Condo Election Recalls in Florida
By: Rima Suleiman, Esq.
Living in a condominium comes with many perks, but it also involves community governance. One crucial aspect of this governance is the ability to initiate a condo election recall, a powerful tool that allows residents to hold their elected leaders accountable. In this blog, we’ll explore the ins and outs of condo election recalls in Florida, empowering you with the knowledge you need to shape your community.
Understanding Condo Governance:
Before diving into condo election recalls, let’s briefly review the structure of condo governance in Florida:
Board of Directors: Condo associations are typically managed by a board of directors. These individuals make important decisions about the community’s finances, maintenance, and rules.
Elected Leaders: Board members are elected by the condo owners to serve a specified term.
Accountability: Elected leaders must act in the best interests of the community, and residents have the right to hold them accountable if they fail to do so.
The Condo Election Recall Process:
Florida condominium unit owners have options when it comes to the recall process. Section 718.112(2)(j) of the Florida Condominium Act states that any board member can be recalled and removed from office with or without cause by a vote or written agreement of a majority of all voting interests.
Recall By Vote
Careful attention must be given to all notice and quorum requirements for a recall. A special meeting of the unit owners to recall a member or members of the board may be called by 10% percent of the voting interests giving notice of the meeting as required for a meeting of unit owners (i.e. 14 days), and the notice shall state the specific purpose of the meeting. Email may not be used as a method of giving notice for a recall. If the recall is approved by a majority of all voting interests (51%) by a vote at a meeting, the recall will be effective. Thereafter, the board must notice and hold a board meeting within five (5) full business days after the adjournment of the unit owner meeting to recall one or more board members. The recalled board member shall be recalled effective immediately upon conclusion of the board meeting, provided that the recall is facially valid.
Recall By Written Agreement
If the proposed recall is by an agreement in writing by a majority of all voting interests (51%), the agreement in writing or a copy thereof must be served on the association by certified mail or by personal service by process server. The Division Condominium maintains a form recall by written agreement document that should be used. The board must then notice and hold a meeting of the board within five (5) full business days after service of the agreement in writing. Such member or members shall be recalled effective immediately upon the conclusion of the board meeting, provided that the recall is facially valid. The recalled board member shall be recalled effective immediately upon conclusion of the board meeting, provided that the recall is facially valid.
Essentially, facial validity means that the analysis of a voting ballot will be viewed by looking at the “four corners of the ballot.” In Swint v. Flamingo South Beach I Condominium Association, Inc., Arb. Case No. 2021-03-1388, Summary Final Order (November 18, 2021), the chief arbitrator discussed Division precedent concerning the review of recall ballots and what makes a ballot facially invalid and stated the following:
Examples of facial invalidity include:
(1) the votes on the recall ballots were pre-marked;
(2) the recall ballot did not provide an opportunity for the voter to cast a vote individually to recall or retain, each board member targeted for recall;
(3) the ballot did not contain a signature; and
(4) there are no markings on a ballot indicating that the unit owner voted to recall or retain a board member, i.e., where no check is in the box next to the board member’s name.
If the association certifies the recall of one or more board members, a board member who has been recalled has the right to an action challenging the recall certification by the association. A challenge to the recall must be filed within 60 days of the certification. However, the only issue determining whether a recall is valid is whether enough unit owners voted for recall. The required vote is a majority of all voting interests. There is usually one voting interest per unit.
Why Condo Election Recalls Matter:
Condo election recalls in Florida are crucial for several reasons:
Accountability: They hold board members accountable for their actions, ensuring that they act in the best interests of the condo community.
Resident Empowerment: They empower condo owners to actively participate in the governance of their community and influence its direction.
Maintaining Harmony: The threat of a recall encourages board members to be responsive to residents’ needs and concerns, promoting harmony within the community.
In conclusion, condo election recalls in Florida are an essential tool for condo owners who want to ensure their community is well-managed and that their elected leaders act in the best interests of the community association. By understanding the process and your rights, you can actively shape the future of your condo community and contribute to a harmonious living environment.