A Selection of Condo Q&A Articles by Ryan and Gary Poliakoff

Ryan Poliakoff has generously agreed to allow the Somerset Residents' web site to republish selected articles from his collection of Condo Q&A columns.
These are accessible by Somerset Residents only.

Poliakoff Q&A

Ryan Poliakoff is a partner at Baker Aboud Poliakoff & Foelster LLP

These columns are dedicated to the memory of Gary Poliakoff, founding principal of Becker & Poliakoff, P.A., pioneer of the community association legal industry, tireless advocate, and author of treatises, books and hundreds of articles.

Ryan Poliakoff and Gary Poliakoff are co-authors of New Neighborhoods — The Consumer's Guide to Condominium, Co-Op and HOA Living.

Questions and Answers are published weekly in various newspapers throughout Florida.
You can find his weekly column in each Sunday edition of Florida Today.

Approval requirements for "material alterations" - HOA vs Condos
HOA directors can ‘hold over’ until new ones can be elected
What’s the point of living in a condo?
Proxy voting in Condo (not allowed) and HOAs (allowed) in elections
Some condos actually weigh pets (and test their DNA for poop testing)
HOAs and condos can sue to have a too-big pet removed
Right to access units is key in a condo
Can non-owners serve of Board of Directors (BOD)
Cable subscriber can’t opt out of service
Antenna deal raises questions in co-op building
Denying property sales requires "right of first refusal" clause
New treasurer might misunderstand his role
Can BOD limit right to peaceably assemble in lobby?
Community association not best place to solve spats between neighbors
How to control a resident that bullies others
How can HOA evict lot owner with criminal record?
55-plus cooperatives exempt from provision
New bookkeeper now damaging reputation
How to conduct business with the "owner from hell"
Mid- and Low-Rise condos opting out of retrofitting fire sprinklers
Changes at the FHA are unlikely to affect number of condos Oked
Can HOA fine owners for their, or their guests, for speeding?
Can association evict in live-in guest based on credit rating?
Delivery by hand is not the same as certified
Can’t get rid of ants by myself
Maintennce fees - deductable?
Inheriting a 55-and-older unit can be complicated
Who controls an HOA and who enforces the bylaws?
Ex-chief did nothing illegal, improper
Association’s purchase may lead later to higher fees
Landlord probably in violation
Residents elect directors who run the association
Little obligation exists to read, or respond to letters
Resident finds it hard to learn who’s in charge
"Due Process" in enforcing rules
Covenants determine responsibility for common area
HOAs probably have power to restrict speech, but not in all cases
Signed-contract rule is problematic
Master and Sub-Associations
Should association get involved in foreclosure actions?
Can I be required to insure my unit?
Condominium’s covenants likely cannot stop leasing
Any update regarding inspection of records?
Can BOD rent out a unit that’s in foreclosure?
How much info is too much for background checks?
Restricting certain residents from service on boards.
Board’s rental prohibition might not apply to resident
Changes put burden on owners
New rules impact neighborhoods
Country club not subject to HOA rules
Can BOD have flexibility in where recycle bins are placed?
Can couting of ballots be inspected by owners?
Pros and cons of pet restrictions
If majority wants it, rogue leader can be recalled
It’s unlikely former condo owner can keep parking space
Can BOD members remove another member?
Agencies favor liberal pet-law interpretations
Most attorney-HOA/BOD communications are privileged.
Condos’ 55-plus status has some legal benefits
Townhome-style units may be Condo-governed or HOA-governed
Can board change tennis courts to tennis/pickle-ball courts?
Condos are not obligated to update documents
Can association turn off resident’s cable?
Must committee chairman be an owner?
Budget discussed, but not on agenda
Rules limiting number of units owned, renting blackout period
Board vote sharing likely improper
Dealing with misappropriated funds
Secret ballots.  Voting by proxy.
Is the term of a replacing board member the same as the replaced person?
Is conversation between owners the business of the association?
Can related persons serve on the same BOD?
Legaility of emails still an open question for HOAs
Water damge unlikely caused by ‘insurable event’
BOD’s reason for not approving a sale must be well documented
BOD should remove rogue president now
Reserve funds for HOA have different rules from Condos
Can BOD take out a loan secured by condo assets?
Multiple members from same unit on BOD
Converting leased facilities to association-owned
What is the minimum number of BOD members to hold meetings?
Leak-fix bill might fall to condo owner to pay
Can BOD install lights in swimming pool area without member approval?
Buying a unit at forclosuer and grandfathering rules
Assessments for common areas and rental restrictions in condominiums
Distinction between "quorum" and "majority" at meetings
Can non-BOD member act as substitue at a BOD meeting?
Is pruning tree roots part of normal maintenance?
Materiality of an alteration and rental restrictions
Can new owners turn their apartmets into "condotels"?
Is meeting invalidated if bylaws are not followed?
Dog door installed without approval.  Dog waste a problem.
State oversight of HOAs is limited
Board meetings and Membership meetings are different
Can board require homeowner insurance policy includes the association?
Can board limit or stop watering because of cost?
BOD minutes and Robert’s Rules of Order
BOD officer on the management payroll not all bad
Can rules prohibit dogs in the pool area?
Renter’s condo fee sounds like a cash grab
Publishing proxy votes before meeting, and voting, is held
HOA leaders can be born anywhere
Revitalizing covenants prior to 2004
Developer buying out all units for redeveloping
Welcome sign might not be worth trouble
Must association pay sales tax on purchases?
Does Sunshine law apply to condominiums?
Claims for damage caused by unsafe trees
Electric cars and condominiums
Only owners on the BOD?  Multiple co-owners?
Must clubhouse be handicaped accessible?
Investing reserve funds
Common elements and private access
Changes to short-term leasing rules.  HOA vs.  Condo
Can BOD be sued for not enforcing rules?
Multiple residents from same unit on the BOD
Service animal legitimacy
HOA dealing with abandoned townhouse
Supreme Court decision on Fair Housing Act
Can BOD change a "manned" gate to a "monitored" gate?
How many votes to remove a BOD member?
Using email to notice meetings.
Can BOD only count "Yes" votes at a meeting?
Accesibility to BOD/Attorney communications
Right to record BOD meeting.
Is association responsible for damage caused in garage?
Is the BOD election actually part of the annual meeting?
Are staff salaries inspectable?
Can BOD members campaing for an issue to influence voters?
Can BOD require that it be the ones that rent out units?
Meeting requirements for approving budgets
Can BOD president make unilateral decisions?
Who can be a board member?
Dealing with deliquent maintenance fees
Noise issues and noise protection for flooring
Rental restrictictions and rental applicaion fees
Foreclosing on a unit that has a homestead exemption.
BOD Minutes must be approved and published
Service and support animals when rules don’t allow them.
Re-purposing reserve funds without member approval.
Resigning from BOD, then revoking.
Getting Renters to obey the association’s rules.
Can BOD members view Atty communications?
Can a resident demand access to BOD/Atty communications?
Are non-US Residents barred from BOD membership?
Restrictions of altering the exeterior of a building/unit
Oak tree roots - Who pays for damage they cause?
Assessments must be proportional to governing documents
Are new rules retroactive?
BOD Vacancies
Restrictions on public area use.
Lump sum emergency assements (likely from waiving reserves)
Pet restrictions are common, and fines are just the first step.
BOD president resigned, who’s in charge?  Handicapped access to meetings
Right to install Antennae (Over-The-Air Reception Devices)
Deed Restrictions can be onerous, but you knew them before you bought
Voting Regulations - Voting Machines, Ballots
Renters not following the rules
Board Membership for Trustees, Trust Grantors, or Trust Beneficiaries
How aggressive can assocation be in collecting past-due dues?
Must owners be allowed to vote between "full reserves" and "partial reserves"?
Can association carry excess funds under "miscellaneous"?
Can a board member resign, then un-resign?
Changes to bylaws reduce the value of my home.  Any recourse?
What happens with excess reserve funds?
Can board president sign a contract without approval of the board?
Who replaces shrubbery on an easement?
Our bylaws predate statutory change.  Which applies?
Who’s responsible for repairs needed because of a roof leak?
Declaration can be ammended by a majority of the quorum
Can contractor begin work without a signed contract?
Serving on multiple boards is allowed, common
Can smoking on a porch or balcony be prohibited?
Enforcing fines against guests
Can association restrict reverse mortgages?
"Propery Manager" vs. "CAM" (Community Association Manager)
Annual assessment increase of 35% is unusual
Depth of financial details included in minutes
HOA has right to purchase, operate public use facilities
Must ownership through inheritance satisfy age restrictions?
Renters have the same rights to common elements as owners
Board members can openly share their displeasure, but not as official business
Can board pass rules to force use of air conditioner?
Are skylights part of the common elements?
Publishing a unit owner directory
Can association be held responsible for neglecting repairs?
Can there be an annual meeting that doesn’t require a quorum?
Can owners not "bound" to the covenants vote on amendments?
Association dropped "wind damage" insurance.  Now what?
Can employees of building/lot owner serve on the board?
Board can prohibit renters based on their credit score
The Division of FL Condominums and disputes with association
Can association charge for records sent electronically?
Mandatory and non-mandatory reserves
Elections and Annual Meetings are different events
How many members deterimes a "quorum" at a members meeting?
Can CAM (Community Association Manager) buy/sell units?
The role of "grievance commitees" in determining and approving fines.
Who is responsible for repairing damage (e.g. water) to a unit?
Can "Section 8" renters avoid registering with the association?
Can owners view the roster of all owners and their email addresses?
How can board members deal with overly demanding owners?
What are the restrictions about who can be on a committee (or a chairperson)?
Can owners demand arbitration over disputes?
Who’s responsible for water bill for broken pipe?
Can I view the association’s delinquency reports?
Transferring parking space to a different unit.
Ballots vs Proxies
What changes would be considered a "material alteration"?
Can association discriminate based on my "credit score"?
Are board members allowed to benefit from "inside" information?
Personal Note: 200th Column
How to set up a grievance committee
Do new amendments apply to those acquiring owership by inheritance?
Can board members receive compensation directly or indirectly?
Official committees and unofficial clubs.
Personal Note: In memory of my Dad and mentor
Can developer amend the master association covenants?
How to get rid of a badly-behaving board member.
Limits on per-incident fines, and their aggregation.
Lawyers are directed by the board, but represent the association.
"HOA" vs. "Condominium Association". "Unit" vs. "Apartment"
Can board members participate electronically?
My assessment seems too high.  What can I do?
Closed board meetings.  Justification and minutes.
Can residents be held responsible for actions of non-residents?
Can residents withhold assessment payment until work begins?
Can board members discuss association business outside of an official meeting?
Can association perform maintenance on an abandoned unit?
Can board re-open an election after the election was closed?
Can board member still serve if they haven’t paid their maintenance fees?
Can board endorse board candidates?
What happens if an annual meeting doesn’t have a quorum?
Can the board take out a loan on a unit owned by the association?
Must rules and regulations changes be approved by owners?
Board members using email.  Forclosure and unpaid assessments.
Must our association hire a Community Association Manager?
Access to financial records for private company hired by the board.
Are there attendance requirements for board members?
Closed board meetings for discussing "personnel".
Who is eligible to serve of the board?
What are the rules about collecting reserve funds?
Where are our offical records kept?
What Florida Statute covers the "Right to Speak" at board meetings?
Why can’t the board shop around for insurance?
Is it legal for a Realtor to be a board member?
Is boat lift beyond HOA’s control?
What are the rules about the content and handling of board election ballots?
Must the association provide specific details about election votes?
Can mutliple owners of a single unit serve on the board?
What are the rules about recording board meetings?
Is association allowed make changes that block my view?
Can board deny the installation of an "energy device"?
Is the owner responsible for damages caused by their tenants?
What determines who is eligible to serve on the board?
When is a noise considered a nuisance?
Can association be forced to install elevators for disabled?
Is voting by "show of hands" legal?
How is the "size" of an HOA determined?
How is a tie vote decided in an election?
Can board take action on items not properly "noticed"?
Can condo construction noise be considered a "nuisance"?
What makes an area "common property"?
Is the association responsible for theft from common areas?
Can association deny services for not paying dues?
Must BOD meeting notice and agenda be posted?
Does the association’s attorney represent board?
Can the board vote to cover legal expenses for board members?
Is it OK for board members to discuss business outside of board meetings?
What are the issues with filing liens, and foreclosing, for non-payment of dues?
Can our developer increase membership dues?
Requesting documentation to support need for service/support animals.
Is it OK to remind resident’s their payments are due?
How frequently must board meetings be held?
Dealing with dictatorial presidents
What are the options for who can enforce associations rules?
Should everything be in meeting minutes?  Can owners copy them?
What restrictions are there on where security cameras may be installed?
Rules cover condo age restrictions.
Are board member/attorney communications protected?
Buying foreclosures may not be a great idea.
Do board members who own multiple units get more votes?
Block voting dominates board.
How do you tell condo meetings apart?
Who appoints replacements to board members that were recalled?
Can board resind a prior verbal approval?
Ownership by bank good for association collections.
Who’s responsible for pest control?
How to ensure the board enforces violations.
Review board’s failure to respond to change request.
Can board make decisions in private or change common elements without owners voting?
What, exactily, are surplus funds?
How to prove board certification.
Has board waived its right to challenge modification?
Who can execute/sign contracts?
Interpreting Bylaws.
Can board president exclude a board member from all decisions and meetings?
Can board decide who lives in my house?
Can access to board’s legal councel be restricted?
Can board limit use of alcohol?
Is service animal registration legitimate?
Who pays for water damage from above unit?
Can neighbors hog blind tenant’s parking?
This site is provided by Somerset Residents Ron & Susan Rockhold.