association Law when necessary.
Participating in HOA and COA elections is essential to being a homeowner or condominium owner. Understanding the process and getting involved can help ensure that your community is managed responsibly and effectively. Whether you run for the board or simply cast your vote, your participation can make a difference. If you ever need assistance with HOA or COA matters, don’t hesitate to contact Perez Mayoral, P.A. Our experienced attorneys are here to help and are well prepared to assist you with HOA disputes that may arise.