WILL THEY EVER LEARN?

An Opinion By Jan Bergemann 
President, Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Published April 30, 2019

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Any board member and owner of a homeowners' association should know by now that the Florida HOA ACT clearly allows the recording of any meeting of the association -- be it board meeting or membership meeting. FS 720.306(10) states very clearly: "RECORDING. Any parcel owner may tape record or videotape meetings of the board of directors and meetings of the members. The board of directors of the association may adopt reasonable rules governing the taping of meetings of the board and the membership."

 

Combined with the fact that the HOA Act [FS 720.3033(1)(a)] requires any board member to either certify in writing that he/she has read all rules and policies or has satisfactorily completed an educational curriculum administered by a division-approved education provider everybody involved in association business should know that recording of such meetings is allowed.

 

But I hear all the times complaints from homeowners that their board interferes with their right to record these meetings with all kinds of excuses -- like the one used by Board President Daniel Thomas at a recent board meeting: "Excuse me ma'am are you video taping? You must have consent from everyone in the room."

 

According to members of the community this isn't the first time that the board president stopped owners of the Palm Beach Plantation Homeowners Association, Inc. from recording meetings, threatening to close down the meeting if the owner wouldn't stop the recording.

 

In my opinion minimum every board member should know by now that recording is allowed by Florida law and that there is no expectancy of privacy at such meetings. This law isn't new -- it exists since many, many years.

Board President Daniel Thomas:

"Excuse me ma'am are you video taping? You must have consent from everyone in the room."


 

What's even more amazing in this case is the fact that community association manager Betty M. Raffel from FirstService Residential is sitting idle by without even trying to correct board president Thomas, who -- according to Florida law -- is clearly in the wrong.

 

I always wonder why boards hire licensed community association managers. Shouldn't these licensed managers minimum attempt to help out board members who are clearly in the wrong?

 

I consider these attempts to stop owners from recording these meetings a violation of Florida statutes that severely impairs the rights of the homeowners.

 

You may ask why I feel strongly about this case? Because Board President Daniel Thomas is an attorney practicing law in Florida -- and he should -- minimum in my opinion -- should definitely know better.


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