Florida Rising Magazine May 2016 Florida Rising Magazine - Page 54

54

ACCOUNTING &

COLLECTIONS

NOT YOUR JOB? WHOSE JOB IS IT?

by Enrolled Agent Steven J. Weil, Ph.D, EA, LCAM,

Royale Management Services, Inc.

ASSOCIATION FINANCIAL INFORMATION

The question is often asked in associations, “Whose job is it?” Is it the responsibility of the board, the association manager, or the unit owner? First-time association residents are often unfamiliar with policies and procedures involved in ownership, which causes confusion. Board members serving for the first time are likewise uncertain of where their responsibilities begin and end. This article strives to clarify their various roles.

When Is the Board Responsible?

The Board of Directors is required by law to follow the current State laws as well as the association’s recorded documents and bylaws. In Florida the 2015 Statutes for condo boards are outlined in Chapter 718; and for homeowners’ associations, Chapter 720.

Governing documents that must also be followed may include the Articles of Incorporation, which define the type of association. The Bylaws define how the association operates. The Declaration defines what can and can’t be done, i.e., outlines the covenants, conditions, and restrictions that govern the community.

If the association also has Rules and Regulations to specify the operations (e.g., pool or laundry hours, parking regulations and meeting frequency), the Board is ultimately responsible for creating, amending and overseeing their enforcement.

Board members typically oversee the requirements spelled out in all their Documents, e.g. interviewing prospective owners, conducting an annual meeting, budget preparation, banking, taking minutes of meetings, overseeing voting procedures, and processing association income and vendor expenses, including staff salaries.

Importantly, the Board has specific fiduciary responsibilities, which include providing association financial statements to unit owners annually within 120 days after the fiscal year. The Board is also responsible for the maintenance, repair and restoration of the common areas of the complex.

Violations of fiduciary responsibility by Board members can be serious. Decisions made on behalf of their fellow residents must be made in good faith and with the best interests of the community firmly in mind, not their own best interests. Breaches of fiduciary duty often boil down to abuses of power such as self-dealing, exercising personal vendettas and selective enforcement. Such violations can lead to the recall of a director or possible legal consequences for boards and for individual trustees. The required procedure to recall a director from an association is specifically outlined in the Florida Statutes and the Florida Administrative Code.