Action alert! By legislative enact last year, all non-timeshare condominium association with 150 or more units must have an independent, password-protected website or web portal accessible to association members by January 1, 2019. The website must be wholly owned and operated by the association, or a website or web portal operated by a third-party provided the association owns, leases, rents, or otherwise obtains the right to operate the web page.
Additionally, the new law requires the association to post digital copies of documents specified in new subparagraph 718.111(12(g)(2) on the website. The documents required to be posted in digital format include:
- Recorded declaration of condominium and amendments of each condominium operated by the association.
- Recorded bylaws and amendments thereto.
- The articles of incorporation of the association each amendment thereto. The copy posted must be a copy filed with the Department of State.
- The rules of the association.
- Any management agreement, lease, or other contract to which the association is a party or under which the association or the unit owners have an obligation or responsibility. Summaries of bids for materials, equipment, or services must be maintained on the website for 1 year.
- The annual budget required by s. 718.112(2)(f), Fla. Stat. and any proposed budget.
- The financial report required by subsection (13) and any proposed financial report.
- The certification of each director required by s.718.112(2)(d)4.b.
- All contracts or transactions between the association and any director, officer, corporation, firm, or association that is not an affiliated condominium association or any other entity in which an association director is also a director or officer and financially interested.
- Any contract or document regarding a conflict of interest or possible conflict of interest as provided in ss. 468.436(2) and 718.3026(3).
- Meeting notices and agenda in plain view on the front page of the website, or on a separate subpage of the website labeled “Notices” which is conspicuously visible and linked from the front page.
- Any document to be considered and voted on at a meeting.
It is important that these documents are only made available to unit owners. The association is also responsible for redacting any protected information prior to posting the documents.
With the deadline fast approaching it is important that associations begin taking the proper steps now to ensure that they are in compliance with the new law by July 1st. Due to the various requirements putting a plan in place to ensure compliance by the deadline date is no easy task.
If the Association is contracted with a management company it is best to reach out to the management company to determine if the management company will be offering a website or web portal that complies with the new law before July 1st. The board will need to determine whether the management company will charge an additional fee for this service or whether the website is covered under the current contract.
If the management company will not offer a website or web portal the association will need to consider contracts for website hosting companies. Due diligence is required. If you are contracting for services research everything you can about the company. Is the company a nationwide company that has a long history or is it a new company? Keep in mind if the company goes out of business and/or shuts down for some reason without notice the association can be in violation.
There is a great deal of research that will need to go into selecting a website or web portal. Such as:
- What company is going to host the website?
- Ownership of the domain name?
- Who will be responsible for uploading the data?
- Who will be responsible for redacting the data?
- What level of security will the website have?
- Who will design the website?
- Who has authority to make changes to the website?
- Who sets up the usernames?
- Where is the information stored (e.g., cloud, server, etc.)?
- What are the costs?
The associations should review their budget, analyze the true costs of each service, determine whether what is absolutely necessary to comply with the new law. Finally, associations should have their attorney review any contracts for services whether they be addendums to a management contract or an entirely new contract with a third-party provider. The attorney should also review the website prior to July 1st to confirm that it is in compliance with the new law.