Real estate Q&A: Vacant board seat could cost owners

July 7, 2016 – Question: We live in a small condominium. We are having a problem with getting anyone interested in filling a seat on the board of directors. Without someone filling that position, we will not have a quorum and will not be able to operate the association legally. Is there anything we can do? – Simon

Answer: Being on the board of a condominium can be thankless and time-consuming work. Your problem is all too common, especially in smaller communities. However, the association has an important job to do, so the law has a procedure for this situation. Unfortunately, this fix may be a bitter pill to swallow.

If your community can’t fill enough seats on the board to make a quorum, any unit owner can apply to the court to have a receiver appointed to manage the affairs of the association in place of a non functioning board. A receiver is a court-appointed person who would get paid to run the association. Receivers can be expensive, and owners’ maintenance dues likely would have to be raised significantly to cover this expense.

You should speak with your neighbors about how serious this is and get someone to step up and fill this position. You might have to twist a few arms, but maybe the other unit owners will be motivated to act if they know what’s at stake here.

If a receiver is appointed to manage your association in place of the board of directors, you still will need to work on filling the empty seat. Once you have all of the people in place, you can apply to the court to remove the receiver.

About the writer: Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He practices real estate, business litigation and contract law from his office in Sunrise, Fla. He is the chairman of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is a co-host of the weekly radio show Legal News and Review. He frequently consults on general real estate matters and trends in Florida with various companies across the nation. Send him questions online at www.sunsentinel.com/askpro or follow him on Twitter @GarySingerLaw.

© 2016 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Gary M. Singer. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.