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How do you get rid of a board member who may not be serving legally?

Sometimes, the work of a board of directors is so sensitive, that it's better if you cover your face!
Sometimes, the work of a board of directors is so sensitive, that it's better if you cover your face!Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

It can be very difficult to find residents who are willing to serve on the board of directors for their homeowners association. The thankless job, where you are blamed for anything and everything that goes wrong in the community, and almost never given credit for anything that goes right, can take it's toll on the volunteer board members. Sometimes, however, someone slips through the cracks and is elected when they may not really legally be able to do so.

It is this touchy subject that is the topic of this week's question and answer session.

Q: In my neighborhood, there is a sitting board member who is not an owner. According to the SS, you must be registered on the county deed to be an owner, you must be an owner to be a member, you must be a member to be elected to the board.

But what about if someone is already on the board and they are not on the registered deed with the county?

Gary

A: Gary,

I recently blogged about the topic of background checks on candidates for the board. Such checks could include proof that someone is a record title owner of a property if being an owner is a requirement to serve on the board as it is in many communities.

The fact is that far too many communities do not inquire as to a candidate’s background only to find out after the election that a new board member is either not on the deed or is a convicted felon whose civil rights have not been restored. Since the statutes do not list property ownership as a condition for eligibility, this writer’s community would either have to request that this individual resign from the board (which is probably not likely) or the members could move forward with a recall of this particular director.

Some communities allow non-owners to serve on the board because they have a tough time getting people to serve and there are some wonderful people who are willing to put in time to serve the community where they live even if they are not record title owners. If this director is doing a good job, you may want to reconsider going after him on a technicality and, instead, amend the documents to allow non-owners to serve. However, it sounds as if this director is not well liked (at least by the email author) so insisting that the board enforce the terms and provisions of the governing documents would not be unreasonable.

-Donna DiMaggio Berger, Shareholder, Becker and Poliakoff

This can be a very difficult issue to pursue, and each community is a little different. Sometimes they allow non-owners to be on the board. Occasionally, they even allow people who don't reside in the community to do so.

The West Palm Beach HOA Examiner would like to thank Donna Berger of the law firm of Becker and Poliakoff once again for her continued support and assistance in this and other matters. Her immense legal knowledge is a resource that is fought over in many legal circles, and one which we are very lucky to have access to in this forum.

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