Friday, September 3, 2010

How clear are your ballots on amendment issues?

Earlier this week, the Florida Supreme Court affirmed three (3) trial court decisions that struck proposed constitutional amendments from the upcoming ballot. The three (3) proposed constitutional amendments concerned health care, election districts, and Homestead exemptions. The Court upheld the trial courts’ rulings that the proposed constitutional amendments: 1) did not give fair notice and purpose of the effect of the amendment; and/or 2) the ballot summary was false and/or misleading; and/or 3) the amendment title was faulty and /or misleading.

How does this apply to your association?

When your association is contemplating or preparing amendments to your governing documents, make sure the information you convey to the owners is clear, concise and an accurate representation of what the proposed amendment will actually accomplish. Although the Statutes contain notice requirements, insure that you not only comply with these Statutory requirements, but that you also give the owners information as to the purpose of the amendment and the effect it will have. Your owners must be able to clearly understand what section or sections of your governing documents are being amended and which language is being added or deleted. In addition to having your association attorney prepare the actual amendment, have them prepare a cover letter in non-legal terms that simply and accurately portrays the reasons for the amendment as well as the effect on the owner and the association if the amendment is passed.

Is this something your association is doing? It should be!

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