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2024 Legislative Update for Community Associations

Florida’s 2024 Legislative Session was a busy one for laws impacting community associations. The below is a summary of the legislation which impacts Florida condominiums, homeowner associations, and community management firms and managers throughout the state:

HB 1029: My Safe Florida Condominium Pilot Program
Effective July 1, 2024

Fl. St. 215.5587

The pilot program is intended to provide licensed inspectors to perform hurricane mitigation inspections for, and mitigation grants to, eligible condominium associations to help mitigate the risk of hurricane damage. An eligible association may be able to receive a grant up to $175,000. The new statute provides several important aspects concerning the process.

Mitigation Inspection

  • Authorizes licensed inspectors to provide inspections of the condominium association’s property to determine the mitigation measures that are needed, the insurance premium discounts that may be available to the association, and the improvements to existing properties of the association that are needed to reduce a property’s vulnerability to hurricane damage.

Grant-Eligible Improvements

  • Grants for eligible associations may be used for the following improvements:
    a. Opening protection, including exterior doors, garage doors, windows, and skylights;
    b. Reinforcing roof-to-wall connections;
    c. Improving the strength of roof-deck attachments;
    d. Secondary water resistance for the roof.

Participation for Associations Only

  • Provides that a mitigation grant must be awarded only to an eligible condominium association, and unit owners may not participate individually in the pilot program.

Inspection Approval; Grant Application Approval (Condo and Association Property Only)

  • To apply for (i) participating in a mitigation inspection and/or (ii) obtaining a mitigation grant for improving association property or condominium property, an association must receive approval from a majority vote of the board of administration or a majority vote of the total voting interests of the association.

Grant Application Approval for Unit Improvements

  • To apply for a grant that would improve one or more units within a condominium, an association must receive both (i) approval from a majority vote of the board or a majority vote of the total voting interests of the association; and (ii) a unanimous vote of all unit owners within the structure or building that is the subject of the mitigation grant.

Membership Voting and Disclosure Requirements

  • The votes required under the statute may take place at the annual budget meeting of the association or at a unit owner meeting called for the purpose of taking such vote.
  • Before a vote of the unit owners may be taken, the association must provide to the unit owners a clear disclosure of the pilot program on a form created by the Florida Department of Financial Services.
  • The president and the treasurer of the board must sign the disclosure form indicating that a copy of the form was provided to each unit owner of the association.
  • The signed disclosure form and the minutes from the meeting at which the unit owners voted to participate in the pilot program must be maintained as part of the official records of the association.
  • Within 14 days after an affirmative vote to participate in the pilot program, the association must provide written notice in the same manner as required under Fl. St. 718.112(2)(d) to all unit owners of the decision to participate in the pilot program.

HB 1203 – Homeowners’ Associations
Effective July 1, 2024

The below laws only apply to homeowner associations.

Community Management

Fl. St. 468.4334(3)

  • Requires management firms and managers servicing a homeowner association to:
    a.  Annually attend in person at least one member or board meeting;
    b.  Provide members the name and contact information for each manager or representative of the management firm assigned to the association;
    c.  Provide members the manager’s or representative’s hours of availability; and
    d.  Provide members a summary of the duties for which they are responsible.
  • Requires that the above information be published on the association website or application.
  • Requires manager or management firm to update the association and members within 14 business days after any change to the above information.

Fl. St. 468.4334(3)(b)

  • A manager or management firm must provide the contract between the association and the manager or management firm upon a member’s request.
  • The contract must be maintained with the official records.

Fl. St. 468.4337

  • Requires a manager providing services to a homeowners association to biannually complete at least five (5) hours of continuing education that pertains specifically to homeowner associations and three (3) hours relating to recordkeeping.

Official Records/Website

Fl. St. 720.303(4)(a) 

  • Requires maintenance of specified official records for seven (7) years unless the association’s governing documents require a longer period of time.

Fl. St. 720.303(4)(b)

  • By January 1, 2025, every association with 100 or more parcels, must post copies of the following official records on its website or make such documents available through an application that can be downloaded on a mobile device.
    a.  All governing documents;
    b.  All contract or documents to which an association is a party;
    c.  All bids received within past year;
    d.  Annual budget and/or proposed budget;
    e.  Financial reports, and income or expense statements to be considered at meeting;
    f.  Insurance policies;
    g.  Director certifications;
    h.  All contracts that a director has a financial interest in;
    i.  All contract or documents regarding a conflict of interest or possible conflict of interest;
    j.  Notices and agendas for member meetings posted at least 14 days before such meeting posted in plain view or under “Notices” tab;
    k.  Any documents to be considered and voted upon by members, or listed in the meeting agenda, at least 7 days before meeting; and
    l.  Notices and agendas for board meetings posted in conformity with notice requirements in governing documents or statute.

Fl. St. 720.303(4)(b)(2)

  • The website or application must be accessible through the Internet and have a subpage or portal inaccessible to the general public and that is accessible only to owners or employees.

Fl. St. 720.303(4)(b)(3)

  • Upon owner written request, association must provide owner a username and password to access the restricted subpage or portal.

Fl. St. 720.303(4)(b)(4) 

  • The association must ensure that records not accessible to owners are not posted to the association’s website or application. If protected information is included in documents required to be posted, the association is responsible for redacting protected information before posting the documents. The association or its authorized agent is not liable for disclosing protected or restricted information unless such disclosure was intentional.

Fl. St. 720.303(4)(c)

  • The association must adopt written rules governing the method of retaining official records and the time period they are maintained. Such rules must be posted on the website.

Fl. St. 720.303(5)(d)

  • Provides someone who knowingly, willfully, and repeatedly violates the inspection and copying of official records provisions with the intent of causing harm to the association or members commits a second-degree misdemeanor. The term “repeatedly” means two or more violations within a 12-month period.

Fl. St. 720.303(5)(e)

  • Provides someone who knowingly and intentionally defaces or destroys accounting records during the period in which such records are required to be retained or who knowingly or intentionally fails to create or maintain accounting records that are required to be created or retained, with the intent of causing harm to the association or one or more of its members commits a first-degree misdemeanor.

Fl. St. 720.303(5)(f)

  • Provides someone who willfully and knowingly refuses to release or otherwise produce association records with the intent to avoid or escape detection, arrest, trial, or punishment for the commission of a crime or to assist another person with such avoidance or escape commits a third-degree felony.

Fl. St. 720.303(5)(i)

  • Provides that if an association receives a subpoena for records from a law enforcement agency, it must provide a copy of such records or otherwise make the records available to a law enforcement agency within five (5) business days after receipt of the subpoena. Associations must assist a law enforcement agency in its investigation to the extent permissible by law.

Financial Reporting

 Fl. St. 720.303(7)(a)(4)

  • Associations with 1,000 parcels or more must prepare audited financial statements, regardless of the association’s total annual revenue.

Debit Cards

Fl. St. 720.303(13) 

  • Prohibits an association and its officers, directors, employees, and agents from using a debit card for the payment of any association expenses.
  • Provides that someone who uses a debit card issued in the association’s name, or billed directly to the association, for any expense that is not a lawful association obligation commits theft as provided under Fl. St. 812.014.
  • The term “lawful obligation of the association” means an obligation that has been properly preapproved by the board and is reflected in the meeting minutes or the written budget.

Requirement to Provide an Accounting

 Fl. St. 720.303(14)

  • Provides that a parcel owner may make a written request for a detailed accounting of any amounts owed, and the association shall provide such information within fifteen (15) business days after receipt of the written request.
  • After a parcel owner makes a written request for a detailed accounting, he or she may not ask for another detailed accounting for 90 calendar days.
  • Failure to provide an accounting within fifteen (15) business days constitutes a complete waiver of any outstanding fines of the person who requested such accounting if such fines are more than 30 days past due and the association has not given prior written notice of the imposition of the fines.

Director Education Requirements

Fl. St. 720.3033(1)

  • Requires directors to complete and submit a certificate of satisfactorily completing an educational curriculum administered by a DBPR-approved education provider within 90 days after being elected or appointed to the board.
  • Provides the educational curriculum, specific to newly elected or appointed directors, must include training relating to financial literacy and transparency, recordkeeping, levying of fines, and notice and meeting requirements.
  • Provides that the certification of completion is valid for up to four (4) years.
  • Requires a director to retake the educational curriculum for new directors every four (4) years.
  • Requires a director of an association with fewer than 2,500 parcels to complete at least four (4) hours of continuing education annually.
  • Requires a director of an association with more 2,500 parcels to complete at least eight (8) hours of continuing education annually.

Kickbacks

 Fl. St. 720.3033(3)

  • Provides an officer, director, or manager who knowingly solicits, offers to accept, or accepts any kickback, commits a third-degree felony.

Architectural Control

Fl. St. 720.3035

  • Requires an association to reasonably and equitably apply and enforce the architectural and construction improvement standards against all parcel owners.
  • Prohibits an association from enforcing or adopting a covenant, rule, or guideline that:
    a. Limits or places requirements on the interior of a structure that is not visible from the parcel’s frontage or an adjacent parcel, an adjacent common area, or a community golf course.
    b. Requires the review and approval of plans and specifications for a central air-conditioning, refrigeration, heating, or ventilating system if such system is:
    1. not visible from the parcel’s frontage, an adjacent parcel, an adjacent common area, or a community golf course.
    2. is substantially similar to a system that is approved or recommended by the association.
  • Provides that if an association denies an application for the construction of a structure or other improvement on a parcel, the association must provide written notice to the owner stating with specificity the rule or covenant on which the association relied when denying the request or application.

Prohibited Clauses

 Fl. St. 720.3045

  • Specifies vegetable gardens and clotheslines are among the list of items that an association is prohibited from preventing a homeowner from installing, displaying, or storing on their property if not visible from the frontage or adjacent parcel.
  • Adds that such items may not be visible from an adjacent common area, or community golf course, in addition to the frontage and adjacent parcel.

Fl. St. 720.3075

  • Provides an association may not prohibit an owner, or a guest, tenant, or invitee, from parking his or her personal vehicle, including a pickup truck, in the owner’s driveway or in any other area at which the owner or the owner’s tenant, guest, or invitee has a right to park as governed by state, county, and municipal regulations.
  • Regardless of any official insignia or visible designation, an association cannot prohibit an owner, or a guest, tenant, or invitee, from parking his or her work vehicle, which is not a commercial motor vehicle as is defined in Fl. St. 320.01(25), in the driveway.
  • Provides an association may not prohibit an owner from inviting, hiring, or allowing entry to a contractor or worker on the owner’s parcel solely because the contractor or worker is not on an association preferred vendor list.
  • Provides an association may not preclude a property owner from inviting, hiring, or allowing entry to a contractor or worker on his or her parcel solely because the contractor or worker does not have a professional or an occupational license.
  • Provides an association may not require a contractor or worker to present or prove possession of a professional or an occupational license to be allowed entry onto an owner’s parcel.
  • Provides an association may not prohibit operating a vehicle that is not a commercial motor vehicle in conformance with state traffic laws on public roads or rights-of-way or the owner’s parcel.
  • Provides an association may not prohibit who is a first responder vehicle from parking their first responder vehicle on public roads or rights-of-way within the association if this is an area where the homeowner, or the tenant, guest, or invitee thereof, otherwise has a right to park.

Fl. St. 720.318

  • First responders include law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians or paramedics, or volunteer law enforcement officers, firefighters, or emergency medical technicians or paramedics.

Fines and Suspensions

Fl. St. 720.305

  • Provides an association must provide at least 14 days’ written notice of the owner’s right to a hearing.
  • Provides the fining hearing must be held within 90 days after issuance of the notice.
  • Provides the fining committee may hold the hearing by telephone or other electronic means. The notice must include the access information required to attend the telephonic conference or appear through the electronic medium.
  • Provides that the fining committee must provide a written notice of the committee’s findings related to the violation to the owner within seven (7) days after the hearing.
  • Provides the written notice of the committee’s findings must provide instructions on how the owner or any occupant, licensee, or invitee of the owner needs to fulfill a suspension or the date by which a fine must be paid.
  • Provides if a violation has been cured before the hearing or as specified in the seven (7) day notice, a fine or suspension may not be imposed.
  • Provides the notice must include the deadline to pay the fine, which must be at least 30 days after the notice is delivered.
  • Provides attorney fees and costs may not be awarded against the owner based on actions taken by the board before the date set for the fine to be paid.
  • Provides an association may not issue a fine or suspension for:
    a. Leaving garbage receptacles at the curb or end of the driveway less than 24 hours before or after the designated garbage collection day or time.
    b. Leaving holiday decorations or lights up longer than indicated in the governing documents, unless such decorations or lights are left up for longer than one (1) week after the association provides written notice of the violation to the parcel owner.

Interest on Assessments

Fl. St. 720.3085(3)

  • Prohibits unpaid assessments and installments for assessments from bearing compound interest.

Fraudulent Voting Activities

Fl. St. 720.3065(2)

  • Provides the following voting activities constitute a first-degree misdemeanor:
    a. Knowingly aiding, abetting, or advising a person in the commission of a fraudulent voting activity.
    b. Agreeing, conspiring, combining, or confederating with at least one other person to commit a fraudulent voting activity.
    c. Having knowledge of a fraudulent voting activity related to association elections and giving any aid to the offender with intent that the offender avoid or escape detection, arrest, trial, or punishment.

House Bill 293: Hurricane Protections for Homeowners’ Associations
Effective May 28, 2024

Fl. St. 720.3035(6)(a)

  • Applies to all HOAs regardless of when the community was created.
  • Requires an HOA to adopt hurricane protection specifications for each structure or other improvement on a parcel governed by the HOA.
  • The specifications may include the color and style of hurricane protection products and any other factor deemed relevant by the board.
  • All specifications adopted must comply with the applicable building code.
  • Allows requiring a parcel owner to adhere to an existing unified building scheme regarding the external appearance of the structure or other improvements.
  • Prohibits an HOA, regardless of any provision in the governing documents, from denying an application for the installation, enhancement, or replacement of hurricane protection which conforms to the specifications adopted.
  • The term “hurricane protection” includes, but is not limited to:
    a.  roof systems recognized by the Florida Building Code which meet ASCE 7-22 standards
    b. permanent fixed storm shutters
    c. roll-down track storm shutters
    d. impact-resistant windows and doors
    e. polycarbonate panels
    f. reinforced garage doors
    g. erosion controls
    h. exterior fixed generators
    i. fuel storage tanks
    j. other hurricane protection products used to preserve and protect the structures or improvements

House Bill 59: Provision of Homeowners’ Association Rules and Covenants
Effective July 1, 2024

Fl. St. 720.303(13)

  • Requires an HOA to provide a physical or digital copy of the rules and covenants to every member before October 1, 2024,
  • Requires an HOA to provide a physical or digital copy of the rules and covenants to every new member.
  • Requires an HOA to provide a copy of any amended rules or covenants to every member.
  • An HOA can adopt rules establishing standards for the manner and timeframe for providing copies of amended rules or covenants.
  • An HOA can satisfy the requirement to provide copies by posting a complete copy of the rules and covenants, or a direct link thereto, on the homepage of the HOA’s website if the website is accessible to association members, and the HOA sends notice to the members of its intent to utilize the website for this purpose.
  • The notice must be sent via e-mail to owners who have opted in to e-mail notice, and via mail to all other members.

HB 1021: Community Associations
Effective July 1, 2024

Management Return of Records

Fl. St. 468.4335

  • Provides a management firm or manager must return all association records within its possession within twenty (20) business days after termination of a contractual agreement or receipt of a written request for return of the records, whichever occurs first.
  • Provides a management firm or manager may retain records necessary to complete an ending financial report or statement for up twenty (20) business days.
  • If the association refuses to provide those records to the management firm or manager they are relieved from further responsibility to provide the ending financial report.
  • Provides that failure to return the records within twenty (20) business days creates a rebuttable presumption that the management firm or manager willfully failed to comply with returning the records.
  • Provides that a management firm or manager who fails to return the records is subject to suspension of its license and a civil penalty of $1000 per day up to ten (10) business days assessed to begin on the 21st business day.

Management Conflicts of Interest

  • Provides management firms and managers must disclose to the association any activity that may be reasonably construed to be a conflict of interest.
  • A rebuttable presumption of a conflict of interest exists if any of the following occurs without prior notice:
    a. When a management firm or manager, or a relative of such persons, enters into a contract for goods or services with the association.
    b.  When a management firm or manager holds an interest in, or receives compensation or anything of value from, a corporation, limited liability corporation, partnership including a limited liability partnership or any other business entity that conducts business with the association or proposes to enter into a contract or other transaction with the association.
    c.  If the association receives a bid that exceeds $2500 to provide a good or service from a management firm or manager, the association must solicit multiple bids from other third-party providers of such goods and services.
  • Management firms and managers proposes to engage in an activity that is a conflict of interest, then the proposed activity must be listed on all contracts and transactional documents related to the proposed activity and must be attached to the meeting agenda of the next board meeting.
  • The disclosures of a possible conflict of interest must be included in the meeting minutes.
  • The contract with the management conflict of interest must be approved by 2/3 of the board of directors present.
  • At the next meeting of the members, the existence of the conflict and interest and the contract must be disclosed to the membership.
  • If a contract where a conflict of interest was previously disclosed to the members renews, it must be noticed and voted upon as described above.
  • If the association discovers the management firm or manager violated this section, the association may terminate the management contract.
  • If the contract is terminated, the association is only liable for the reasonable value of the management services provided up to the time of termination, and is not liable for any termination fees, liquidated damages, or other form of penalty.
  • Failing to disclose the conflict of interest can lead to disciplinary proceedings by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
  • If an association enters into a contract with a management firm or manager where an activity that is a possible conflict of interest and such conflict of interest has not been properly disclosed, the contract is voidable and terminates upon the association filing a written notice terminating the contract with its board of directors which contains the consent of at least 20 percent of the voting interests of the association. 

Milestone Inspections

Fl. St. 553.899

  • Until now, the milestone inspections did not apply to a single family, two family or three family dwelling with three or fewer habitable stories above ground, but now includes four family dwellings such that the milestone inspection does not apply to single family, two family, three family, or four family dwellings with three or fewer habitable stories above ground.

New Definitions in Condominium Act

Fl. St. 718.103

  • “Condominium property” means the lands, leaseholds, and improvements, any and personal property, and all easements and rights appurtenant thereto, regardless of whether contiguous, which are subject to condominium ownership.
  • “Hurricane protection” means hurricane shutters, impact glass, code-compliant windows or doors, and other code468 compliant hurricane protection products used to preserve and protect the condominium property or association property.
  • “Kickback” means any thing or service of value, for which consideration has not been provided, for an officer’s, a director’s, or a manager’s own benefit or that of his or her immediate family, from any person providing or proposing to provide goods or services to the association.

Creation of Condominium

Fl. St. 718.104

  • Condominiums created within a portion of a building or within a multiple parcel building must include the name by which the condominium is to be identified and be followed by “a condominium within a portion of a building or within a multiple parcel building.”
  • For both residential condominiums and mixed-use condominiums, a statement that specifies whether the unit owner or the association is responsible for the installation, maintenance, repair, or replacement of hurricane protection that is for the preservation and protection of the condominium property and association property.

Kickbacks

Fl. St. 718.111

  • Anyone who knowingly solicits offers to accept, or accepts, a kickback commits a felony of the 3rd degree and must be removed from office and a vacancy declared.

Insurance

  • Upon receipt of a complaint that the association does not maintain proper insurance or fidelity bonding, the division must monitor the association for compliance and may issue fines and penalties.

Official Records

  • Clarifies that e-mail addresses and facsimile numbers are only accessible to unit owners if such owner has consented to receive their official notices by electronic transmission or has personally and expressly indicated that such personal information can be shared with other unit owners.
  • The association must ensure that the email addresses and fax numbers are only used for business operation of the association and may not be sold or shared with outside third parties.
  • If such personal information is included in documents that are released to third parties, other than unit owners, the association must redact such personal information before the document is disseminated.
  • The association is not liable for inadvertent disclosures of e-mail addresses and fax numbers unless the disclosure was made with a knowing, or intentional, disregard of the protected nature of such information.
  • The following were added as expressly identified official records:
    a. All invoices, transaction receipts, or deposit slips that substantiate any receipt or expenditure of funds by the association;
    b. Building permits; and
    c. Copies of all satisfactory completed board member educational certificates.
  • The official records must be maintained in an organized manner that facilitates inspection of the records by a unit owner. In the event the official records are lost, destroyed or otherwise unavailable, the obligation to maintain the official records
    includes a good faith obligation to obtain and recover those records as is reasonably possible.
  • If the official records are posted on the association’s website or are available for download through an app on a mobile device, the association may fulfill its obligations to provide access to the records by directing to the website or the application all persons authorized to request access.
  • In response to a written request to inspect records, the association must simultaneously provide to the requesting member a checklist of all records made available for inspection and copying. The checklist must also identify any of the association’s official records that were not made available to the requesting party. The association must maintain a checklist provided to every requesting member for official records for seven (7) years. An association creating such checklist creates a rebuttable presumption that the association has complied with the official records request.
  • A director or member of the board, or a manager, who knowingly, willfully, and repeatedly fails to provide such official records commits a first-degree misdemeanor and must be removed from office.
  • The term “repeatedly” refers to two or more violations within a twelve-month period.
  • If a person willfully and knowingly refuses to release official records with the intent to avoid or escape detection, arrest, trial, or punishment, commits a third-degree felony, and must be removed from office.
  • An association managing a condominium with twenty-five (25) or more units which does not contain timeshare units, shall post copies of its official records on its website or app by January 1, 2026.

Financial Reports

  • Provides the membership cannot vote to obtain a lesser financial report in consecutive fiscal years.

Debit Cards

  • Provides any person who uses a debit card in the name of the association for an expense that is not a lawful obligation of the association commits a theft and must be remove from office.
  • The term “lawful obligation of the association” means an obligation that has been properly preapproved by the board and is reflected in the meeting minutes or the written budget.

Meetings

Fl. St. 718.112 

  • A residential condominium association with more than ten (10) units must meet at least once each quarter. At least four (4) times a year, the meeting agenda must include an opportunity for members to ask questions of the board.
  • The right of a member to attend meetings and the right to speak at such meetings, with respect to designated agenda items includes the right to ask questions relating to reports on the status of construction or repair projects, the status of revenues and expenditures during the current fiscal year and other issues affecting the condominium.
  • If the condominium association board meeting agenda item relates to the approval of a contract for goods or services, then a copy of the contract must be provided with the meeting notice and be made available for inspection and copying upon a written request from a unit owner or made available on the association’s website or through an app.
  • Notice of any meeting in which regular or special assessments against unit owners are to be considered must specifically state that assessments will be considered and provide the estimated cost and description of the purposes for such assessments.
  • If an agenda item relates to the approval of a contract for goods or services, a copy of the contract must be provided with the notice and be made available for inspection and copying or made available on the association’s website or through an application that can be downloaded on a mobile device.

Board Member Certification Requirements

  • Each newly elected or appointed director must submit to the secretary of the association a written certification and educational certificate within 1 year before being elected or appointed or 90 days after the date of election or appointment.
  • A director of an association of a residential condominium who was elected or appointed before July 1, 2024, must comply with the written certification and educational certificate requirements in this sub-subparagraph by June 30, 2025.
  • The educational curriculum must be at least 4 hours long and include instruction on milestone inspections, structural integrity reserve studies, elections, recordkeeping, financial literacy and transparency, levying of fines, and notice and meeting requirements.
  • The certificate is valid for 7 years.
  • A director who is appointed by the developer may satisfy the educational certificate requirement for any subsequent appointment to a board by a developer within 7 years after the date of issuance of the most recent educational certificate, including any interruption of service on a board or appointment to a board in another association within that 7-year period.
  • One year after submission of the most recent written certification and educational certificate, and annually thereafter, a director of an association of a residential condominium must submit to the secretary of the association a certificate of having satisfactorily completed at least 1 hour of continuing education administered by the division, or a division-approved condominium education provider, relating to any recent changes to this chapter and the related administrative rules during the past year.

Building Reserves

  • If the local building official determines that the entire condominium building is uninhabitable due to a natural emergency, the board, upon the approval of a majority of its members, may pause the contribution to its reserves or reduce reserve funding until the local building official determines that the condominium building is habitable.
  • Any reserve account funds held by the association may be expended, pursuant to the board’s determination, to make the condominium building and its structures habitable. Upon the determination by the local building official that the condominium building is habitable, the association must immediately resume contributing funds to its reserves.

Director or Officer Offenses

  • If a director or officer is charged by information or indictment with any of the following crimes they must be removed from office:
    a.  forgery of a ballot envelope or voting certificate;
    b.  theft or embezzlement of funds;
    c.  destruction of or refusal to allow inspection or copy or copying of official records of the association in the furtherance of a crime and as such act constitutes tampering with physical evidence, obstruction of justice, any criminal violation under Ch. 718.
  • While the charges are pending, the director or officer may not be appointed or elected as a director or officer to any association and may not have access to official records of the association except pursuant to court order.

Fraudulent Voting Activity Related to Elections

  • A person who engages in any of the following fraudulent voting activities is punishable as a misdemeanor of the first degree which equals up to one year in jail:
    a.    Willfully and falsely swearing to, or affirming, an oath or affirmation, or willfully procuring another person to falsely swear to, or affirm, an oath or affirmation in connection with, or arising out of, voting activities;
    b.   Perpetrating or attempting to perpetrate or aiding someone else in perpetration of fraud in connection with a vote cast or to be cast or attempted to be cast;
    c.   Preventing a member from voting as they intended by fraudulently changing or
    attempting to change a ballot, ballot envelope, vote, or voting certificate;
    d.   Menacing, threatening or using bribery or other corruption to attempt to directly or indirectly influence, deceive, or deter a member when the member is voting;
    e.   Giving or promising directly, or indirectly, anything of value to another member with the intent to buy a vote, however, this requirement does not apply to any food served which is to be consumed at an election rally or a meeting or to any item of nominal value which is used as an election advertisement including a campaign message to be worn by a member;
    f.   Using, or threatening to use, direct or indirect force, violence, or intimidation of any tactic of coercion or intimidation to induce or compel a member to vote or refrain from voting in an election or on a particular ballot measure;
    g.  Knowingly aiding, abetting, or advising a person in the commission of a fraudulent voting activity related to association elections;
    h.   Agreeing, conspiring, combining, or confederating with at least one other person to commit a fraudulent voting activity related to association elections; and
    i.   Having knowledge of a fraudulent voting activity related to association elections and giving any aid to the offender with the intent that the offender avoids or escapes detection, arrest, trial or punishment.

Hurricane Protection

Fl. St. 718.113 

  • To protect the health, safety, and welfare of the people of the state of Florida and to ensure uniformity and consistency in hurricane protections installed by condominium associations, and unit owners, this statute applies to all residential and mixed used condominiums in the state, regardless of when the condominium is created pursuant to its declaration of condominium.
  • Each board of a residential condominiumor mixed used condominium must adopt hurricane protection specifications foreach building within the condominium operated by the association which mayinclude color, style, and other factors deemed relevant by the board.
  • The installation, maintenance, repair, replacement, andoperation of hurricane protection is not considered a material alteration orsubstantial addition to the common elements or association property.
  • The board may, with the approval of a majority ofthe voting interests of the condominium, install or require that unit owners installhurricane protection that complies with or exceeds the applicable building code.
  • Avote of the unit owners to require the installation of hurricane protection must beset forth in a certificate attesting to such membership vote and include the date bywhich the hurricane protection must be installed.
  • The certificate must be recordedin the public records. Once it is recorded, the board must mail orhand-deliver a copy of the recorded certificate to the unit owners at their official Notwithstanding the foregoing, the failure to record the certificate in or to send a copy of the recorded certificate to the unit ownersdoes not affect the validity or the enforceability of the vote of the unit owners.
  • A vote of the unit owners is not required if the installation, maintenance, repair, or replacement, of the hurricane protection or any exterior windows, doors, or other apertures protected by hurricane protection, is the responsibility of the association or if the unit owners are required to install hurricane protection pursuant to the declaration of condominium.
  • If the hurricane protection complies with or exceeds current applicable building code has been previously installed, the board may not install the same type of hurricane protection or require the unit owners to install the same type of hurricane protection unless the installed hurricane protection has reached the end of its useful life or unless it is necessary to prevent damage to the common elements or to a unit.
  • The board may operate hurricane protection without the permission of the unit owners if such operation is necessary to preserve or protect the condominium property or association property.
  • A board may not refuse to approve the installation and replacement of hurricane protection by a unit owner which conforms to the specifications adopted by the board but, however, the board may require the unit owner to adhere to an existing unified building scheme regarding the external appearance of the condominium.
  • A unit owner is not responsible for the cost of any removal or reinstallation of hurricane protection including exterior windows, doors, or other apertures, if its removal is necessary for the maintenance, repair, or replacement of other condominium or association property for which the association is responsible.
  • The board shall determine if the removal or reinstallation of hurricane protection must be completed by a unit owner or the association.
  • If such removal and reinstallation is completed by the association, the costs incurred by the association may not be charged to the unit owner.
  • If the removal and reinstallation is completed by the unit owner, the association must reimburse the unit owner for the cost of the removal and reinstallation or the association must apply a credit towards future assessments in the amount of the unit owner’s cost to remove and reinstall the protection.
  • If the removal and reinstallation of hurricane protection including exterior windows, doors, and other apertures, is the responsibility of the unit owner and the association completes such removal and reinstallation and then charges the unit owner for such removal and reinstallation, such charges are enforceable as an assessment and may be
    collected in accordance with Fl. St. 718.116.
  • If the installation of hurricane protection is the responsibility of the unit owners pursuant to the declaration of condominium or the vote of the unit owners, the cost of the installation of the hurricane protection is not a common expense and must be charged individually to the unit owners based on the cost of installation. The costs of installation are enforceable as an assessment.
  • The owner of a unit, in which hurricane protection that complies with current building code has been installed, is excused from any assessment levied by the association or shall receive a credit if the same type of hurricane protection is installed by the
  • The credit must be equal to the amount the owner would have been assessed to install the hurricane protection.
  • Expenses for the installation of hurricane protection on the common elements or association property are common expenses.

Limitation on Actions by Association

Fl. St. 718.124

  • The statute of repose does not begin to run until turnover when the unit owners elect a majority of the members to the board.

Prohibition Against SLAPP Suits

Fl. St. 718.1224

  • It is unlawful for a condominium association to enact discriminatory increases in owner’s assessments, discriminatorily decreased services to a unit owner, or bring or threaten to bring an action for possession or other civil action including defamation, libel, slander or tortious interference based on conduct described in this statute.
  • In order for the unit owner to raise the defense of retaliatory conduct, the unit owner must have acted in good faith and not for any improper purposes, such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or for frivolous purpose or needless increase in the cost of litigation.
  • Examples of conduct for which a condominium association, an officer, a director, or a agent of an association may not retaliate include, but are not limited to, situations in which:
    a.  The unit owner has complained in good faith to a governmental agency charged with responsibility for enforcement of a building housing or health code violation;
    b.  The unit owner has organized, encouraged, or participated in, a unit owner’s organization;
    c.  The unit owner submitted information or filed a complaint alleging criminal violations or violations of Ch. 718, or rules of the division with the division, the office of the condominium ombudsman, a law enforcement agency, state attorney, attorney general, or other governmental agency;
    d.  The unit owner exercised their rights pursuant to Ch. 718;
    e.  The unit owner complained to the association, or any of the association’s representatives, for failure to comply with Ch. 718 or 617; and
    f.  The unit owner made public statements critical of operation or management of the association.
  • Evidence of retaliatory conduct may be raised by the unit owner as a defense in any action brought against him or her for possession of their unit.
  • Condominium associations may not expend association funds in support of a defamation, libel, slander, or tortious interference action against a unit owner or any other claim against a unit owner based on conduct described herein.

Electronic Voting

Fl. St. 718.128

  • Authorizes owners to opt into electronic voting electronically, in addition to in writing.
  • Provides if the board authorizes online voting, the board must honor a unit owner’s request to vote electronically at all subsequent elections, unless such unit owner opts out of online voting.

Transfer of Association Control

Fl. St. 718.301(P)

  • Provides that Integrity Reserve Studies must be included in the developer turnover inspection report.

Conflicts of Interest

Fl. St. 718.3027(4)

  • clarifies that a director who has a conflict of interest can establish quorum at a board meeting to allow a vote to proceed in his or her absence from the vote due to the conflict.

Obligations of Owners and Occupants/Suspension of Voting Rights

Fl. St. 718.303(5)

  • Provides that at least 90 days prior to an election, written notice must be provided to a unit owner that their voting rights may be suspended due to nonpayment of a monetary obligation to the association.

Authority, Responsibility, and Duties of Division

Fl. St. 718.501

  • After turnover has occurred, the division has jurisdiction to investigate complaints related only to:
    a.  Procedural aspects and records relating to financial issues including annual financial reporting, assessments, fines, commingling of reserves and operating funds, use of debit cards for unintended purposes, annual operating budget, allocation of reserve funds, financial records, any other record necessary to determine the revenues and expenses of the association;
    b.  Elections, including election and voting requirements, recalls, electronic voting, and elections that occur during emergencies;
    c.  Procedural aspects of meetings, including unit owner meetings, quorums, voting requirements, proxies, board of administration meetings, and budget meetings;
    d.  Disclosure of conflict-of-interest requirements;
    e.  Removal of directors and officers;
    f.  Procedural completion of the structural integrity reserve study; and
    g.  Any written inquiries by unit owners to the association relating to such matters, including written inquiries under Fl. 718.112.
  • The division shall refer to local law enforcement authorities any person whom the division believes has engaged in fraud, theft, embezzlement, or other criminal activity or when the division has cause to believe that fraud, theft, embezzlement, or other criminal activity has occurred.
  • The division and the office of the condominium ombudsman may attend and observe any meeting of the board or any unit owner meeting including subcommittees or special committees which are open to members of the association for the purpose of performing their duties.
  • If the division receives a complaint regarding access to official records on the association’s website or through an application that can be downloaded on a mobile device, the division may request access to the association’s website or application and investigate.
  • After December 31, 2024, the division must include a list of the associations that have completed the structural integrity reserve study.

 

 

Posted in Community Association, Condominium Association, Homeowners Association, Legislation, Official Records, Website Matters
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