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I want to be a Director on my Condominium or HOA Board. Am I Eligible?
By Paul T. Hinckley, Esq.
As election season approaches, the issue of who is qualified to serve on a condominium or homeowners association’s board of directors can become a hotly contested issue. This post examines how eligibility to serve as a director in such a community association is determined.
Most Florida condo associations and HOAs operate as not for profit corporations. Florida law provides that directors of such corporations must be natural persons. This means that corporations, limited liability companies, and other legal entities are not permitted to serve as directors. The law also requires individuals serving on the board of directors to be at least 18 years old, so minors are not eligible for board membership in community associations.
There is no statutory requirement that directors be members of the community association on whose board they serve. However, if the association’s articles of incorporation or bylaws require directors to be members, then non-members of the association may not serve as directors. Membership in associations is determined by record ownership of lots or units in the condominium or community served by the association. Record ownership is determined by examining the deed or other instrument by which title to the lot or unit is held. With married couples, title to property is sometimes held solely in the name of one spouse. In such cases, only the spouse who holds title to the property is a member of the association.
If title to the lot or unit is held in trust, and membership in the association is determined by record ownership of lots or units, Florida law provides that the grantor of the trust is deemed to be a member of the association and eligible to serve as a director. If the beneficiary of the trust occupies the lot or unit, the beneficiary of the trust is deemed a member of the association and eligible to serve as a director.
A director who has been suspended or removed from office by the Florida Division of Condominium is not eligible to be a candidate to serve on a condominium association’s board of directors, and neither is a person who is delinquent in the payment of assessments. For homeowners associations operating under Chapter 720, Florida Statutes, a person who is delinquent in the payment of any fee, fine, or other monetary obligation to the association for more than 90 days is not eligible for board membership.
A person who has been convicted of a felony is not eligible for board membership in either a condominium or homeowners association unless such felon’s rights have been restored for at least 5 years as of the date such person seeks election to the board.