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Supreme Court Decision is a Reminder For Community Association Managers

Wooden Gavel

At AriasBosinger we take every chance we can to assist community association managers (“CAMs”) in the performance of their duties and keep them informed of industry developments. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of Florida made a decision in The Florida Bar Re: Advisory Opinion—Activities of Community Association Managers regarding what activities performed by CAMs are considered the unlicensed practice of law. The decision is short and sweet.

The Court adopts the Proposed Advisory Opinion in its entirety, which reconfirms the previous holding in an identical case held in 1996. In summary, the same activities that were considered the unlicensed practice of law in the 1996 opinion are still considered the unlicensed practice of law. These include:

1. Completing BPR Form 33-032 (frequently asked questions and answers sheet);
2. Drafting a claim of lien, satisfaction of claim of lien, and notice of commencement form;
3. Determining the timing, method and form of giving notice of meetings;
4. Determining the votes necessary for certain actions which would entail interpretation of certain statutes and rules; and
5. Answering a community association’s question about the application of law to a matter being considered or advising a community association that a course of action may not be authorized by law, rule, or the association’s governing document.

Similarly, the Court found, as they did in 1996, that the following activities when performed by a CAM do not constitute the unlicensed practice of law:

1. Completion of two Secretary of State forms (change of registered agent or office for corporations, and annual corporation report);
2. Drafting certificates of assessments;
3. Drafting first and second notices of date of election;
4. Drafting ballots;
5. Drafting written notices of annual or board meetings;
6. Drafting annual meeting or board meeting agendas; and
7. Drafting affidavits of mailing.

Lastly, the Court found a determination of whether the following activities, among others, constitute the practice of law to be dependent on the specific circumstances:

1. Modification of limited proxy forms promulgated by the state;
2. Drafting a limited proxy form; and
3. Drafting documents required to exercise the community association’s right of approval or right of first refusal on the sale or lease of a parcel.

Unfortunately, the Court did not address the validity of last year’s amendments that gave CAMs the right to prepare documents which, under both the 1996 opinion and the current opinion, constitute the unlicensed practice of law. In order to continue serving your community association as a trusted lawyer, we recommend you consult with your corporate counsel on any gray areas to ensure you protect your license.

Posted in Arias Bosinger, Real Estate Law
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