“Sunshine Laws” Do Not Apply to Community Associations (Open Meetings are Still Required)
Frequently, there are complaints by association members
regarding violations of Florida’s Sunshine Laws, Chapter 286, Florida
Statutes, which mandates public access to records and meetings. Sunshine
Laws only apply to state or local governmental organizations. Although there
are similar open meeting requirements for community associations, they are
private organizations that are governed by entirely separate laws. Both
homeowners’ associations and condominium associations are required to
provide members with notice and access to meetings in which association
business is discussed.
Meetings of the board must be open to all members, except
for meetings between the board and its attorney with respect to proposed or
pending litigation where the contents of the discussion would otherwise be
governed by the attorney-client privilege. …Members have the right to attend
all meetings of the board. The right to attend such meetings includes the
right to speak at such meetings with reference to all designated items.
…Notwithstanding any other law, meetings between the
board or a committee and the association’s attorney to discuss proposed or
pending litigation or meetings of the board held for the purpose of
discussing personnel matters are not required to be open to the members
other than directors.
…Notwithstanding any other law, the requirement that
board meetings and committee meetings be open to the unit owners does not
apply to meetings between the board or a committee and the association’s
attorney, with respect to proposed or pending litigation, if the meeting is
held for the purpose of seeking or rendering legal advice; or Board meetings
held for the purpose of discussing personnel matters.