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HOA Board Wants To Curb Maintenance

Tribune correspondent
Published:   |   Updated: May 24, 2013 at 01:01 AM

I live in and belong to a residential homeowners association. Our covenants, conditions and restrictions state that the HOA will maintain all common areas within the community, and it has from the beginning.

Now the board of directors is attempting to have homeowners whose property abuts a common area maintain that common area, which is mainly cutting the grass. The back of my property and that of my neighbors' butt up against about 25 feet of common area around a retention pond. On the other side of the pond there is easy access across common area grounds to maintain all of the property around the retention pond.

The board of directors has already stopped maintaining other common area property that is accessible only by crossing over a resident's property. If it stops maintaining the common areas around our homes, what steps can we take?

R.O.

Fort Lauderdale

There are three ways to correct the problem. The last option is to recall the board. The second is to elect a new board at the next election, and the primary option is to try to convince the board that it is responsible for maintaining the common areas.

I would start by talking to your neighbors and have them, as well as yourself, write to the board. Your letters should address the board's responsibilities for the common areas. Explain that their failure to maintain the common area will cause a devaluation of the properties. That can result in a lawsuit against the board at extreme legal costs to the members, as well as a loss in value to their homes.

Tell the board to place the matter on the agenda of the next board meeting and explain to members why it is failing to maintain the common areas. Put the board on notice that its failure to maintain the common areas is a failure of its fiduciary duties.

Can a president limit an agenda to avoid discussion of specific subjects? If he can, shouldn't limiting the agenda be something that all the officers agree to by vote during a formal meeting?

How can I get this important policy issue into the next meeting? I want to see some issues discussed, such as how meetings are executed and bad financial decisions.

J.J.

Clearwater

Keeping in mind that the president and other officers serve at the will of the directors, put the problem in writing and submit it to all the directors several days before they meet. Ask that it be added to their agenda.

Ask for a private meeting to discuss the matter with the president before the formal meeting. If the item is not added to the agenda, then at the meeting, call for an amendment to the agenda. Although the matter cannot be voted on at that time, you can force the item to be discussed.


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;

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