Newly Elected Condo, HOA and Coop Board Members Must Take a Certification Course in Florida
Q: I was recently elected to the board in my condo association and I was told that I must take a class or online course to become certified. Is this certification course required, and is it beneficial? Cindy, Tampa.
A: Yes, Florida Statutes provides that newly elected directors in condominium (condo), homeowners associations (HOAs), and cooperative (coop) associations must complete a certification class or certify in writing that he or she has read the governing documents, that he or she will advocate the rules and policies, and that he or she will faithfully honor his or her fiduciary responsibilities. Most people choose the certification course.
From past experiences the certification classes in Florida, undertaken by all board members, are extremely valuable and engaging for all. The purpose of these classes are to provide all directors seeking to develop their knowledge, a solid foundation in HOA and condominium governance, rather than an extensive coverage of all aspects. The learning environment always conjures up unique and interesting discussions to the benefit of all participants. I personally take great joy at designing online courses for community association leaders.
It is surprising to see that central concepts in the governance of HOA are not delivered and taught nationwide. New directors often emerge from roles serving as board members on a condo association, or from states with different laws. The varied differences in their knowledge of these central concepts is evident and eye-opening.
Specific aspects within discussions regarding meeting requirements, reserves, and use of emails, highlight noticeable differences in HOA and condominium governance. These discussions are often used to address assumptions, rumours, and incorrect statements and beliefs regarding Florida law. It is a valuable opportunity to identify the specific areas of HOA and condominium law that experts interpret differently and those that appear unsettled.
After completion of - and certification in - the course, no director will become a specialist in HOA and condominium governance, but rather, have a firmer grasp on core fundamental concepts. A small development from you as a director undoubtedly warrants action and will be a help for the wider community.