New Requirements for Florida HOA Board Members

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Florida timeshares as well as timeshare resorts around the United States normally control day to day operations, collection of fees, and improvements of resort either by the timeshare resort developer, a management company, or a home owners association. Often times the resort developer will maintain the control of the timeshare resort until they have sold all of their units, after the resort is sold out the controlling interest of the resort would then be handed over to the resort’s Home Owners Association or HOA. Some owners may not be familiar with an HOA on the timeshare level, however many will be familiar with their neighborhood HOA. This is the organization which monthly dues are paid too in order to maintain the part of the neighborhood everyone uses or sees on a regular basis but no one person actually owns, such as maintaining street lights or the mowing of a green belt. The Board which makes many of the financial decisions for the resort normally consists of members elected by timeshare owners. Since many of the members of the HOA board are timeshare owners themselves they normally have the best interest of the resort as their primary objective. In the past developer ran resorts such as Westgate Resorts have drawn criticism from owners for not acting in the best interest of the owners, instead putting the almighty dollar ahead of the comfort of owners, a home owners association is designed to hopefully keep this from happening.

Recently the Florida Division of Condominium Associations, Timeshares and Mobile Homes has instituted a requirement making board members pass certain qualification standards before being able to serve on the HOA board. The association requires newly elected officials to either state in writing he or she has read and understand a long list of documents pertaining to the resort and its operations or pass a division approved educational curriculum. Any elected member will have ninety days to meet the criteria either by passing the approved class or by providing their written statement upon completion of reading through the resort’s documents. If the new member does not complete either of these tasks they will not be eligible to serve on the board until they have done so. Some of the approved educational classes include, Property Value Improvement: Maintaining and Enhancing Association Property, Communities in Crisis: Managing Receivables in Challenging Times, Disaster Recovery Takes More Than a Disaster Plan, and Essential Ingredients of Being a Knowledgeable Board Member. If the member chooses to go the other route and read documents required by the division they must state in writing they have read “the association’s declaration of condominium, articles of incorporation, bylaws, and current written policies; that he or she will work to uphold such documents and policies to the best of his or her ability; and that he or she will faithfully discharge his or her fiduciary responsibility to the association’s members.”

It is great the division has instituted these requirements but honestly we feel both continuing education and reading of the resorts documents should be required to serve on the board. If the member completes only one or the other they may be completely missing some very important points that may help them during their service. Many people are timeshare owners where the resort is ran by an HOA, how do you feel about these requirements?

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