Do you believe that a felon serve on a condo association board?
Our upcoming condominium election is very contentious and people are spreading all kinds of rumors about the intentions of the various candidates. In doing my research, I discovered one of the candidates was convicted of felony battery a few years ago up north. Can this person serve on the board? – J.B., Stuart
Answer: Great question. If an individual is convicted of a felony, that individual may still serve on the board of directors provided all of his or her civil rights have been restored for at least five years. Specifically, Florida Statutes section 718.112(2)(d) provides that “a person who has been convicted of any felony in this state or in a United States District or Territorial Court, or who has been convicted of any offense in another jurisdiction which would be considered a felony if committed in this state, is not eligible for board membership unless such felon’s civil rights have been restored for at least 5 years as of the date such person seeks election to the board.”
Thus, if the battery up north would also be considered felony battery in Florida, that candidate is not eligible to be on the ballot unless all of the candidate’s civil rights have been restored for at least five years.
Those civil rights are generally the right to vote, the right to own a gun, the right to hold public office and the right to serve on a jury. Depending on the nature of the criminal act, some or all of the rights are suspended by the applicable state and/or federal governments. A convicted felon can petition to have his or her rights restored, but the point of the statute is that all of those rights must have been restored for at least five years before that person is eligible to serve on the condominium board of directors. If the candidate has all rights restored except the right to own a gun, that person is not eligible because the law requires all civil rights to be restored.
You should not interpret this to require a criminal background check on all candidates as part of the nomination process. Candidates should be advised of the eligibility requirements, but rarely do I have clients run background checks on potential candidates, and there is no legal requirement to do so. Generally, disagreements arise between candidates or other board members and they end up ‘Googling’ each other, and the criminal history surfaces and is dealt with accordingly.
Question: Each owner in our HOA maintains his own mailbox. The association wants to special assess the owners to replace all the mailboxes. My mailbox is brand new. Can the HOA do this? – E.D., Treasure Coast
Answer: There is a difference between being able to raise money to do work, and the ability to actually do the work. If your HOA documents provide that the owners are responsible to maintain, repair and replace the mailboxes, it would not be a valid expenditure for the HOA to spend a dollar toward replacing mailboxes because it is not contractually obligated to do so, despite the fact that an assessment may conceivably be levied by the board.
To do this, the association would need to amend its governing documents to shift responsibility from the owners to the association, and then the association could move forward as described. My recommendation is to have your governing documents reviewed by experienced legal counsel to determine the various rights and responsibilities relative to mailboxes.
Steven J. Adamczyk Esq., is a shareholder of the law firm Goede, Adamczyk, DeBoest & Cross, PLLC. The information provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The publication of this article does not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader and Goede, Adamczyk, DeBoest & Cross, or any of our attorneys. Readers should not act or refrain from acting based upon the information contained in this article without first contacting an attorney, if you have questions about any of the issues raised herein. The hiring of an attorney is a decision that should not be based solely on advertisements or this column.
Source: Florida Realtors
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