M.B. from Broward County, Florida writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
An HOA created in the 90s allows non-owners/members to serve on architectural control committee. FS 617.0825 in effect at time HOA created said directors could appoint committee members from among the members. Subsequent amendments to 617.0825 say it doesn’t apply to architectural control committee under chapter 720. So, in this scenario, what controls? The version of 617.0825 in effect at the time or the newer version? Also note, the governing docs are silent on this matter. Although, the docs do say directors don’t have to be members. Since it doesn’t say the same about committees, arguably, I would think committee members must be members of the association, especially members of an architectural control committee. It would seem nonsensical that a non-member can have a say over the architectural controls of a community they are not members of.
Mister Condo replies:
M.B., applying common sense to common interest communities doesn’t always work. When governing documents are silent on a matter, it is common to refer to statute to determine what is or isn’t allowed. The most recent statutes are typically the ones that matter unless they specifically state that associations incorporated before a certain date are exempt. Architectural Control is a very important power bestowed upon the Board and/or dictated by the governing documents. While it may not seem to make sense to have non-members of the association serving on the Architectural Control Committee, it is possible that it is allowed. Communities with a heavy snowbird population, for instance, may need outside help managing Architectural Control requests for remodeling in the “off season”. Bottom line is that you should likely get a legal interpretation if you have any questions or you should ask to have the governing documents amended to reflect both the desire of the membership and to comply with state statute. Assuming can get you into trouble here so be sure that whatever path the association goes down has an OK from the association attorney. All the best!