QUESTION: I serve on the board of directors of our homeowners' association. I have just heard that I need to sign some documents or attend a class in order for me to continue to serve. Is that correct? What is this about?
ANSWER: During the last legislative session, Florida Statute 720.3033(1) was added to law. It states, "Within 90 days after being elected or appointed to the board, each director shall certify in writing to the secretary of the association that he or she has read the association's declaration of covenants, articles in incorporation, bylaws and current written rules and policies; that he or she will work to uphold such documents and policies to the best of his or her ability; and that he or she will faithfully discharge his or her fiduciary responsibility to the association's members.
In lieu of the written certification, the newly elected or appointed director may submit a certificate of having satisfactorily completed the educational curriculum administered by a division-approved education provider within 1 year before or 90 days after the date of election or appointment.
The written certification or educational certificate is valid for the uninterrupted tenure of the director on the board.
A director is suspended from the board until he or she complies with the requirement and the board may temporarily fill the vacancy during the period of suspension.
The association shall retain each director's written certification or educational certificate for 5 years after the directors' election, however, the failure to retain the certificate does not affect the validity of any board action.
This means that if you are elected to the board of your homeowners association, the new rules apply. They do not apply if you are currently a board member.
The challenge for Florida boards in homeowners associations and in condominium associations is that the statutes change every year. Perhaps you and your board should consider attending an educational program for certification so that everyone is aware of the statutes that apply.
Attorney Sylvia Heldreth is a certified specialist in real estate law. Her office is located at 1215 Miramar St., in Cape Coral.
This article is not intended as specific legal advice to anyone and is based upon facts that change from time to time. Individuals should seek legal counsel before acting upon any matter involving the law.