Condominium Law – Does a unit owner have the right to record meetings?
Mr. Jose A. Torres, Esq., is an Associate at Cuevas, Garcia & Torres, P.A. Cuevas, Garcia & Torres, P.A., provides legal services in the areas of Community Association Law, Real Estate Law, and Business Immigration, including title insurance services through Vantage Property Title Company. If you have any questions regarding this article or any other questions, you may contact Mr. Torres at (305) 461-9500 or via e-mail at [email protected]. If you are interested in reading previous newsletters, please visit www.cuevaslaw.com , select the icon for Newsletters , and then choose the area of law you are interested in.
Does a unit owner have the right to record meetings?
Florida condominium unit owners are entitled to tape record or videotape meetings of the board, committee meetings, or unit owner meetings, subject to reasonable board rules and regulations. Specifically, Section 718.112(2)(c), Florida Statutes, and Rule 61B-23.002(10), Florida Administrative Code, provide condominium unit owners the right to tape record or videotape meetings of the board, committee meetings, or unit owner meetings, subject to the following restrictions:
(1) the only audio and video equipment and devices which unit owners may use is equipment which does not produce distracting sound or light emissions;
(2) if adopted in advance by the board or unit owners as a written rule, reasonable rules may be adopted which provide the following:
(a) audio and video equipment must be assembled and set up before the meeting starts;
(b) anyone videotaping or recording a meeting cannot move about the meeting room in order to facilitate the recording;
(c) unit owners must give advance notice to the board if they intend to videotape or tape record a meeting.
It is understandable why a unit owner would want to tape record or videotape a meeting. It provides unit owners with the opportunity to document any activity which takes place at a meeting. It also provides the board with a reliable source to use as a reference in preparing meeting minutes which accurately depict what occurred at said meeting. However, in today’s world, advancements in technology and widespread use of social media make the tape recording or videotaping of any meeting a powerful tool which must be wielded wisely.
Many unit owners have reservations about speaking at meetings or even attending meetings if they know the meetings are going to be tape recorded or videotaped. There are certainly various privacy concerns which come into play. The security of board and unit owners may be compromised if their names, faces and identities are depicted in the recordings and then exploited by anyone with bad intentions. It doesn’t take much for a recorded meeting to find its way onto YouTube or other media sites. This, of course, may impact the level of unit owner participation at meetings and hinder association efforts to improve the community. Similarly, some directors may feel less inclined to participate or vote at meetings for fear of having their words and actions uploaded to the Internet for the whole world to see.
Currently, Florida law does not restrict a unit owner from distributing recordings of meetings or uploading the same to YouTube. However, in addition to the reasonable rules listed above, the board may choose to adopt a rule limiting the posting or distribution of recordings of meetings in public forums such as YouTube. While such a rule is not specifically provided for and/or authorized by Florida law, the board can certainly make the argument that such a rule is reasonable. The adoption of such a rule may promote more unit owner participation at meetings and relieve fears the board may have with regard to speaking or voting at meetings.
This article is solely a partial explanation of all the issues related to the topic of this newsletter, and is not to be considered legal advice. The association should consult with its legal counsel to obtain explanations of all issues addressed herein and determine what procedures will most benefit your association.