Two for the price of one
From the Sun-Sentinel-
For the first time in Florida, a judge has ruled that two or more owners of the same condo unit can each serve on a condo board, despite an association rule that says otherwise.I can't believe there is no legal precedent for this. Then I should remember, this is Florida. Most homeowners, and I'm guilty of it too, pay little attention to the politics of the homeowners' associations where they live. If this ruling is allowed to stand, there will be plenty of ramifications. What's to stop one home from having 3,4, 5 or more owners and then they all running for election to a homeowners association or condo board?
But Broward County Court Judge Steven Shutter said the matter is so significant that the 4th District Court of Appeal should address the issue stemming from a dispute at the 392-unit Lakewood Village in Coral Springs.
"Because this has the potential to be a ruling that effects hundreds of thousands of people, it has got to be resolved by the 4th District," he said Wednesday. He said this is only the second time in 26 years on the bench that he has asked a higher court for such a review.
The ruling, if upheld, effectively limits the power of boards to control elections.
Shutter said he and attorneys on both sides of the case conducted extensive research and couldn't find any Florida court decisions on the issue. The state Division of Florida Land Sales, Condominiums & Mobile Homes has given three nonbinding advisory opinions. All agree the only impediment to becoming a condo director is having been convicted of a felony without civil rights restored.
The case involves Lauren and Philip Beracha, who in January announced their intention to run for one-year terms on the three-member board. They made the announcement more than 40 days before the election to comply with state law.
On Feb. 13, without a vote of owners, the board amended the bylaws to prohibit two owners of the same unit from serving at the same time. It also specified that if co-owners win an election, the person with the lower number of votes must step down.
In a separate decision, before the March 21 election, the directors increased the number of board members to five.
The Berachas campaigned for votes anyway.
Welcome to Legal insanity Florida style.
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