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Subject: Transparency Rules For HOA Committees
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Author Messages
DavidH44
(Florida)

Posts:12


09/15/2020 5:48 PM  
Am I correct in believing that all HOA committee activities are subject to the same transparency rules which apply to HOA boards? Specifically, I understand that HOA committees must publish or make available their members' names, their committees' activities, and their committees' work product. I am aware of the exceptions for personnel issues and legal matters. But, I believe everything else must be open to the HOA membership. Am I correct?
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16953


09/15/2020 6:32 PM  
Posted By DavidH44 on 09/15/2020 5:48 PM

Specifically, I understand that HOA committees must publish or make available their members' names,




Typically, that would be a board function.
However, many simply identify the chair of the committee to the members (as a point of contact).

Posted By DavidH44 on 09/15/2020 5:48 PM

Specifically, I understand that HOA committees must publish or make available . . . their committees' activities, and their committees' work product.




This would be in the form of minutes.

When I was serving on the board, I constantly had to remind the committees to send copies of meeting minutes to the Board for publication on our website. However, that was my Association.

Typically, committees keep their own records (if there are any).
The minutes should be available upon request.

That said, I know of many committees that would meet, conduct business and not one set of minutes were taken as the members simply forgot to do it.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:3105


09/15/2020 7:00 PM  
David,

Did you review FS720?
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:4062


09/16/2020 1:11 PM  
Posted By DavidH44 on 09/15/2020 5:48 PM
Am I correct in believing that all HOA committee activities are subject to the same transparency rules which apply to HOA boards? Specifically, I understand that HOA committees must publish or make available their members' names, their committees' activities, and their committees' work product. I am aware of the exceptions for personnel issues and legal matters. But, I believe everything else must be open to the HOA membership. Am I correct?

I don't think you're correct. I'd also advise reviewing FS 720. SOME committees must abide by the same chapters of the statute as the Board. Maintining a list of committee member names is something the board should do if required in the Bylaws. The law is silent on that point. Boards should task the committees with some kind of "charter", but again the law is silent. Same for any work product. If the board requires periodic committee reports, fine, but it's not strictly required.

If you want more transparency out of your committees, put board members in place who will vote to make it happen.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9870


09/16/2020 1:26 PM  
Our Attorney advised we do not have any Committees. He said let the BOD make all the decisions. As we are a small HOA (112 units, $96K annual budget) and have no amenities it works for us.
MarshallT
(New York)

Posts:100


09/17/2020 6:06 AM  
Hi David,

While it seems like committees should be subject to the same expectations, I don't believe that is actually the case. Ultimately, the board is responsible for the committee. That being said, the committee should be producing notes, activity updates, etc. to the board, but some members may not be aware of that expectation. If the board is having trouble with transparency issues, then they may want to consider dismantling the committee or enlisting new volunteers.

FayeE
(New York)

Posts:45


09/17/2020 7:19 AM  
Hi Geno,
Can you explain to me what FS 720s are? Thank you.
Faye
FayeE
(New York)

Posts:45


09/17/2020 7:34 AM  
Hi David
I see you are from NY. Can I ask what part? I am in Western NY.

Our Board is not transparent even though I told them they have to be. That we have to tell the Homeowners what is going on and the concerns we have. But President says no we will not tell anyone what goes on at a Board meeting. We have a serious mold issues here in some of our Buildings ( we are a Condo Community with 84 units) The mold is bad. For years he has told us to sit on it and not tell the Homeowners. Even when one homeowner asked if there was mold in his building because he was having health issues. I know the seriousness of that issue. The President is a know it all. Hard to deal with. It is his fault.

I need to find who I call in my area to report this Board and to find out NY state laws governing HOA laws not NYC. There seems to be 2 different governing laws one for NYC and one for the rest of NY. It does get confusing.

Thank you
Faye

DavidH44
(Florida)

Posts:12


09/17/2020 7:51 AM  
FS720 is the catalogue number for Florida statutes dealing with HOAs. These laws were revised and re-written several years ago. They are a welcome update.
DavidH44
(Florida)

Posts:12


09/17/2020 7:55 AM  
Sorry, I am from Florida, not New York. Nonetheless, we have large numbers of northeasterners moving to our state. In talking to some of them, it appears that property taxes and high income taxes (we have no personal income tax) are the prime reasons so many are moving here. All they have to do is dodge the hurricanes.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:4062


09/17/2020 4:11 PM  
Posted By FayeE on 09/17/2020 7:19 AM
Hi Geno,
Can you explain to me what FS 720s are? Thank you.
Faye

DavidH44's answer was good. FS 720 governs many aspects of HOAs in Florida. Condos are governed by another statute (FS 718). Co-ops and Mobile Home Parks also have their own chapters.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7496


09/17/2020 5:03 PM  
Faye, this thread is about committees in, basically FL. It's not about boards in NY. Please post your own threads. If you want a lot of us to read them, do make them much shorter and leave out so many of the personal details.

In CA, David, only committees with HOA-approved budgets are required to keep meeting minutes that Onwrs may read if they wish.

I also ws us prized that committee meetings do not need to be open to Owners. This makes sense for ARCs. but for social committees, tc.

So an association can prepare a Guidelines for All Committees. The Board approves it and it applies to all. Then, each committee has an individual charter with the fine details of what it's supposed to accomplish.

Committee are good pipelines for future directors.
FayeE
(New York)

Posts:45


09/17/2020 7:04 PM  
Thank you for explaining that for me. A lot of people are fleeing NYC so maybe they are headed to Florida. Sorry I missed read where you are from Maybe it was on another topic that had a David from NY. I need to find out all these laws governing NY and not NYC. We have to have them. I know our Board needs to be transparent and they are not. Thanks again
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:3105


09/18/2020 6:44 AM  
David,

What help did a read of FS720 offer?
DavidH44
(Florida)

Posts:12


09/20/2020 8:19 AM  
I've done a superficial review. Schedule is somewhat chaotic right now. My early take is that FS720 requires all board business, with 2 exceptions, be available for residents review; i.e., complete transparency, I've not found anything addressing committees. In my HOA, committees are authorized and defined in the covenants. Thus, by extension, I believe that committees should be governed by the same FS720 rules which apply to boards as a whole because they are a part of the board. Short of other possible findings, it appears that FS720 does not define transparency requirements for committees. Complicating this situation is that FS720 does not set up a state agency or board which deals with HOA issues. Consequently, it may take court action to set a precedent. Do you have an opinion?
DavidH44
(Florida)

Posts:12


09/20/2020 8:23 AM  
Suggest you use your search engine and inquire under "State of New York." On that web site make search inquiries such as "HOA laws." Also, you might look at the Secretary of State's web site or the Attorney's General web site.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:3105


09/20/2020 8:38 AM  
How about this, from FS720.303?

“ The provisions of this subsection shall also apply to the meetings of any committee or other similar body when a final decision will be made regarding the expenditure of association funds and to meetings of any body vested with the power to approve or disapprove architectural decisions with respect to a specific parcel of residential property owned by a member of the community.”

Note the “final decision” component of the language ...
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:4062


09/20/2020 1:03 PM  
I've seen opinions, some from lawyers (which I myself am not) that say every committee should hold open, noticed meetings, keep minutes, etc.

That language in the statute, though, about "final decisions" gives me pause because I don't think those requirements need to apply to every committee. Even if a committee reports its recommendations to the Board on any given subject, if the Board makes the final decision on something then it's obviously not the committee making it.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7496


09/20/2020 1:43 PM  
The language is similar to CA Corps code on this point. It is about the power & authority of the committee.

I'm not so sure if, in CA, owners can see the decisions of the ARCs though. I do know they can if the committee, like our Social Committee, has a annual budget and can make decisions how to spend it without Board approval. Our Landscape Committee, though, has no such authority.
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