Can a Unit Owner Assign His or Her Voting Rights?
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Last updated: Monday, November 5, 2007

 

Unless otherwise provided in the Bylaws, the assignee would have the right to attend meetings by submission of application to the Association for approval. Upon Board’s approval, the assignee would gain the right to attend Association meetings. This doesn’t mean an assignee can vote for the unit owner. The Florida Statute specifically states, “No unit owner shall permit any other person to vote his or her ballot, and any such ballots improperly cast shall be deemed invalid, provided any unit owner who violates this provision may be fined by the association in accordance with s. 718.303.”

Some documents allow for a “Voting Member” the right to vote. If the owner of a unit is not a natural person or is a trustee, the unit’s primary occupant shall cast the vote of that unit, which would be the “Voting Member”. For validation and record keeping, the Voting Member would have to seek Board approval initiated by an application.

The Florida Statute recognizes unit owners as a holder of a fee simple interest in a unit and does not specify assignments, the description of “unit owner” reads:
(28) “Unit owner” or “owner of a unit” means a record owner of legal title to a condominium parcel.
If a unit on record titled by a corporation, partnership or entity representative, an authorized person may vote on behalf of the unit with a “Voting Certificate” supplied by the selling upon closing.
See Florida Statutes , 718.112, Bylaws below:

718.112  Bylaws.

(1)  GENERALLY.–

(a)  The operation of the association shall be governed by the articles of incorporation if the association is incorporated, and the bylaws of the association, which shall be included as exhibits to the recorded declaration. If one association operates more than one condominium, it shall not be necessary to rerecord the same articles of incorporation and bylaws as exhibits to each declaration after the first, provided that in each case where the articles and bylaws are not so recorded, the declaration expressly incorporates them by reference as exhibits and identifies the book and page of the public records where the first declaration to which they were attached is recorded.

(b)  No amendment to the articles of incorporation or bylaws is valid unless recorded with identification on the first page thereof of the book and page of the public records where the declaration of each condominium operated by the association is recorded.

(2)  REQUIRED PROVISIONS.–The bylaws shall provide for the following and, if they do not do so, shall be deemed to include the following:

(a)  Administration.

1.  The form of administration of the association shall be described indicating the title of the officers and board of administration and specifying the powers, duties, manner of selection and removal, and compensation, if any, of officers and boards. In the absence of such a provision, the board of administration shall be composed of five members, except in the case of a condominium which has five or fewer units, in which case in a not-for-profit corporation the board shall consist of not fewer than three members. In the absence of provisions to the contrary in the bylaws, the board of administration shall have a president, a secretary, and a treasurer, who shall perform the duties of such officers customarily performed by officers of corporations. Unless prohibited in the bylaws, the board of administration may appoint other officers and grant them the duties it deems appropriate. Unless otherwise provided in the bylaws, the officers shall serve without compensation and at the pleasure of the board of administration. Unless otherwise provided in the bylaws, the members of the board shall serve without compensation.

2.  When a unit owner files a written inquiry by certified mail with the board of administration, the board shall respond in writing to the unit owner within 30 days of receipt of the inquiry. The board’s response shall either give a substantive response to the inquirer, notify the inquirer that a legal opinion has been requested, or notify the inquirer that advice has been requested from the division. If the board requests advice from the division, the board shall, within 10 days of its receipt of the advice, provide in writing a substantive response to the inquirer. If a legal opinion is requested, the board shall, within 60 days after the receipt of the inquiry, provide in writing a substantive response to the inquiry. The failure to provide a substantive response to the inquiry as provided herein precludes the board from recovering attorney’s fees and costs in any subsequent litigation, administrative proceeding, or arbitration arising out of the inquiry. The association may through its board of administration adopt reasonable rules and regulations regarding the frequency and manner of responding to unit owner inquiries, one of which may be that the association is only obligated to respond to one written inquiry per unit in any given 30-day period. In such a case, any additional inquiry or inquiries must be responded to in the subsequent 30-day period, or periods, as applicable.

(b)  Quorum; voting requirements; proxies.

1.  Unless a lower number is provided in the bylaws, the percentage of voting interests required to constitute a quorum at a meeting of the members shall be a majority of the voting interests. Unless otherwise provided in this chapter or in the declaration, articles of incorporation, or bylaws, and except as provided in subparagraph (d)3., decisions shall be made by owners of a majority of the voting interests represented at a meeting at which a quorum is present.

2.  Except as specifically otherwise provided herein, after January 1, 1992, unit owners may not vote by general proxy, but may vote by limited proxies substantially conforming to a limited proxy form adopted by the division. Limited proxies and general proxies may be used to establish a quorum. Limited proxies shall be used for votes taken to waive or reduce reserves in accordance with subparagraph (f)2.; for votes taken to waive the financial reporting requirements of s. 718.111(13); for votes taken to amend the declaration pursuant to s. 718.110; for votes taken to amend the articles of incorporation or bylaws pursuant to this section; and for any other matter for which this chapter requires or permits a vote of the unit owners. Except as provided in paragraph (d), after January 1, 1992, no proxy, limited or general, shall be used in the election of board members. General proxies may be used for other matters for which limited proxies are not required, and may also be used in voting for nonsubstantive changes to items for which a limited proxy is required and given. Notwithstanding the provisions of this subparagraph, unit owners may vote in person at unit owner meetings. Nothing contained herein shall limit the use of general proxies or require the use of limited proxies for any agenda item or election at any meeting of a timeshare condominium association.

3.  Any proxy given shall be effective only for the specific meeting for which originally given and any lawfully adjourned meetings thereof. In no event shall any proxy be valid for a period longer than 90 days after the date of the first meeting for which it was given. Every proxy is revocable at any time at the pleasure of the unit owner executing it.

4.  A member of the board of administration or a committee may submit in writing his or her agreement or disagreement with any action taken at a meeting that the member did not attend. This agreement or disagreement may not be used as a vote for or against the action taken and may not be used for the purposes of creating a quorum.

5.  When any of the board or committee members meet by telephone conference, those board or committee members attending by telephone conference may be counted toward obtaining a quorum and may vote by telephone. A telephone speaker must be used so that the conversation of those board or committee members attending by telephone may be heard by the board or committee members attending in person as well as by any unit owners present at a meeting.

(c)  Board of administration meetings.–Meetings of the board of administration at which a quorum of the members is present shall be open to all unit owners. Any unit owner may tape record or videotape meetings of the board of administration. The right to attend such meetings includes the right to speak at such meetings with reference to all designated agenda items. The division shall adopt reasonable rules governing the tape recording and videotaping of the meeting. The association may adopt written reasonable rules governing the frequency, duration, and manner of unit owner statements. Adequate notice of all meetings, which notice shall specifically incorporate an identification of agenda items, shall be posted conspicuously on the condominium property at least 48 continuous hours preceding the meeting except in an emergency. Any item not included on the notice may be taken up on an emergency basis by at least a majority plus one of the members of the board. Such emergency action shall be noticed and ratified at the next regular meeting of the board. However, written notice of any meeting at which nonemergency special assessments, or at which amendment to rules regarding unit use, will be considered shall be mailed, delivered, or electronically transmitted to the unit owners and posted conspicuously on the condominium property not less than 14 days prior to the meeting. Evidence of compliance with this 14-day notice shall be made by an affidavit executed by the person providing the notice and filed among the official records of the association. Upon notice to the unit owners, the board shall by duly adopted rule designate a specific location on the condominium property or association property upon which all notices of board meetings shall be posted. If there is no condominium property or association property upon which notices can be posted, notices of board meetings shall be mailed, delivered, or electronically transmitted at least 14 days before the meeting to the owner of each unit. In lieu of or in addition to the physical posting of notice of any meeting of the board of administration on the condominium property, the association may, by reasonable rule, adopt a procedure for conspicuously posting and repeatedly broadcasting the notice and the agenda on a closed-circuit cable television system serving the condominium association. However, if broadcast notice is used in lieu of a notice posted physically on the condominium property, the notice and agenda must be broadcast at least four times every broadcast hour of each day that a posted notice is otherwise required under this section. When broadcast notice is provided, the notice and agenda must be broadcast in a manner and for a sufficient continuous length of time so as to allow an average reader to observe the notice and read and comprehend the entire content of the notice and the agenda. Notice of any meeting in which regular assessments against unit owners are to be considered for any reason shall specifically contain a statement that assessments will be considered and the nature of any such assessments. Meetings of a committee to take final action on behalf of the board or make recommendations to the board regarding the association budget are subject to the provisions of this paragraph. Meetings of a committee that does not take final action on behalf of the board or make recommendations to the board regarding the association budget are subject to the provisions of this section, unless those meetings are exempted from this section by the bylaws of the association. Notwithstanding any other law, the requirement that board meetings and committee meetings be open to the unit owners is inapplicable to meetings between the board or a committee and the association’s attorney, with respect to proposed or pending litigation, when the meeting is held for the purpose of seeking or rendering legal advice.

(d)  Unit owner meetings.

1.  There shall be an annual meeting of the unit owners. Unless the bylaws provide otherwise, a vacancy on the board caused by the expiration of a director’s term shall be filled by electing a new board member, and the election shall be by secret ballot; however, if the number of vacancies equals or exceeds the number of candidates, no election is required. If there is no provision in the bylaws for terms of the members of the board, the terms of all members of the board shall expire upon the election of their successors at the annual meeting. Any unit owner desiring to be a candidate for board membership shall comply with subparagraph 3. A person who has been convicted of any felony by any court of record in the United States and who has not had his or her right to vote restored pursuant to law in the jurisdiction of his or her residence is not eligible for board membership. The validity of an action by the board is not affected if it is later determined that a member of the board is ineligible for board membership due to having been convicted of a felony.

2.  The bylaws shall provide the method of calling meetings of unit owners, including annual meetings. Written notice, which notice must include an agenda, shall be mailed, hand delivered, or electronically transmitted to each unit owner at least 14 days prior to the annual meeting and shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the condominium property at least 14 continuous days preceding the annual meeting. Upon notice to the unit owners, the board shall by duly adopted rule designate a specific location on the condominium property or association property upon which all notices of unit owner meetings shall be posted; however, if there is no condominium property or association property upon which notices can be posted, this requirement does not apply. In lieu of or in addition to the physical posting of notice of any meeting of the unit owners on the condominium property, the association may, by reasonable rule, adopt a procedure for conspicuously posting and repeatedly broadcasting the notice and the agenda on a closed-circuit cable television system serving the condominium association. However, if broadcast notice is used in lieu of a notice posted physically on the condominium property, the notice and agenda must be broadcast at least four times every broadcast hour of each day that a posted notice is otherwise required under this section. When broadcast notice is provided, the notice and agenda must be broadcast in a manner and for a sufficient continuous length of time so as to allow an average reader to observe the notice and read and comprehend the entire content of the notice and the agenda. Unless a unit owner waives in writing the right to receive notice of the annual meeting, such notice shall be hand delivered, mailed, or electronically transmitted to each unit owner. Notice for meetings and notice for all other purposes shall be mailed to each unit owner at the address last furnished to the association by the unit owner, or hand delivered to each unit owner. However, if a unit is owned by more than one person, the association shall provide notice, for meetings and all other purposes, to that one address which the developer initially identifies for that purpose and thereafter as one or more of the owners of the unit shall so advise the association in writing, or if no address is given or the owners of the unit do not agree, to the address provided on the deed of record. An officer of the association, or the manager or other person providing notice of the association meeting, shall provide an affidavit or United States Postal Service certificate of mailing, to be included in the official records of the association affirming that the notice was mailed or hand delivered, in accordance with this provision.

3.  The members of the board shall be elected by written ballot or voting machine. Proxies shall in no event be used in electing the board, either in general elections or elections to fill vacancies caused by recall, resignation, or otherwise, unless otherwise provided in this chapter. Not less than 60 days before a scheduled election, the association shall mail, deliver, or electronically transmit, whether by separate association mailing or included in another association mailing, delivery, or transmission, including regularly published newsletters, to each unit owner entitled to a vote, a first notice of the date of the election. Any unit owner or other eligible person desiring to be a candidate for the board must give written notice to the association not less than 40 days before a scheduled election. Together with the written notice and agenda as set forth in subparagraph 2., the association shall mail, deliver, or electronically transmit a second notice of the election to all unit owners entitled to vote therein, together with a ballot which shall list all candidates. Upon request of a candidate, the association shall include an information sheet, no larger than 81/2 inches by 11 inches, which must be furnished by the candidate not less than 35 days before the election, to be included with the mailing, delivery, or transmission of the ballot, with the costs of mailing, delivery, or electronic transmission and copying to be borne by the association. The association is not liable for the contents of the information sheets prepared by the candidates. In order to reduce costs, the association may print or duplicate the information sheets on both sides of the paper. The division shall by rule establish voting procedures consistent with the provisions contained herein, including rules establishing procedures for giving notice by electronic transmission and rules providing for the secrecy of ballots. Elections shall be decided by a plurality of those ballots cast. There shall be no quorum requirement; however, at least 20 percent of the eligible voters must cast a ballot in order to have a valid election of members of the board. No unit owner shall permit any other person to vote his or her ballot, and any such ballots improperly cast shall be deemed invalid, provided any unit owner who violates this provision may be fined by the association in accordance with s. 718.303. A unit owner who needs assistance in casting the ballot for the reasons stated in s. 101.051 may obtain assistance in casting the ballot. The regular election shall occur on the date of the annual meeting. The provisions of this subparagraph shall not apply to timeshare condominium associations. Notwithstanding the provisions of this subparagraph, an election is not required unless more candidates file notices of intent to run or are nominated than board vacancies exist.

4.  Any approval by unit owners called for by this chapter or the applicable declaration or bylaws, including, but not limited to, the approval requirement in s. 718.111(8), shall be made at a duly noticed meeting of unit owners and shall be subject to all requirements of this chapter or the applicable condominium documents relating to unit owner decisionmaking, except that unit owners may take action by written agreement, without meetings, on matters for which action by written agreement without meetings is expressly allowed by the applicable bylaws or declaration or any statute that provides for such action.

5.  Unit owners may waive notice of specific meetings if allowed by the applicable bylaws or declaration or any statute. If authorized by the bylaws, notice of meetings of the board of administration, unit owner meetings, except unit owner meetings called to recall board members under paragraph (j), and committee meetings may be given by electronic transmission to unit owners who consent to receive notice by electronic transmission.

6.  Unit owners shall have the right to participate in meetings of unit owners with reference to all designated agenda items. However, the association may adopt reasonable rules governing the frequency, duration, and manner of unit owner participation.

7.  Any unit owner may tape record or videotape a meeting of the unit owners subject to reasonable rules adopted by the division.

8.  Unless otherwise provided in the bylaws, any vacancy occurring on the board before the expiration of a term may be filled by the affirmative vote of the majority of the remaining directors, even if the remaining directors constitute less than a quorum, or by the sole remaining director. In the alternative, a board may hold an election to fill the vacancy, in which case the election procedures must conform to the requirements of subparagraph 3. unless the association has opted out of the statutory election process, in which case the bylaws of the association control. Unless otherwise provided in the bylaws, a board member appointed or elected under this section shall fill the vacancy for the unexpired term of the seat being filled. Filling vacancies created by recall is governed by paragraph (j) and rules adopted by the division.

Notwithstanding subparagraphs (b)2. and (d)3., an association may, by the affirmative vote of a majority of the total voting interests, provide for different voting and election procedures in its bylaws, which vote may be by a proxy specifically delineating the different voting and election procedures. The different voting and election procedures may provide for elections to be conducted by limited or general proxy.

 

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