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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 111567
Experience:  Experienced attorney: Family law, Estate Law, SS Law etc.
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Florida Homeowner assoc Chapter 720. Property manager

Customer Question

Florida Homeowner assoc Chapter 720. Property manager accused me of "deciding not follow" a 24 hour notice to record a board meeting. I had forgotten and gave late notice. I told him in an email I had forgotten and gave late notice. He still accused me of choosing not follow. He then told me the 24 rule adopted by the board was a reasonable rule and did not infringe on my rights. I asked him if he knew what the FL Supreme Court said about property managers telling anyone what a rule means. He denied accusing me of anything, told me he is through discussing it, and threatened to go to the board attorney over me to get a clarification of the 24 hour notice rule. I have been warned that the board could demand that I pay the fees for forcing them to go the attorney. Would the attorney or board be able to try to charge me? I already pay his fees.
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
Tell him a property manager interpreting bylaws has been found to be unauthorized practice of law, which I am sure you did. Whether or not the board can charge you for fees for the attorney depends on the bylaws and also whether or not you were the one who requested the legal opinion or forced the board to get a legal opinion. If you did, then they could charge you the fees if the bylaws say they can. If it is because the board is unclear about the rule, that is not your fault and in that case you would have a defense to them trying to charge you and if they try to do so then you could take them to court to fight the charge and their misapplication of the rules/laws.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
You say the board can charge me the fees if the bylaws say they can. Specifically what would the bylaws say? My bylaws have nothing I know of allowing them to charge an owner.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I wouldnt mind a phone call but I may have to hire a local lawyer for this.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 months ago.
Thank you for your reply. I did not offer a phone call, the site sends those without knowledge of the expert and I apologize.
That is correct, if the bylaws say a member can be charged for requesting a legal opinion or interpretation or for forcing the board to get a legal interpretation and the member is found to be wrong, they can charge you. AS far as the wording, every bylaw is worded differently depending on who wrote it so I cannot tell you "specifically" the wording your association would use, but if you look at my first sentence that would be essentially the gist of the bylaw. If your bylaws say nothing, they have no basis to charge you.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Don't apologize for the offer of a phone call. Actually, I would like to chat with you by phone sometime. Thanks for the answer you gave. That said, I am told the term "reasonable rule" or "reasonableness" has already been tackled in case law. I can't find where in any fashion. You are very good at this. Can you give a lead to something?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
Pinellas County School Board v. Suncam, Inc. 829 So. 2d 989. (Fla. 2002) was the case where the court said a board may set reasonable rules about recording. The court said a person cannot be denied the right of recording, but the board can set reasonable rules for allowing recording of meetings and reasonableness is based on the interference it would cause to the meeting.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Ok In other words, you cannot be forbidden from recording in public or board meetings. You are saying even in a public city commission meeting, rules about notice are allowed? The law gives an HOA owner an absolute right to record, as i read it. Then the caveat allowing reasonable rules. Then they say a reasonable rule is one where you must give notice. If you don't then what? I gave notice late. Can they then try to evict me, or just fine me?. My rule is in with the rules that can invoke a fine.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
Yes, the courts have said that for all types of these Sunshine Law meetings, recording is allowed BUT the boards can set rules that are reasonable to govern the conduct of those recording. They can restrict or prohibit recording if you did not follow their reasonable rule and if you refuse to abide by their rule they can have you removed from the meeting you would then have to go to court to argue the reasonableness of their rule.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I see. Oh well. The beauty of law. Right? One retired judge told me about the flexibility being one of the beauties of law. Ok I will rate you now. Thanks.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
Reasonableness in this case is part of that flexibility.