There has been much debate recently about the need for mandatory education for board members of homeowners associations. Presently, the Florida legislature only requires that members of condominium boards are certified by the state. This certification process is not complex at all, and can either be accomplished via the internet, or by taking one of many state certified education courses.
The West Palm Beach HOA Examiner has had the pleasure of going through two such courses, one in 2011 and one at the end of February of this year. One of the bills currently making it’s way through the Florida legislature tries it’s best to align the current condominium educational requirements with HOA boards.
“Condominium associations get education materials, a complaint bureau, an informational website, a Condominium Ombudsman and much more from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation,” stated Eric Glazer of Glazer & Associates PA. “Currently, the Florida Statutes expressly state that this assistance is a bad idea though for homeowner associations. Why?"
As with most laws in Florida, it just doesn’t make sense. One of the primary reasons that this column came into existance was to try and point out some of the issues in the current HOA system in the state of Florida, and find better ways of doing business. The education (or lack thereof) of most HOA board members is astounding, especially with the fact that all you have to do is do a simple google search and find a free, state licensed course that triess to remove the veil of secrecy from what should be an incredibly uncomplex system. Of course, not everyone is in favor of this new educational mandate, however.
“Community Associations Institute (CAI) loves legislation that would require licensing of board members. It's a fantastic way for them to generate even more revenue than they're getting now,” stated Ward Lucas, webmaster of NeighborsAtWar.com. “Most/many, not necessarily all, people who run for positions with any kind of power begin to get addicted to it. And they do get worse as they go along. Our Bill of Rights was not written to give us rights, it was written to PREVENT the government from interfering with our God-given rights. That's what has been furtively taken away from us by this utopia movement.”
“Florida has had some really horrible legislation put into place by the CAI lobby,” Lucas continued. “In fact, from what I read Florida has some of the worst HOA laws in the country. I seriously doubt that the current legislation (which I think was proposed by Jan Bergemann) has very little chance of getting through the legislature without massive changes that will only increase the incomes of CAI lawyers."
It’s anybody’s guess as to whether or not HOA board members will be mandated to take a certification course after July 1, but if you believe, like me, that the only true power can be obtained through knowledge, you should consider taking one of the many free courses currently out there.
Kaye Bender Rembaum will be hosting free seminars as part of its fifth annual free seminar series where attorney Jeff Rembaum will answer community association-related questions. Seminars are scheduled in in St. Lucie and Indian River counties and are targeted to board members and property managers of condominium, homeowner and cooperative associations.
- Wednesday, March 13, 2013, Tradition Town Hall, 6:00 to 8:00 PM, 10489 SW Meeting Street, Port St. Lucie in Tradition Station on the square;
- Wednesday, March 20, 2013, from 11:30 to 1:30 PM; Indian River Shores Community Center, 6001 North Highway A1A, Indian River Shores;
- Wednesday, March 20, 2013, from 2:30 to 4:00 PM; Indian River Main Library, 1600 21st Street, Vero Beach.
In addition to providing insight into the developments in the law over the past year, the content of each seminar shall also be determined by spontaneous questions and will provide a wealth of information to attendees.
The firm will also host a Free Condominium Board Certification Course on Friday, March 15 at 9 a.m. at VRG Owners’ League, Inc. in the auditorium at 2501 N.E. First Court in Boynton Beach.
This course will be also be led by Jeffrey Rembaum, Esq. and will provide condominium board members with an excellent foundation on topics including Budget and Reserves, Financial Reporting, Record Keeping and Unit Owner Access to Records, Elections, Dispute Resolution, Condominium Operations and Contracts and Bids.
Interested attendees should specify which seminar location they want to attend and send questions or topics for discussion to KBRLegalSeminar@piersongrant.com or call 954-776-1999, ext. 255.
Eric Glazer of Glazer and Associates recently announced that Condo Craze and HOAs Board Member Certification Classes are being offered on Saturday, March 23rd, 2013 at 10:00 AM at the The Hyatt Regency in Bonita Springs, FL, and again on Thursday, April 18th, 2013 at 8:00 AM at The Tampa Bay Condo and HOA Expo in Tampa, FL.
Associa Gulf Coast has partnered with local companies to present a complimentary day of education for all interested community association officers in the area. The workshop offers classes covering disaster recovery, accounting and budgets, a legal update and the 2013 Condominium Board Certification. Continental breakfast and lunch will be provided. The event will be held at Edison State College, 8099 College Pkwy, Fort Myers, FL 33919 on Saturday, Mar. 16 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Interested parties should RSVP to Phyllis Calloway. Attendees must reserve a space to attend.
The West Palm Beach HOA Examiner feels that every HOA and Condo association member (even timeshare boards) should be required to take a course demonstrating basic association governance at least every 2 years. That way, they can be kept abreast of changes in the law (if any) and can make educated decisions.
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