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Calling 911 On Disruptive Neighbors

RICHARD WHITE Tribune correspondent
Published:   |   Updated: March 22, 2013 at 10:34 AM

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I do not understand why we have to resort to calling 911 when our neighbors are disturbing others in the building. I understand it when the disturbance occurs during the night; I had to call the police at 1 a.m. on a few occasions.

The board has not been very effective in dealing with this problem. There is a paragraph in our rules that deals with noise. The board published a request in our newsletter that asked the members to be more considerate and keep the noise low during sleeping hours. It also said that if an owner is disturbing others during late hours the complainant should call 911. I think it should be the board's duty to take care of the noise problem.

MW

Miami

Most cities and counties have noise ordinances that are enforced by the police, but yes, the board can take action. I recommend a letter be sent to the neighbor. Unfortunately, a letter is a warning after the fact, which isn't always as effective as a timely 2 a.m. knock on the door.

A letter becomes a written record of the event. Attaching a police report makes an even better record.

In enforcing the rules, the board should limit direct action that could place a board member in a hazardous situation. That could have serious repercussions. Besides, it's my guess that your board of directors is asleep at 1 a.m.

Once a case is on file, the board can turn over the matter to the association's attorney for further action.

I am the vice president of a mobile home cooperative park. The board of directors is made up of snowbirds. We have a member who insists on seeing the corporate books during the directors' absence. According to FS 719.104 (13) (c), the association may adopt reasonable rules regarding the frequency, time, location, notice, and manner of record inspections and copying.

Can we make a rule that states that any member may not be able to see the corporate records from, say, March 30 to Nov. 1 because of the absence of board members? The books will be open for inspection any other time during normal working hours.

Please keep in mind that we are very small corporation with an annual budget of about $70,000, and having someone fly back to open the books would be expensive.

Question 2: Can that member inspect personnel files of other member(s)?

VE

Miami

The statute section to which you refer requires that the board schedule an inspection within 10 days of receiving the letter of request. Unfortunately, the association's business does not stop just because the board members leave the area. You are required to have a registered agent, who is available to take care of emergencies and signing for certified letters.

Maybe that agent could be the custodian of the records while the board is absent. Or, you could appoint a member of the community to act as an assistant secretary (not a director) and he or she would be available to receive the mail and open the records. You could also hire a management company to become involved during your absence. There are a lot of options.

The statute says you can establish certain rules to inspect, but you cannot delay for extended periods. You can require members to send the request by certified mail, and specify the days and hours that records can be researched. You can even put a time limit of one or two hours on the inspection. You can also require members pay for copies and set a rate of 50 cents or more per page.

However, you will still need to have someone on the property who can act on behalf of the board.

Richard White is a licensed community association manager. He does not offer legal opinions; any other questions and comments concerning association operations can be sent to Richard White, 6039 Cypress Gardens Blvd., No. 201, Winter Haven FL 33884-4115; or e-mail


camquestion@cfl.rr.com.

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