Does Your Association Have a Unit Owner Participation Policy?

by admin on February 24, 2010

in Board of Directors, Meetings, Residents

Owner Participation Rules Are A Must

Without going into specifics and the differences, FS 718, 719 and 720 allow for unit owner participation at all association Board of Directors meetings.  The rules must be reasonable and the rules allow the Board to expand these rights for the owners to speak and participate if they so desire.  Does your association have a written unit owner participation policy?  If they don’t, they should; see below for a suggested outline.  As always, have your association’s attorney review your draft and guide you in this process. 

1.         Provide a definition of what constitutes a Board of Directors Meeting and Committee Meetings.  This may hereby be defined as a quorum of Directors gathered to discuss official association business.  Meeting of a Committee may be defined as a quorum of committee members when a final decision will be made regarding the expenditure of association funds.  It can be further expanded to include a meeting to approve or disapprove architectural plans in accordance to the association documents.

2.         Define who may attend the Board or Committee meeting, such as unit owners, Board and Committee invitees and others whom may be allowed to attend by law.

3.         Outline exactly what will be the extent and parameters of Unit Owner Participation.  This may include a declaration that allows every Unit Owner may have the right to attend meetings of the Board of Directors, and designated Committees to the extent required and permissible under applicable law, subject to the following rules. Each Unit Owner is given the revocable privilege to speak at Board of Directors meetings and designated Committee meetings provided the Owner complies with the following provisions:

          a.         Statements by lot owners at meetings shall be restricted solely to agenda items.  No other statements shall be permitted except as may be authorized by the chairperson of the Board or a Committee.

          b.         A Unit Owner may speak only once on each agenda item and the owner’s statement shall not exceed three minutes.  After each owner has had an opportunity to speak, the chairperson can announce that all owner comments are closed, thereby ending owner discussion on that agenda item.

         c.         Unit Owners may not make or second motions and may not participate in discussions after owner discussion is concluded on that subject.

4.         Give a statement that Robert’s Rules of Order shall be applicable to and govern all association meetings when not in conflict with the Declaration, the Article of Incorporation and Bylaws of the Association, or rules, policies and procedures adopted from time to time by the Board.

5.         Provide a statement about tape recording and video taping of Board and Committee Meetings along with the association rules.

             a.         Any equipment must be assembled and placed in position within a certain period of time prior to the scheduled time of the meeting. The Association may direct the location of the equipment, while preserving the rights of Unit Owners to observe, hear, and participate at the meeting with minimal distraction.

             b.         No equipment shall produce distracting sound or light emissions.

             c.         Persons may not move about the meeting room to operate the recording equipment.

             d.         Check with the association attorney whether or not you can make a rule whether the person making the recording must provide a copy to the association within a certain period of time after the meeting.

6.         Outline how these participation rules will be enforced.

             a.         Any person not authorized to attend a meeting shall be prohibited from attending the meeting and may be ejected.

             b.         Any Unit Owner who does not comply with these rules shall be subject to ejection.  The chairman shall give one warning and thereafter may call for immediate ejection of that person.

Finally, provide a statement that the Board of Directors may take whatever legal action which is appropriate against any person who fails to comply with these rules.   Within the parameters of the statutes regarding Owner or Member Meetings, this type of written policy can also be developed.  By having a written Unit Owner Participation Policy the association is providing needed guidelines that may help boost unit owner participation.

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