When purchasing a residence in a condominium, homeowners association or a co-op, you by default agree to reside in a community association. You live in relatively close proximity to your neighbors and equally share the right to utilize common areas, whether it’s a lobby, pool, gym, parking lot and/or clubhouse. Monthly association dues fund shared costs such as insurance, landscaping and security, among various other expenditures. This requires following a set of basic norms and agreeing to abide by an association’s ‘playbook,’ if you will.
Associations = Governmental Microcosms
Similar in principle to the United States Constitution and statutes enacted by state and local governments, an association is governed by formalized restrictions, covenants and rules within the association’s governing documents. The governing documents, including the association’s rules and regulations, are enforced by the association’s elected governing body, a board of directors whose responsibility is to oversee and manage a multitude of functions on behalf of owners/members and residents.
In stark contrast to the attempted coup on January 6, 2021, when an armed mob stormed the United States Capitol and attempted to forcibly overturn the election result in favor of the losing candidate, elections within community associations, even those that are contentious, are intentionally structured to ensure the transition of power follows measured procedures, a strict timeline, and happens peacefully.
The association’s governing documents should adhere to state statutes, and include provisions which dictate strict procedures and protocols for elections, as well as for appointment and removal of members of the board of directors.
Contesting or Recalling Election Results
The board of directors are duly elected by owners during an association’s election, typically annually or biannually, and serve for a term as specified within the association’s governing documents and bylaws. If a member desires to challenge the results from an association’s election, there are procedures/remedies in place in applicable law. (For example, in Florida, where our practice is located, in the event of an election dispute, one has 60 days to file a petition for arbitration with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation to challenge the election results. Other states have their own deadlines and governing agencies.)