Recounts: Difficulties Correcting HOA and Condo Election Ballot Count Errors After the Annual Meeting

Morrell.Clinton_thumb_@1xFloridians who were of age during the 2000 U.S. Presidential election know firsthand how controversial close elections, disputed results, and recounts can be. Disputed homeowners’ association and condominium association elections can be just as disruptive to the community. Since community associations are statutorily required to retain election materials for a period of time, one natural response to a disputed ballot count is to recount the election materials to determine proper results. However, arbitration decisions from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations’ Division of Condominiums, Timeshare and Mobile Homes (“Division”) cast substantial doubt on whether a community association, itself, may conduct a recount or correct election errors after conclusion of the annual meeting except when ordered to do so by the Division. Continue reading

Limitations on Community Association Approval or Denial of Service Member Rental Applications

Clinton Morrell

Clinton Morrell

Effective July 1, 2016, § 83.683, Florida Statutes, requires landlords, condominium associations, cooperative associations and homeowners associations to process rental applications submitted by service members within seven days of submission. Within that seven day period, the landlord or association must notify the service member in writing of an application approval or denial and, if denied, the reason for the denial. If a rental application submitted by a service member is not timely denied, the landlord or the association must allow the lease to the service member if he or she has complied with all other terms of the application and lease. The statute applies to all “Service members,” which means any person serving as a member of the United States Armed Forces on active duty or state active duty and all members of the Florida National Guard and United States Reserve Forces. Continue reading

Community Associations and the Second Amendment

Clinton Morrell

Clinton Morrell

The Second Amendment to the United States’ Constitution guarantees individuals the right to keep and bear arms. The Florida constitution contains a similar guarantee. With few exceptions, Florida law allows licensed individuals to carry concealed firearms in most public locations. Based on these constitutional and statutory rights under U.S. and Florida law, many owners residing in community associations believe that they also have the right to conceal-carry firearms when on their community’s common elements. In the absence of a provision in the community association’s governing documents, owners may exercise their lawful right to carry concealed firearms on common elements. However, who prevails when an owner’s constitutional and statutory rights conflict with a community association’s attempts to regulate the carrying and use of firearms on its common elements? Continue reading