If you live in an HOA or condo association you’re probably familiar with the board of directors, or BOD, and everything they do to help run the community. But the election process still remains a mystery, or a murky process at best.
We want to help you understand the process so that you can know what goes into an election and, perhaps, you may decide to run for a position on the board yourself.
Why does it matter?
The board is responsible for upholding the rules, regulations and bylaws of your community, as well as many other crucial roles and responsibilities in the community. The BOD holds a lot of power in the association so, just like any other elected official, you want to vote for the person who you think will best serve your association. When elected, board members are bound by a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of the whole community. Does that mean every board member will always honor their fiduciary duty to the fullest extent? We sure hope so, but power and politics don’t always play out the way we imagine. This is why voting matters.
The BOD structure
There can be many ways to structure a BOD. Each association’s bylaws will spell out the precise arrangement of directors and officers. There will always be directors and officers. Directors, who make up the BOD, are the ones being elected by the members of the community. The directors then elect officers to serve. A typical structure of officers will involve a president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer. In some cases directors can (or may be required to) also be officers.
The process begins
Your governing documents, or CC&Rs will tell you when it’s time for an election. They will also tell your community how the election process will work. As elections vary state to state and community to community it is necessary to abide by the guidelines in the bylaws of your association. But most associations follow a similar process:
- Election announcement. There is a first 60 days notice, then a second notice between 14-34 days before the election. This announcement includes letters of intent and open positions.
- Election organization. This usually includes ballots and meetings, but will be dependent on the bylaws of each individual association.
- Election results. The numbers are tallied and winners announced. Typically this is done at an annual meeting but more and more, especially since COVID, the results are being shared through mail or email.
- Election closed. New directors and officers step into their positions and fulfill their duties.
Terms are the amount of time that a BOD member serves, which are provided in the bylaws. A new provision in Florida HOA law has limited terms to 8 years of consecutive terms served. This has pros and cons, but it was mainly instituted to protect members from any abuse of power by the BOD.
Whether you are running for an appointment on the BOD or just voting for your directors, we hope this overview has made the process more clear. If you need help understanding your CC&Rs and bylaws, we are always here to help. Additionally, if you would like to make addendums or revise the structure of your election process, let us know how we can be of service.