- Can Your Association Save Time and Money by Using Email Notice?
- November 22, 2014
- Law Firm: Becker Poliakoff P.A. - Fort Lauderdale Office
As we approach the end of the year, condominium and homeowners associations throughout Florida are preparing to send out annual meeting notices to members of their communities. For most of these associations, this will mean printing out and mailing hard copies of each notice, agenda, proxy, proposed amendment, and any other item being sent to the general membership. On a small scale, this might not seem like a great expense, but what if you multiply the costs of paper, ink, postage, and personnel time for a 10-page packet by 100 members? 1000 condominium Units? 5,000 Lots? Suddenly, this annual common expense has grown into a significant cost for the association, and it is one that may be unnecessarily high.
Fortunately, your association may be able to reduce these costs by amending its Bylaws to allow for notices to be sent by e-mail. Both Chapter 718 (governing condominiums) and Chapter 720 (governing HOAs) of the Florida Statutes provide that an association may send certain notices and communications to members via e-mail, so long as the authority to do so is provided in the association’s Bylaws, and the association receives written consent from each member. By doing so, an association can streamline the process of sending notices to its members, reduce the cost of printing and mailing packets, and provide communications to members in a manner that most people now prefer.
If your association is successful in amending its Bylaws to establish this authority, care must be given to draft a consent form that conclusively establishes an owner’s consent to be given electronic notice at a specific e-mail address, and for all purposes permitted by law, unless and until the association is provided with a written revocation of such consent. The Board must also be vigilant in maintaining an accurate and up-to-date file of signed consent forms.
Associations should also be aware that the ability to provide e-mail notice is not unlimited. Not only is written consent required from each member (which can be revoked at any time), there are certain types of notice that still must be sent by mail according to law (e.g., notices of hearing on proposed fines or suspension of use rights, notices of intent to lien, etc.). Any email that is voluntarily provided by a member must also be included as part of the association’s official records, as well. For these reasons, before instituting an e-mail notice policy, make sure your association and its Board of Directors are fully aware of any related issues, and the procedures that must be followed to amend the governing documents.