By: Avi S. Tryson, Esq. Special to the Boca and Delray newspapers
Q: What is the legality of video and/or audio recording of board meetings by members of a homeowner’s association (HOA)? The members in my community have offered to record the meetings to share with other members unable to attend, but the board members have refused to allow the board meetings to be recorded, and they have stated it’s not required by law. Many members are seasonal residents and have no way of knowing details of any meetings. The meeting notes are basic and lack any detail and the notes do not get published until after the next meeting when they are approved.
T.G., Boca Raton
A: Florida law is clear that owners in an HOA have the right to record meetings of the board or meetings of the members. Specifically, Florida Statutes, Section 720.306(10) provides that “Any parcel owner may tape record or videotape meetings of the board of directors and meetings of the members. The board of directors of the association may adopt reasonable rules governing the taping of meetings of the board and the membership.” Reasonable rules have been deemed to include (a) prohibiting devices that produce distracting sound or light emissions; (b) requiring the device be positioned in advance of the commencement of the meeting; (c) prohibiting moving about the room in order to facilitate recording; and (d) requiring advance notice of an intent to record.
One big caveat is that the above rules can only be enforced if they were adopted by written rule at a board meeting with at least 48 hours posted notice. Therefore, if your board waits until the middle of a contentious meeting to try to pass such a rule, it would be too late.
Please note that the board is not required to audio record or video record its meetings. Many associations will record meetings to ensure the minutes are accurate, and then discard the recording. I generally advise against keeping recordings because the recording normally can’t be used in court to support your position, so the real result of keeping a recording is to highlight any errors or misstatements. The board should take extra care to ensure the written minutes reflect the actions at the meeting.
Avi S. Tryson, Esq., is Partner of the Law Firm Goede, Adamczyk, DeBoest & Cross. Visit www.gadclaw.com or to ask questions about your issues for future columns, send your inquiry to: firstname.lastname@example.org. The information provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The publication of this article does not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader and Goede, Adamczyk, DeBoest & Cross, or any of our attorneys. Readers should not act or refrain from acting based upon the information contained in this article without first contacting an attorney, if you have questions about any of the issues raised herein. The hiring of an attorney is a decision that should not be based solely on advertisements or this column.