Congratulations! You’ve decided to run for the board in your association. It’s an important role with important responsibilities! Now what? It can be daunting, but don’t be discouraged. I’ll help you wade through the details.
Let’s Get Started
The first step is to read through your association’s governing documents. There are some things that are required for all associations to include, but they have plenty of leeway to add to the minimum requirements. I know that reading can be a little tedious. However, a good understanding of those bylaws will not only make you a great candidate, but it will really help you to be a successful board member after you win that seat!
Next, determine your eligibility. The Florida Condominium Act sets out some requirements to be followed by all associations. Candidates cannot be delinquent in any payments to the association, they cannot have ever been removed nor suspended from the board of directors by the governing body, and they cannot have been convicted of a felony (unless they regained all civil rights at least five years prior.) Your association could have additional eligibility requirements… and, you guessed it, they’ll be in those governing documents!
Details, Details, Details!
Like anything procedural, the details are pretty important.
One of the most important things you need to know is the date of your association’s annual meeting. The election for board members will be the same date/time as that meeting. Your association bylaws might specify that date or could provide some flexibility on setting the date. Either way, all the deadlines are based on that date, so being familiar with the timeline is the best way to avoid disqualifying yourself on a technicality.
Here’s a quick checklist of deadlines to keep in mind:
- 60 days prior to election: The first notice goes out to all owners with information about when/where the meeting will be held. This should also include a call for all interested and qualified board candidates as well as how many seats are up for grabs.
- 40 days prior to election: This is the deadline by which your association must have received your notice of intent to run for the board. Keep in mind that if that date falls on a holiday or weekend, the deadline is NOT extended. It is your responsibility to be certain your notice is received no later than exactly 40 days out from the election date. Pro-tip – get that notice in sooner rather than later so you don’t have to scramble.
- 35 days prior to election: The association must have received your candidate information sheet if it is to be included with ballots. Your candidate bio cannot be larger than one side of a letter-sized piece of paper. You should include your background, education, and qualifications. Remember, you’re talking to your neighbors so a familiar tone is a good plan. My suggestion is to prepare this in enough time to get it to your association at the same time as your notice of intent.
- 14 days prior to the election: The association must send out a second notice of the annual meeting and election to owners at least 14 days before the scheduled meeting. Your association’s bylaws could require this to be done more than 14 days in advance, but not less than that. They must include your unedited candidate bio sheet in this packet of information as long as it was received by the deadline.
It is possible that a board may not be required to hold an election. For example, there could be more positions on the board to be filled than there are candidates who have expressed intent to run. If this is the case the annual meeting will go on as scheduled and new board members will be announced there along with the number of vacant seats. Your association cannot nominate candidates, nor create a committee to do so. However, the board could choose to use a search committee to seek out and encourage candidates.
Your association should have an attorney. If you have questions about specific bylaws and procedures, you can always reach out to them for help. If you find your association has not retained a lawyer, give me a call – this is what I do!