HOW TO GET YOU MATERIAL ALTERATION APPROVED!
Published July 29, 2020
As design styles and resident types change, the common area may need
to change with it, so the property stays relevant. For instance, a
lobby area for a building built in 1950 may not be fitting for 2020.
Other scenarios could be that it doesn't make sense to have a pink
building because it makes the building feel dated. While many Boards
feel overwhelmed with the thought of getting 75% of the owners on
board, to make such a change, it boils down to the strategy and
approach you put together.
Communication is key to any project's success, so before you dig
yourself into a rabbit hole, I would suggest you send a survey to
the residents. In the study, you can ask questions that will give
the board an idea of the interest that exists. Something as simple
as "The Board is considering changing the color of the building,
would you like to see the color change?
"As a tip, I would strongly urge you to do the online survey with an
online voting platform. Most online voting companies provide the
survey feature at no additional cost. One of the significant
benefits is that as the owners complete their survey, they can opt
into online voting. Hence you will be prepared to take the votes
online should the material alteration idea come together.
"A picture is worth a thousand words and a video is worth a one
point eight million words." As an example, we recently took on an
association in Ft. Lauderdale, where the committee and board did a
fantastic job presenting all the changes. They wanted to change the
color of the building, and they decided to upgrade all the common
areas and lobbies as well. They obtained the buy-in by presenting
the owner with storyboards of the materials they would be using.
They even created a YouTube video that reflected what all the
upgrades would look like once completed. Because of these efforts,
they obtained the votes needed to make these significant changes.
Do keep in mind that Section 718.113(2)(a), Florida Statutes,
requires 75% of the total voting interests to approve a material
alteration unless the declaration provides an alternative approval
method/standard. Many condominium association declarations contain a
provision that explicitly establishes a unit owner approval standard
for material alterations to the common elements. However, other
documents allow material alterations to be approved by the board as
long as it doesn't exceed a specific dollar amount. You must
consult with your attorney throughout your process and have them
prepare an opinion letter outlining the steps your association must
take to have such material alterations approved.
In closing, projects take time for them to come together, and you
must understand that. You can't allow the small obstacles to get
you tripped up because the long-term benefits will outweigh all of
that. As such, it's essential to have the right partners in place,
so the board's objectives are accomplished.