It happens in business, government, and industry every day: employees learn the rules of a new job, and very shortly thereafter, they start taking shortcuts to circumvent them. Rarely is this done with malicious intent. More often, it is simply a matter of achieving such a familiarity or shorthand with the rules that their specificities fade into the background and solving the problem at hand as quickly as possible becomes the priority.
The same can happen with co-op and condo boards, which may find themselves straying from the letter and spirit of the rules that govern the entity over which they have been given authority.
In other instances, the lapse in governing 'by the book' could come from the fact that new members may or may not have fully familiarized themselves with those all-important documents. In these cases, ignorance rarely—if ever—leads to long-term bliss. Sooner or later, boards that fail to lead according to their co-op, condo or homeowner’s association governing documents will find themselves in a bind—the kind that may end up involving litigation.
Letter of the Law
For co-ops, condominiums and homeowner’s associations, there are documents and guidelines available to help a board efficiently, effectively, and legally lead its community.
"A board must conduct the business of its association in accordance with the governing documents of that association—the declaration, amendments, bylaws, article, rules & regulations—in addition to Florida statute," says Candice Gundel, a senior associate attorney with the Business Law Group, P.A. in Tampa. "In addition, a board should consider Robert's Rules of Order when conducting meetings, as well as any relevant case law and arbitration decisions."