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Community Association Legislative Update 2021 – Part I

There are number of bills filed in the current legislative session that could have a significant impact on the operation and governance of Florida community associations. In particular, Senate Bill 630 – Community Associations includes a number of proposed changes that would significantly impact condominiums, cooperatives, and homeowner associations. Given the breadth of the topics included in SB 630 this article will focus on detailing the changes proposed in this bill alone. Below is a summary of the changes in the bill:

Condominiums

  • Allows recall and election disputes to be filed for arbitration with DBPR or court action. Currently, DBPR has primary jurisdiction.
  • Allows associations and owners to seek mediation instead of arbitration for qualifying disputes, other than election and recall disputes.
  • Allows board or committee members to participate remotely in meetings, including counting towards a quorum and voting.
  • Proposes if an association’s insurance policy does not provide subrogation rights against the unit owners, an insurance policy issued to a unit owner may not provide subrogation rights against an association.
  • Allows associations to remove discriminatory restrictions from governing documents without a membership vote.
  • Clarifies bids for work to be performed, materials, or services must be maintained by the association for at least 1 year after receipt of the bid.
  • Clarifies renters only have the right to inspect the association’s declaration and bylaws. Renters are not entitled to inspect any other association official record.
  • Clarifies associations may not require an owner to provide an explanation or reason to inspect official records.
  • Allows associations to make records available through a mobile device application in lieu of posting on a website.
  • Clarifies the 8-year board term limit applies after July 1, 2018.
  • Increases transfer fees limits from $100 to $150 and allows DBPR to adjust the limit every five years equal to the increase in the Consumer Price Index.
  • Provides natural gas fuel vehicles similar rights and protections that electric vehicles enjoy.
  • Clarifies statutory emergency powers apply to states of emergency as a result of contagions such as COVID.
  • Restricts associations from prohibiting owners, tenants, guests, agents, or invitees from accessing units and common elements in connection with the sale, lease, or other transfer of title to a unit.
  • Requires associations to provide owners a certified and itemized list of records provided in response to a request for records.
  • Requires fourteen days-notice for all membership meetings that are not annual meetings if the bylaws do not specify a specific notice requirement.
  • Deletes service provider conflicts of interest provisions.
  • Clarifies fines are due 5 days after notice.

Homeowner Associations

  • Allows recall and election disputes to be filed for arbitration with DBPR or court action. Currently, DBPR has primary jurisdiction.
  • Allows associations and owners to seek mediation instead of arbitration for qualifying disputes, other than election and recall disputes.
  • Allows board or committee members to participate remotely in meetings, including counting towards a quorum and voting.
  • Allows associations to remove discriminatory restrictions from governing documents without a membership vote.
  • Clarifies statutory emergency powers apply to states of emergency as a result of contagions such as COVID.
  • Restricts associations from prohibiting owners, tenants, guests, agents, or invitees from accessing units and common elements in connection with the sale, lease, or other transfer of title to a unit.
  • Eliminates the requirement to send notices to the owners’ addresses as listed on the property appraiser’s website.
  • Removes rules and regulations from the definition of governing documents.
  • Confirms election documents must be maintained for 1 year after date of election.
  • Eliminates requirement to maintain mandatory reserves established by the developer.
  • Provides leasing restriction amendments adopted after July 1, 2021 do not apply to owners who do not vote for such amendment except for restrictions of rental terms fewer than six months, prohibit an owner from renting his or her parcel more than three times in a calendar year.

Cooperatives

  • Allows recall and election disputes to be filed for arbitration with DBPR or court action. Currently, DBPR has primary jurisdiction.
  • Allows cooperatives and owners to seek mediation instead of arbitration for qualifying disputes, other than election and recall disputes.
  • Allows board or committee members to participate remotely in meetings, including counting towards a quorum and voting.
  • Clarifies cooperatives may not require an owner to provide an explanation or reason to inspect official records.
  • Allows cooperatives to remove discriminatory restrictions from governing documents without a membership vote.
  • Clarifies statutory emergency powers apply to states of emergency as a result of contagions such as COVID.
  • Restricts cooperatives from prohibiting owners, tenants, guests, agents, or invitees from accessing units and common elements in connection with the sale, lease, or other transfer of title to a unit.
Posted in Community Association, Condominium Association, Homeowners Association, Legislation
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