2020 Florida Statutes
Meetings of members; voting and election procedures; amendments.
Meetings of members; voting and election procedures; amendments.
720.306 Meetings of members; voting and election procedures; amendments.—
(1) QUORUM; AMENDMENTS.—
(a) 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 30 percent of the total voting interests. Unless otherwise provided in this chapter or in the articles of incorporation or bylaws, decisions that require a vote of the members must be made by the concurrence of at least a majority of the voting interests present, in person or by proxy, at a meeting at which a quorum has been attained. A meeting of the members must be held at a location that is accessible to a physically handicapped person if requested by a physically handicapped person who has a right to attend the meeting.
(b) Unless otherwise provided in the governing documents or required by law, and other than those matters set forth in paragraph (c), any governing document of an association may be amended by the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the voting interests of the association. Within 30 days after recording an amendment to the governing documents, the association shall provide copies of the amendment to the members. However, if a copy of the proposed amendment is provided to the members before they vote on the amendment and the proposed amendment is not changed before the vote, the association, in lieu of providing a copy of the amendment, may provide notice to the members that the amendment was adopted, identifying the official book and page number or instrument number of the recorded amendment and that a copy of the amendment is available at no charge to the member upon written request to the association. The copies and notice described in this paragraph may be provided electronically to those owners who previously consented to receive notice electronically. The failure to timely provide notice of the recording of the amendment does not affect the validity or enforceability of the amendment.
(c) Unless otherwise provided in the governing documents as originally recorded or permitted by this chapter or chapter 617, an amendment may not materially and adversely alter the proportionate voting interest appurtenant to a parcel or increase the proportion or percentage by which a parcel shares in the common expenses of the association unless the record parcel owner and all record owners of liens on the parcels join in the execution of the amendment. For purposes of this section, a change in quorum requirements is not an alteration of voting interests. The merger or consolidation of one or more associations under a plan of merger or consolidation under part I of chapter 607 or chapter 617 is not a material or adverse alteration of the proportionate voting interest appurtenant to a parcel.
(d) The Legislature finds that the procurement of mortgagee consent to amendments that do not affect the rights or interests of mortgagees is an unreasonable and substantial logistical and financial burden on the parcel owners and that there is a compelling state interest in enabling the members of an association to approve amendments to the association’s governing documents through legal means. Accordingly, and notwithstanding any provision of this paragraph to the contrary:
1. As to any mortgage recorded on or after July 1, 2013, any provision in the association’s governing documents that requires the consent or joinder of some or all mortgagees of parcels or any other portion of the association’s common areas to amend the association’s governing documents or for any other matter is enforceable only as to amendments to the association’s governing documents that adversely affect the priority of the mortgagee’s lien or the mortgagee’s rights to foreclose its lien or that otherwise materially affect the rights and interests of the mortgagees.
2. As to mortgages recorded before July 1, 2013, any existing provisions in the association’s governing documents requiring mortgagee consent are enforceable.
3. In securing consent or joinder, the association is entitled to rely upon the public records to identify the holders of outstanding mortgages. The association may use the address provided in the original recorded mortgage document, unless there is a different address for the holder of the mortgage in a recorded assignment or modification of the mortgage, which recorded assignment or modification must reference the official records book and page on which the original mortgage was recorded. Once the association has identified the recorded mortgages of record, the association shall, in writing, request of each parcel owner whose parcel is encumbered by a mortgage of record any information that the owner has in his or her possession regarding the name and address of the person to whom mortgage payments are currently being made. Notice shall be sent to such person if the address provided in the original recorded mortgage document is different from the name and address of the mortgagee or assignee of the mortgage as shown by the public record. The association is deemed to have complied with this requirement by making the written request of the parcel owners required under this subparagraph. Any notices required to be sent to the mortgagees under this subparagraph shall be sent to all available addresses provided to the association.
4. Any notice to the mortgagees required under subparagraph 3. may be sent by a method that establishes proof of delivery, and any mortgagee who fails to respond within 60 days after the date of mailing is deemed to have consented to the amendment.
5. For those amendments requiring mortgagee consent on or after July 1, 2013, in the event mortgagee consent is provided other than by properly recorded joinder, such consent shall be evidenced by affidavit of the association recorded in the public records of the county in which the declaration is recorded.
6. Any amendment adopted without the required consent of a mortgagee is voidable only by a mortgagee who was entitled to notice and an opportunity to consent. An action to void an amendment is subject to the statute of limitations beginning 5 years after the date of discovery as to the amendments described in subparagraph 1. and 5 years after the date of recordation of the certificate of amendment for all other amendments. This subparagraph applies to all mortgages, regardless of the date of recordation of the mortgage.
(e) A proposal to amend the governing documents must contain the full text of the provision to be amended and may not be revised or amended by reference solely to the title or number. Proposed new language must be underlined, and proposed deleted language must be stricken. If the proposed change is so extensive that underlining and striking through language would hinder, rather than assist, the understanding of the proposed amendment, a notation must be inserted immediately preceding the proposed amendment in substantially the following form: “Substantial rewording. See governing documents for current text.” An amendment to a governing document is effective when recorded in the public records of the county in which the community is located.
(f) An immaterial error or omission in the amendment process does not invalidate an otherwise properly adopted amendment.
(g) A notice required under this section must be mailed or delivered to the address identified as the parcel owner’s mailing address on the property appraiser’s website for the county in which the parcel is located, or electronically transmitted in a manner authorized by the association if the parcel owner has consented, in writing, to receive notice by electronic transmission.
(2) ANNUAL MEETING.—The association shall hold a meeting of its members annually for the transaction of any and all proper business at a time, date, and place stated in, or fixed in accordance with, the bylaws. The election of directors, if one is required to be held, must be held at, or in conjunction with, the annual meeting or as provided in the governing documents.
(3) SPECIAL MEETINGS.—Special meetings must be held when called by the board of directors or, unless a different percentage is stated in the governing documents, by at least 10 percent of the total voting interests of the association. Business conducted at a special meeting is limited to the purposes described in the notice of the meeting.
(4) CONTENT OF NOTICE.—Unless law or the governing documents require otherwise, notice of an annual meeting need not include a description of the purpose or purposes for which the meeting is called. Notice of a special meeting must include a description of the purpose or purposes for which the meeting is called.
(5) NOTICE OF MEETINGS.—The bylaws shall provide for giving notice to members of all member meetings, and if they do not do so shall be deemed to provide the following: The association shall give all parcel owners and members actual notice of all membership meetings, which shall be mailed, delivered, or electronically transmitted to the members 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 upon execution among the official records of the association. In addition to mailing, delivering, or electronically transmitting the notice of any meeting, 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 association. 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.
(6) RIGHT TO SPEAK.—Members and parcel owners have the right to attend all membership meetings and to speak at any meeting with reference to all items opened for discussion or included on the agenda. Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary in the governing documents or any rules adopted by the board or by the membership, a member and a parcel owner have the right to speak for at least 3 minutes on any item. The association may adopt written reasonable rules governing the frequency, duration, and other manner of member and parcel owner statements, which rules must be consistent with this subsection.
(7) ADJOURNMENT.—Unless the bylaws require otherwise, adjournment of an annual or special meeting to a different date, time, or place must be announced at that meeting before an adjournment is taken, or notice must be given of the new date, time, or place pursuant to s. 720.303(2). Any business that might have been transacted on the original date of the meeting may be transacted at the adjourned meeting. If a new record date for the adjourned meeting is or must be fixed under s. 607.0707, notice of the adjourned meeting must be given to persons who are entitled to vote and are members as of the new record date but were not members as of the previous record date.
(8) PROXY VOTING.—The members have the right, unless otherwise provided in this subsection or in the governing documents, to vote in person or by proxy.
(a) To be valid, a proxy must be dated, must state the date, time, and place of the meeting for which it was given, and must be signed by the authorized person who executed the proxy. A proxy is effective only for the specific meeting for which it was originally given, as the meeting may lawfully be adjourned and reconvened from time to time, and automatically expires 90 days after the date of the meeting for which it was originally given. A proxy is revocable at any time at the pleasure of the person who executes it. If the proxy form expressly so provides, any proxy holder may appoint, in writing, a substitute to act in his or her place.
(b) If the governing documents permit voting by secret ballot by members who are not in attendance at a meeting of the members for the election of directors, such ballots must be placed in an inner envelope with no identifying markings and mailed or delivered to the association in an outer envelope bearing identifying information reflecting the name of the member, the lot or parcel for which the vote is being cast, and the signature of the lot or parcel owner casting that ballot. If the eligibility of the member to vote is confirmed and no other ballot has been submitted for that lot or parcel, the inner envelope shall be removed from the outer envelope bearing the identification information, placed with the ballots which were personally cast, and opened when the ballots are counted. If more than one ballot is submitted for a lot or parcel, the ballots for that lot or parcel shall be disqualified. Any vote by ballot received after the closing of the balloting may not be considered.
(9) ELECTIONS AND BOARD VACANCIES.—
(a) Elections of directors must be conducted in accordance with the procedures set forth in the governing documents of the association. Except as provided in paragraph (b), all members of the association are eligible to serve on the board of directors, and a member may nominate himself or herself as a candidate for the board at a meeting where the election is to be held; provided, however, that if the election process allows candidates to be nominated in advance of the meeting, the association is not required to allow nominations at the meeting. An election is not required unless more candidates are nominated than vacancies exist. If an election is not required because there are either an equal number or fewer qualified candidates than vacancies exist, and if nominations from the floor are not required pursuant to this section or the bylaws, write-in nominations are not permitted and such qualified candidates shall commence service on the board of directors, regardless of whether a quorum is attained at the annual meeting. Except as otherwise provided in the governing documents, boards of directors must be elected by a plurality of the votes cast by eligible voters. Any challenge to the election process must be commenced within 60 days after the election results are announced.
(b) A person who is delinquent in the payment of any fee, fine, or other monetary obligation to the association on the day that he or she could last nominate himself or herself or be nominated for the board may not seek election to the board, and his or her name shall not be listed on the ballot. A person serving as a board member who becomes more than 90 days delinquent in the payment of any fee, fine, or other monetary obligation to the association shall be deemed to have abandoned his or her seat on the board, creating a vacancy on the board to be filled according to law. For purposes of this paragraph, the term “any fee, fine, or other monetary obligation” means any delinquency to the association with respect to any parcel. A person who has been convicted of any felony in this state or in a United States District or Territorial Court, or has been convicted of any offense in another jurisdiction which would be considered a felony if committed in this state, may not seek election to the board and is not eligible for board membership unless such felon’s civil rights have been restored for at least 5 years as of the date on which such person seeks election to the board. The validity of any action by the board is not affected if it is later determined that a person was ineligible to seek election to the board or that a member of the board is ineligible for board membership.
(c) Any election dispute between a member and an association must be submitted to mandatory binding arbitration with the division. Such proceedings must be conducted in the manner provided by s. 718.1255 and the procedural rules adopted by the division. Unless otherwise provided in the bylaws, any vacancy occurring on the board before the expiration of a term may be filled by an 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 the governing documents. Unless otherwise provided in the bylaws, a board member appointed or elected under this section is appointed for the unexpired term of the seat being filled. Filling vacancies created by recall is governed by s. 720.303(10) and rules adopted by the division.
(10) RECORDING.—Any parcel owner may tape record or videotape meetings of the board of directors and meetings of the members. The board of directors of the association may adopt reasonable rules governing the taping of meetings of the board and the membership.
History.—s. 38, ch. 92-49; s. 56, ch. 95-274; s. 4, ch. 96-343; s. 1718, ch. 97-102; s. 47, ch. 2000-258; s. 4, ch. 2003-79; s. 22, ch. 2004-345; s. 19, ch. 2004-353; s. 13, ch. 2007-173; s. 25, ch. 2010-174; s. 19, ch. 2011-196; s. 17, ch. 2013-188; s. 4, ch. 2013-218; s. 18, ch. 2014-133; s. 72, ch. 2014-209; s. 18, ch. 2015-97; s. 15, ch. 2018-96.
Note.—Former s. 617.306.