Community Counselor July 27, 2009

Question:        Our condominium’s declaration requires unit owners to receive the architectural committee’s written approval before making any changes to their landscaping.  Before control of the association was turned over to the members, a unit owner changed the landscaping in her backyard without written approval from the architectural committee.  Instead, the owner obtained written approval from the developer’s property manager.  Does the unit owner need written approval from the architectural committee? Does it matter the owner has already installed the landscaping?

Answer:          Yes.  The unit owner must apply for and receive written approval from the architectural committee and it does not matter she has already installed, and paid for, her landscaping.  Written or oral approval from a property manager, board member or from anyone else that sidesteps the condominium’s Declaration requirements of written approval from the architectural committee is improper.

Question:        Does Florida Chapter §720 allow a homeowners’ association to suspend a homeowner’s right to use recreational facilities because of a delinquency?

Answer:          Yes.  Florida Statute 720.305(5) (2) allows for the suspension of a member, his/her tenants, guests or invitees to use common areas and facilities. However, your association’s Governing Documents must also allow the association the power to impose such a suspension.

Question:        Is a condominium unit owner entitled to financial documents showing the salaries of association employees?

Answer:          Yes, condominium associations are required to maintain accounting records showing its revenues and expenditures, including payroll. These records are part of the association’s “Official Records” that are subject to inspection by the owners. The association may, and should, redact sensitive and personal information such as social security numbers, birth dates and home addresses.