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Ray
Ray, Lawyer
Category: Legal
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Experience:  30 years in civil, probate, real estate, elder law
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I live in a homeowner association, under Chapter 720. Condo

Customer Question

I live in a homeowner association, under Chapter 720. Condo law, under Chapter 718, apparently has provisions for voting certificates. It is defined, with the words "designates one of the record title owners, or the corporate, partnership, or entity representative, who is authorized to vote on behalf of a condominium unit" Does that require a condo unit owner to have a voting certificate on file to vote? If so, can a homeowner association board under Chapter 720 vote to force owners to have a voting certificate on file? In other words, can HOA boards cherry pick condo laws and make them apply to their associations. It would seem so.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ray replied 6 months ago.
Hi and welcome to JA. Ray here to help you today. The law here in Florida requires that the voting certificates be on file or their votes are not counted. Under 720 A voting certificate is a document used to designate one of several owners of a unit who will have the right to vote for the unit.The association’s governing documents will dictate whether your association utilizes voting certificates. In general, a voting certificate is needed if:Your unit is owned by more than one person;Your unit is owned by a trust;Your unit is owned by an entity such as a corporation, LLC or partnership. If a voting certificate is necessary and you do not deliver it to the association prior to the opening of the first ballot (or whenever the governing documents require the voting certificate to be delivered), your election ballot will NOT be counted, regardless of whether the board, property manager or other homeowners can vouch that you own the unit. Also, you won’t be able to vote on any matters that come before the membership at the annual or membership meeting. The voting certificate must be filed with the secretary of the condominium in advance of the meeting for which it is to be effective and thereby becomes an association record. A voting certificate is effective indefinitely until either a new voting certificate is filed with the association; notice of revocation is delivered to the association or the unit ownership changes. The Association is required to have the certificates on file or the votes cannot be counted in any elections. I appreciate the chance to help you today.Thanks again.
Expert:  Ray replied 6 months ago.
Reference http://blogs.sun-sentinel.com/condoblog/2014/10/voting-certificate-blunders.html
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
In other words, if my governing documents do not require voting certificates, they are not required.
Expert:  Ray replied 6 months ago.
Thats correct and there would only be votes by members present.The certificates are to allow for absentee voting where the certificate is on file ahead of time. Thanks for the follow up and chance to help today.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I looked. There is nothing listed about a voting certificate under 720. There is under 718. Where do you see voting certificates listed under 720. In other words, any HOA board under 720 is free to take excerpts from 718 or 719 or elsewhere and use it to make rules for owners to follow.
Expert:  Ray replied 6 months ago.
That is correct and thanks for letting me clarify.The Association is free to adopt certificates if they choose to do so.Its their decision and the members may vote on such a proposal if approved by the board.Otherwise it is regular voting here. It really is popular in Florida because there are a lot of part timers that own but have another home elsewhere and are absetee until they retire.
Expert:  Ray replied 6 months ago.
718 definitions 29) “Voting certificate” means a document which designates one of the record title owners, or the corporate, partnership, or entity representative, who is authorized to vote on behalf of a condominium unit that is owned by more than one owner or by any entity.(30) “Voting interests” means the voting rights distributed to the association members pursuant to s. 718.104(4)(j). In a multicondominium association, the voting interests of the association are the voting rights distributed to the unit owners in all condominiums operated by the association. On matters related to a specific condominium in a multicondominium association, the voting interests of the condominium are the voting rights distributed to the unit owners in that condominium.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Very good. Thank you.
Expert:  Ray replied 6 months ago.
Always a pleasure to help.If you have future questions please post for Ray only be happy to help you.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thank you. Yes, I found the voting certificates provisions in 718. More questions later.
Expert:  Ray replied 6 months ago.
No problem thanks

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