We live in a co-op and want to install accordion hurricane shutters over all our windows. However, the president of our co-op lives in Canada. He stated that we cannot install hurricane shutters over two windows that face the inner court. Additionally, we thought about replacing the windows that face the inner court with impact windows. Our president said that the board would need to take a vote. He suggests we contact the other board members to let them vote on the issue. We need at least 5 people to have a vote. The problem is that most of the board members live elsewhere, and the president doesn't want to invoke a proxy vote. Is this position legal? What rights do we have to protect our investment in light of hurricane season in south Florida?
Residential Real Estate Lawyer
There is very little legislation regarding cooperatives and the existing laws do not address hurricane shutters. The condominium statute provides for hurricane shutters and a court might look to that statute for guidance, but litigation is expensive. The easiest and cheapest route is to work it out with the association.
You will need to look at your documents for guidance to see if this action is prohibited or requires the association's approval. The association should have a mechanism in place for approving or denying improvements to your unit. If a vote is required, limited proxies are allowed by law. The other option is to see if your documents provide for absentee ballots (mail-in ballots). To take no action is irresponsible of the board.
This communication is not intended to create an attorney/client relationship. It is always recommended you consult an attorney in person to discuss your case. The Law Offices of Stage & Associates practices state-wide and represents homeowners and community associations. Please visit our website at www.stagelaw.com.
Real Estate Attorney
I agree with Attorney Stage, but I would point out that boards of cooperatives, like other boards of directors, can meet by conference call or take written action without a meeting by e-mail unless this is specifically prohibited by the bylaws of the cooperative association. If you think that your are being treated unfairly by the board, you should consult an experienced real estate lawyer in your area.
Disclaimer: This answer is provided for informational purposes only, does not constitute legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Actual legal advice can only be provided after completing a comprehensive consultation in which all of the relevant facts are discussed and reviewed.