What standards for meeting minutes are acceptable by Florida law?
December 16, 2014
Question: My question centers around the accuracy required of the minutes to the homeowners association (HOA) monthly board meetings. Recently I've been attending a few of them and I take notes of what is stated, particularly when fellow residents of the community make a statement during that portion of the meeting reserved for community members' comments. When the minutes are published, sometimes a whole month later, and I compare what is recorded and reported to what I have written down in my notes, there is not only vast difference, but in some instances, total distortion or elimination of what was stated by the community resident or members of the board. When I challenged the secretary, on the accuracy of the minutes as they are published and approved by the board, I received a rebuttal stating, "The minutes are a summary of what occurred at the board meeting, not a verbatim account." Does this definition of the minutes of an HOA board meeting meet the minimum standards that are acceptable under Florida law or are there no minimum standards?
V.C. - Bonita Springs, FL
Answer: In regard to your question about the meeting minutes, the saying in the industry is that "they are called minutes not hours for a reason." So when the secretary says that the minutes are not a verbatim recitation of what was said at the meeting he or she is correct. However, the information reflected in the minutes should be as accurate as possible. Legally, all that is required to be reflected in the minutes is:
The date, time and place of the meeting;
When it was called to order;
The directors in attendance to establish the quorum;
Proof of proper notice;
Motions made and by whom;
Motion seconded and by whom;
Vote on the motion by roll call; and,
Time of adjournment.
There is no requirement to reflect the nature of any discussion on the motion by directors or members in attendance.
Q&A by Attorney Richard D. DeBoest, December 14, 2014.
Editor's note: Attorneys at Goede, Adamczyk & DeBoest, PLLC respond to questions about Florida community association law. With offices in Naples, Fort Myers, Palm Beach and Miami, the firm represents community associations throughout Florida and focuses on condominium and homeowner association law, real estate law, litigation, estate planning and business law.