Q: I was recently told at a Board meeting in my homeowners association that I was not allowed to address the Board unless my comments were aimed at an agenda item. I was under the belief that I could address the Board for up to 3 minutes on any subject related to our community. Can you clarify my rights here?
A: I am happy you asked this question because this is another area of confusion, and we see many abuses on both sides of the fence. Under Robert’s Rules of Order members of an assembly have the right to speak without being recognized by the Chair and ask any question by stating Point of Order or Point of Information. However, this is not the case at community association Board meetings. Pursuant to Sections 718.112(2)(c), and 720.303 Florida Statutes, members have the right to attend meetings of the Board and to speak about all items on the agenda. The Board may, however, adopt reasonable rules governing the frequency, duration, and manner of unit owner statements. For instance, the Board can require owners to “sign up” in advance of the meeting if they wish to speak. As you point out, the Board can also limit the speaker’s time to 3 minutes which is considered reasonable. So, if the item is not on the agenda, the member does not have the automatic right to speak on the topic unless the meeting Chair allows it.