How you can ensure that your annual meeting or election runs smoothly and adheres to community law
The Florida Statutes and Florida Administrative Code define the specific processes and procedures for electing association Board members to ensure that elections are fair and that any unit owner interested in running for a seat on the Board has the opportunity to do so. A condominium association's board is usually elected by the unit owners of the condominium at the annual meeting. Fla. Admin. Code. R. 61B.230021 (2).
60 days before the annual meeting
- Set a date for the annual meeting or election
- Send out First Notice of Election
- Send “Intent to Run” form
Your first notice of election must be mailed, emailed (if you have received an electronic consent form) or hand-delivered at least 60 days prior to your annual meeting and must contain the name and correct mailing address of the association. Fla. Stat. § 718.112 (2)(d)(4)(a); Fla. Admin. Code. R. 61B.230021 (4). An “intent to run” form should also be sent out to unit owners. Even though the statute does not require this, it is common practice.
40 days before the annual meeting
- Unit owner's must provide written notice of intent to run for board position
- Issue a written notice acknowledging receipt
Prepare agenda for the annual meeting. Any unit owners planning to pursue their candidacy for the Board must give written notice to the association of their intent to run at least 40 days prior to the annual meeting or election. This letter may be mailed, emailed, faxed or hand-delivered. Through the same methods, the association must return a written notice acknowledging receipt of the unit owner's intent to run notice. Fla. Stat. 718.112(2)(d)(4)(a); Fla. Admin. Code. R. 61B.230021 (5).
An election is not required if the number of vacancies equals or exceeds the number of candidates. A unit owner is not eligible to be a candidate to serve on the board if the person has been suspended or removed by the division, is delinquent in the payment of any monetary obligation due to the association, or has been convicted of any felony is not eligible to serve on the board, unless such felon's civil rights have been restored for at least 5 years as of the date such person seeks election to the board. Fla. Stat. § 718.112 (2)(d)(2).
35 days before the annual meeting
- Candidates for the board submit information sheet
Upon request of a candidate, an information sheet, furnished by the candidate at least 35 days before the election, must be included in the mailing, delivery, or transmission of the ballot. This information sheet may include the candidate's background, education, and qualifications as well as other factors deemed relevant by the candidate. The information sheets should be submitted on a single-sided 8.5” x 11” piece of paper, but to reduce paper usage, the association may print double-sided sheets for distribution. Fla. Stat. § 718.112 (2)(d)(4)(a); Fla. Admin. Code. R. 61B.230021 (7).
14-34 days before the annual meeting
- Send second notice of election
- Share pertinent details
Together with the written notice and agenda, the association must mail, deliver, or electronically transmit a second notice of the election to all unit owners entitled to vote, together with a ballot that lists all candidates no less than 14 days and no more than 34 days prior to the election. Fla. Stat. 718.112(2)(d)(4)(a); Fla. Admin. Code. R. 61B.230021 (8). This notice has no specific format that must be followed, but you should consider including details on how members can cast a vote, how they should fill out and submit the annual meeting limited proxy and any explanations of any motions for which the association is requesting a membership vote.
Accompanying the ballot shall be an outer envelope addressed to the person or entity authorized to receive the ballots and a smaller inner envelope in which the ballot shall be placed. The exterior of the outer envelope shall indicate the name of the voter, and the unit or unit numbers being voted, and shall contain a signature space for the voter. Once the ballot is filled out, the voter shall place the completed ballot in the inner smaller envelope and seal the envelope. The envelope must either be mailed or hand delivered to the association. Fla. Admin. Code. R. 61B.230021 (8).
At the annual meeting
Elections shall be decided by a plurality of ballot cast. There is no quorum requirement; however, at least 20 percent of the eligible voters must cast a ballot in order to have a valid election.
An impartial committee should collect all of the ballots and compare the names and unit numbers of those who are eligible to vote. This means no Board members, officers and candidates or spouses may be involved. Outer envelopes without a signature should be marked DISREGARDED as they will not count toward the vote. Fla. Admin. Code. R. 61B.230021 (10)(a)–(b).
Afterward, all inner envelopes should be removed and placed in a separate container by the impartial party. The inner envelopes will then be opened and counted in the presence of the unit owners. Any inner envelopes with multiple ballots should be marked DISREGARDED and not counted toward the vote. Fla. Admin. Code. R. 61B.230021 (10)(a).
Within 60 days after the election results are announced
Any challenge to the election process must be commenced within 60 days after the results are announced. Fla. Stat. § 718.112 (2)(d)(4)(c). Failure of the association to properly conduct an election must be resolved by nonbinding arbitration. Fla. Stat. § 718.1255 (1)(b)(1), (4)(a). A party to the dispute must petition the division for nonbinding arbitration and the petition must recite, and have attached, supporting proof that the petitioner gave the respondents, advance written notice of the specific nature of the dispute; a demand for relief, and a reasonable opportunity to comply or to provide the relief; and notice of the intention to file an arbitration petition or other legal action. Failure to include the allegations or proof of compliance with these prerequisites requires dismissal of the petition without prejudice. Fla. Stat. § 718.1255 (4)(b).
For any legal questions regarding condominium associations, PeytonBolin's real estate and association attorneys are ready to assist you.