A Registered Agent (RA) is the person or entity who is charged with receiving legal notices on behalf of a corporation or nonprofit organization. In Florida, associations are required by law to have a designated Registered Agent.
If you do not have an RA the association’s corporate status could be in danger of dissolution and the protections given to not-for-profit organizations may be at risk. The real threat with not having an RA is that the board members could be personally liable for association responsibilities and personal assets could be on the line.
If you don’t know who your Registered Agent is, you need to know. Now. And if you have designated your RA as a board member, you’ll want to rethink that decision. Here’s why.
The main job of the RA is to receive crucial legal documents, particularly lawsuits, claims, collection matters and bankruptcy filings. Because of the importance and time sensitive nature of these documents, you need to designate an RA you can count on completely.
One of the peculiarities of being an RA is that you must have a physical address where process servers can deliver legal documents. If a board member is designated as the RA, they are essentially saying they will be available every day during normal business hours to accept service of process. If a process server is unable to deliver a document, let’s say a lawsuit, the court can still proceed on the case even without your presence. The lawsuit could be processed and a judgment made and your association would never have even known. All because you designated the wrong RA.
So, who’s the right Registered Agent?
We’re not going to beat around the bush. You should designate your association’s attorney as the RA.
You need a professional with an active business address so that they’ll be there to receive all vital legal notices. Some associations use their management company as the RA, but we don’t recommend this. The primary reason being that all of these documents will be legal in nature and thus best handled by a lawyer. If your management company does not recognize the importance of a legal document and fails to forward it on in time, this could cost your association greatly. By choosing your attorney as your RA, you are effectively cutting out the middleman in all important legal matters.
So, what’s the moral of the story?
You are legally obligated to have a Registered Agent, so if you don’t have the proper agency dedicated to this role, you need to update it now. If you’re not sure who your RA is, learn who it is now. And finally, we strongly recommend using an attorney as your RA. We happen to know just the firm that can look after your community’s interests and keep you protected.
Here’s to the Registered Agent!