U.S. Supreme Court Bankruptcy Ruling Will Help Florida Community Associations

In Bankruptcy, community association liens are often times “stripped off” if the home is worth less than the amount of the mortgages that are securing it. The United States Supreme Court put an end to that practice as it relates to second mortgages which presumably would also apply to community association liens. Full article here

Florida Supreme Court Issues Ruling Regarding Property Managers

Charged with administering Florida’s laws regarding the Unauthorized Practice of Law, the Florida Supreme Court recently issued an opinion stating the following tasks must be performed by an attorney:

• draft a claim of lien and satisfaction of claim of lien;

• prepare a notice of commencement;

• determine the timing, method and form of giving notices of meetings;

• determine the votes necessary for certain actions by community associations;

• address questions asking for the application of a statute or rule;

• advise community associations whether a course of action is authorized by statute or rule;

• prepare a certificate of assessments due once a delinquent account is turned over to the association’s lawyer;

• prepare a certificate of assessments due once a foreclosure against the unit has commenced;

• prepare a certificate of assessments due once a member disputes in writing the amount owed;

• draft amendments (and certificates of amendment that are recorded in the official records) to declaration of covenants, bylaws and articles of incorporation when members have to vote on these documents;

• determine the number of days to be provided for statutory notice;

• modify limited-proxy forms promulgated by the state;

• prepare documents concerning the right of the association to approve new prospective owners;

• determine affirmative votes needed to pass a proposition or amendment to recorded documents;

• determine the number of owners’ votes needed to establish a quorum;

• draft pre-arbitration demand letters;

• prepare construction lien documents;

• prepare, review, draft and have substantial involvement in the preparation and execution of contracts, including construction, management and cable television contracts;

• identify, through the review of title instruments, the owners to receive pre-lien letters; and

• oversee any activity that requires statutory or case law analysis to reach a legal conclusion.

Full opinion available here sc13-889 .

 

 

New Proposed Federal Regulation: Amateur Radio Antennas & Towers Must Be Allowed in Your Community Association

Presently pending in the United States Congress, H.R. 1301 is a bill proposed to protect the installation and use of amateur radio antennas and towers in community associations.  According to the bill, “[t]here is a strong Federal interest in the effective performance of amateur radio stations established at the residences of licensees”.  In regard to a community association’s restrictive covenants, the bill applies existing FCC policy used when dealing with State restrictions on antennas and towers to community association declarations.  The bill would, among other things, require community association “to permit erection of a station antenna structure at heights and dimensions sufficient to accommodate amateur service communications.”   H.R. 1301 would also apply to private office parks and essentially any privately owned land with use restrictions related to amateur radio antennas and towers.

 

The full text of the bill is available here: HR Bill 1301, United States Congress, Amateur Antennas and Towers.

7 Deadly Sins of Collecting Delinquent Assessments

7 Deadly Sins of Collecting Delinquent Assessments

Click here to download the full report.

 

1.    Failing to follow the specific procedures in your community association’s Governing Documents such as written notice from the association of the delinquent debt. Often times such failures, when objected to by a delinquent owner, requires the entire collection process to be restarted. Sometimes, such failures lead to expensive lawsuits and a large payout to the delinquent owner.

 

2. Agreeing to payment plans that are not in writing. A payment plan that is not in writing, is not worth the paper it is written on. Secure all payment plans in writing.

 

3.  Extending grace periods and granting concessions to neighbors and friends but no one else. It is understandable you want to help a neighbor or friend that is having problems with paying your association’s assessments. However, each owner has to be treated in the same, uniform manner. Extending grace periods only to friends or neighbors exposes the entire community association to an expensive lawsuit from an aggrieved owner to whom a grace period was refused.

 

4. Publishing a list of delinquent owners.       Shaming debtors is not only insensitive, it violates the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and exposes the association to an expensive lawsuit.

 

5.     Failing to follow the specific collection deadlines in your community association’s Governing Documents. If the collection deadlines are too long or too short, have them amended. In the meantime, collections must proceed in accordance with the specific deadlines contained in your association’s Governing Documents. Failure to do so can easily lead to an expensive lawsuit and a large payout to the delinquent owner.

 

6.  Failing to add interest and late fees onto delinquent assessments. Many community associations are unaware of their ability to impose late fees or are unable to properly calculate interest. Foregoing late fees and interest can significantly undermine a community association’s financial stability.

 7. Failing to timely forward a delinquent account to your attorney for collection. Depending on whether it is a condominium or homeowners’ association, attorneys are required to wait between 60 and 90 days prior to the institution of foreclosure litigation. Banks are required to pay only 12 months of delinquent assessments. Sometimes, a bank will wait years before filing a foreclosure lawsuit.       Association’s that fail to act timely and foreclose upon a delinquent owner’s home and rent the home until the bank takes title, can cost an association a year or more of assessment payments.

 

For help with avoiding the 7 Deadly Sins of Collecting Delinquent Assessments, and for a free analysis of your association’s community association collections, please complete and fax the following to: (561) 750-8185. A representative from Gerstin & Association will contact you to set up your community association’s free collection analysis.

 

Name: ____________________________

Association name: _____________________

Position at the association (director, property manager, etc.) _____________________

Email address: ______________

Telephone number: _____________________

Pet Weight Limits Don’t Apply to Emotional Support Animals in Florida’s Community Associations

Another example of the expanding scope of the Fair Housing Act, is the recently decided case of Bhogaita v. Altamonte Heights Condo. Ass’n, Inc., No. 13-12625 (11th Cir. Aug. 27, 2014). In Bhogaita a jury was persuaded the Altamonte Heights Condominium Association discriminated against the Plaintiff when it enforced its pet weight policy and demanded a removal of the plaintiff’s emotional support dog. The jury awarded Bhogaita $5,000 in damages, and the district court awarded Bhogaita more than $100,000 in attorneys’ fees. The association appealed both the judgment entered on the jury’s verdict and lost the appeal. Click the link below for the full text of the case

Bhogaita v. Altamonte Heights Condo. Ass’n, Inc., No. 13-12625 (11th Cir. Aug. 27, 2014)–Fair Housing Act-disability provisions-pet weight limit for emotional support dog failed to accommodate disability

 

 

 

2014 Florida Community Association and Real Estate Legislative Update

 2014 Florida Community Association and Real Estate Legislative Update
By: Joshua Gerstin, Esq.

Click here to download .pdf version

Approximately 200 bills were introduced in the Florida legislature in 2014, 264 bills were passed by the legislature and Governor Rick Scott signed 158 into law. Many of these new laws will directly impact the operations of Florida’s community associations and the ownership of real estate for years to come.

 

HB 7307

Condominiums and Homeowner Associations.

Contains significant changes to the services a CAM (Community Association Property Manager) can perform.  The newly expanded CAM duties include:

  • Collecting delinquent assessments prior to the filing of a civil action.
  • Completing forms related created by statute or by a state agency.
  • Drafting letters of intended action, calculating and preparing certificates of assessments.
  • Estoppel letters.

Conspicuously absent from the new law are provisions lessening or mitigating the association’s liability if a CAM violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Instead, associations remain ultimately responsible. HB 7307 also provides:

  • New professional liability standards for CAMS
  • CAM contracts can only require Association’s provide limited indemnification to a CAM.
  • Lists conduct a CAM cannot be indemnified for such as grossly negligent, reckless or the derivation of an improper personal benefit.
  • Creates new forms in Chapters 718, 719 and 720 for notifying delinquent unit owners of their past due assessment balances.

 

SB 1524 Condominiums and Homeowner Associations.

  • Information Protection Act. Imposes new requirements on businesses, including community associations, to protect customer/members records containing the following information:
    • names;
    • social security numbers;
    • medical histories ( ex. medically necessary pets) and;
    • other identification numbers
      • Security breach reporting to the Department of Legal Affairs is required
      • Limits required disclosure by businesses of a breach if proper reporting, and other procedures to rectify the situation, are followed

 

HB 807, Condominium and Homeowner Associations.

  • Outgoing Board Members Relinquishment. Outgoing Board or committee members are required to relinquish all of the Association’s Official Records in their possession within five days after an election.
    • No “lame duck” provision for prior director whose term expires more than five days after an election.
    • Allows for civil penalties to be imposed by the Division for willful violation.
  • Member Directories. Owners can consent to information other than contact information being printed in an ownership directory. Associations can print a directory containing the name, parcel address and telephone numbers for each parcel owner without obtaining the owners’ consent. Individual owners may exclude his or her telephone numbers from the directory.
  • Board or Committee Meetings. Board or committee members appearing by telephone, videoconferencing or other real time video counts towards a quorum. The absent board or committee member appearing by telephone or video can also vote as if actually present.

 

HB 807, Condominium Associations Only

  • Abandoned Units: in addition to the reasons set forth in F.S. §718.111(5)(a), in which a condominium association has the irrevocable right of access to each unit. This legislation created a new statute F.S. §718. 111(5)(b)(1).
    • At the sole discretion of a condominium association’s board of directors a board may, after tendering the required notice, enter an abandoned unit to:
      • inspect the unit and adjoining common elements;
      • make repairs to the unit or to the common elements serving the unit;
      • repair or remediate the due to the presence of mold or similar deterioration;
      • turn on the power for the unit;
      • to otherwise maintain, preserve or protect the unit and its adjoining common elements.
  • Condominium Insurance Clarification: if an item is not damaged by an insurable or casualty event, the items repair or replacement costs are governed by the association’s Governing Documents.
  • Email. Condominium Board or committee members may communicate, but are prohibited from voting, via email.
  • Delinquencies. Condominium association’s that obtain title to a foreclosed property, or via a deed in lieu of foreclosure, from a delinquent owner are not considered a “previous owner” liable for past due assessments. Allows condominium associations that own foreclosed properties to seek the past due assessments of the prior owner from a new owner (subject to the limits of bank foreclosure, Safe Harbor statutes).
  • Condominium Optional Termination. A failed condominium termination plan cannot be sought again by joinder and consent or proposed at a meeting for 180 days after the date the termination plan failed.

 

HB 807, Homeowner Associations Only

  • Emergency Powers for Homeowners’ Associations: The bill incorporates the current emergency powers provisions in the Condominium Act into the Homeowners’ Association Act.
  • Allows homeowner associations to provide notice of adopted amendments via email.
  • In lieu of providing an actual copy of an amendment that passed, homeowner association owners can be notified the amendment passed along with the Official Records Book and Page and a notice a copy of the amendment is available at no charge to the owners. Allowable only if an exact copy of the amendment was sent to the owners prior to its passage. Amends F.S. §720.306(1)(b).
  • Requires HOA board and owner meetings to be held at handicap accessible locations only if requested by a physically handicapped person entitled to attend the meeting. This law does not apply to condominium associations. Amends F.S. §720.303(2)(a) & 720.306(1)(a).
  • Marketable Records Title Act (“MRTA”). Clarifies existing law. Newspapers do not have to publish a MRTA notice.

 

SB 440, Non-Residential Condominiums

  • Proxies can be used in voting for Board members of non-residential condominiums.
  • General proxies from owners in non-residential condominiums can now be used to vote on waiving or reducing the reserves, waiving financial reporting requirements or amending the Governing Documents.
  • Directors may now serve for an unlimited number of terms or years in a non-residential condominium.
  • If a unit is owned by more than one owner in a non-residential condominium, all owners can serve simultaneously on the board of directors.
  • Non residential condominiums directors do not have to take the “loyalty oath” certifying they are familiar with the Governing Documents and will discharge his/her duties in a fiduciary capacity.
  • Non-residential condominiums are excluded from the mandatory arbitration and mediation provision of Florida law.
  • Non-residential condominiums are excluded from the hurricane shutter provisions in the F.S. § 718.
  • Limitations on development phases meant to protect early purchasers of condominiums no longer apply to non-residential condominiums.

 

SB 356, Vacation Rentals.

  • The State of Florida reserved the exclusive right to regulate vacation rentals. Local municipalities can no longer pass ordinances that prohibit vacation rentals or that regulate the duration or frequency of vacation rentals. Applies only to ordinances adopted after June 1, 2011.

 

Real Estate.

  • Subsurface Mineral Rights. New disclosures are required when subsurface mineral rights are reserved by the Seller. Unwary buyers can now cancel contracts and statutory penalties exist for intentional violators.
  • Florida “GI Bill”. Tuition waivers veterans, military base upgrades and a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign, the Florida “GI Bill” intends to make Florida the most military-friendly state in the nation.

 

Insurance.

  • SB542 Flood Insurance.

o   Insurers may offer personal lines of residential flood insurance to residential customers (commercial condos or commercial residential excluded).

  • HB 1089 Citizen’s Insurance, Windstorm Coverage.

o   For wind only coverage for commercial lines residential condominiums, associations cannot have 50% of the units rented more than 8 times a year for less than 30 days.

  • SB 1672 Citizens Insurance.

o   Citizens Insurance may offer wind only policies and will discontinue certain multi-peril policies.

o   Insurance agents and public adjusters cannot obtain referral fees from an inspection company performing an insurance inspection for coverage.

o   Public adjusters cannot accept power of attorney that allows them to select the vendors and contractors to perform property repairs.

  • SB 708 Homeowner Insurance.

o   Insurers can no longer deny a claim for a misrepresentation in an insurance claim if the insurance policy has been in effect for 90 or more days.

o   A “Homeowners’ Claim Bill of Rights” was added enhancing protections afforded to personal line residential policyholders.

 

Service of Process HB 627.

  • Employer must permit service of process on employees.
  • $1000.00 fine on employer for not permitting service of process one employee.
  • Sheriff can rely on a levying creditor’s affidavit for the disbursement poof proceeds from the sale of levied property.

 

For information purposes only. For legal advice, please consult an attorney.

2014 Florida Community Association Legislative Update, Governor Scott signs HB 7037

Governor Scott signs HB 7307 containing significant changes to the services a CAM (property manager can perform).  HB7037 becomes effective July 1, 2014 and effects only Florida condominiums. The newly expanded CAM duties include:

  • Collecting delinquent assessments prior to the filing of a civil action.
  • Completing forms related created by statute or by a state agency.
  • Drafting letters of intended action, calculating and preparing certificates of assessments.
  • Estoppel letters.
  • Negotiating association contracts.
  • Drafting pre-arbitration demands.

The Bill also contains examples of new required forms.  The new forms are for use with collection of condominium association assessments. Conspicuously absent from the bill were provisions lessening or mitigating the common law liability if a CAM violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Instead condominium associations remain ultimately responsible .

The full text of the bill is available by clicking the following link: HB 7037-cam bill

Check back each day for more analysis as Governor Scott continues to sign or veto legislation affecting Florida’s community associations.

Owner Not Covered for Exploding Corpse in Palm Beach County, Florida Condominium

A decomposing body that explodes does not give rise to coverage for explosions and personal property damage…

Full article here :http://nypost.com/2014/04/27/neighbor-must-pay-for-damage-caused-by-an-exploding-corpse/

Deadline for Florida Homeowner Associations to Register is November 22, 2013

A recently passed amendment to Florida law requires all homeowner associations to register with the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes by November 22, 2013.   Directors or Licensed Community Association Property Managers can register on behalf of a homeowners’ association. Similar to the condominium association reporting requirements,  the homeowner association reporting requirements include the following:

  • Legal Name of homeowners’ association
  • Federal employer identification number
  • Mailing and physical addresses
  • Total number of parcels
  • Total amount of revenues and expenses from the association’s annual budget

For associations in which control of the association has not been transitioned to non-developer members, the following information must also be reported:

  • Legal Name of developer
  • Mailing address
  • Total number of parcels owned on the date of reporting

 

Click here to register your Homeowners’ Association

2013 Florida Community Association Legislative Update

Rick-Scott-signs-bill-April-22

The past legislative session was an extremely busy one for both homeowner and condominium associations.  Initial legislative proposals ranged from an entire rewrite of Chapter 720 to a depository scheme to collect assessments that would have been a disaster. In the end, at least for this past legislative session, Florida’s community associations avoided disaster.  Most, but not all, of the recently passed Florida legislation affecting Florida’s community association’s are reasonable. The hardest hit group in this year’s legislative session is by far homeowner developers. The full text of each passed bill can be found at: www.flsenate.gov; www.myfloridahouse.com; and www.leg.state.fl.us.

Homeowner Associations

Officers and Directors

F.S. § 720.3033 Officers and Directors.- This past legislative session there many changes to the laws governing homeowner association officers and directors.  Both Homeowner association Boards of Directors and their property managers should immediately update themselves on these new legislative changes to avoid unknowingly running afoul of the law. The underlined portion below is the amended text of F.S. § 720.3033:

720.3033  Officers and directors.—

(1)(a)  Within 90 days after being elected or appointed to the board, each director shall certify in writing to the secretary of the association that he or she has read the association’s declaration of covenants, articles of incorporation, bylaws, and current written rules and policies; that he or she will work to uphold such documents and policies to the best of his or her ability; and that he or she will faithfully discharge his or her fiduciary responsibility to the association’s members. Within 90 days after being elected or appointed to the board, in lieu of such written certification, the newly elected or appointed director may submit a certificate of having satisfactorily completed the educational curriculum administered by a division-approved education provider within 1 year before or 90 days after the date of election or appointment.

(b)  The written certification or educational certificate is valid for the uninterrupted tenure of the director on the board. A director who does not timely file the written certification or educational certificate shall be suspended from the board until he or she complies with the requirement. The board may temporarily fill the vacancy during the period of suspension.

(c)  The association shall retain each director’s written certification or educational certificate for inspection by the members for 5 years after the director’s election. However, the failure to have the written certification or educational certificate on file does not affect the validity of any board action.

(2)  If the association enters into a contract or other transaction with any of its directors or a corporation, firm, association that is not an affiliated homeowners’ association, or other entity in which an association director is also a director or officer or is financially interested, the board must:

(a)  Comply with the requirements of s. 617.0832.

(b)  Enter the disclosures required by s. 617.0832 into the written minutes of the meeting.

(c)  Approve the contract or other transaction by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the directors present.

(d)  At the next regular or special meeting of the members, disclose the existence of the contract or other transaction to the members. Upon motion of any member, the contract or transaction shall be brought up for a vote and may be canceled by a majority vote of the members present. If the members cancel the contract, the association is only liable for the reasonable value of goods and services provided up to the time of cancellation and is not liable for any termination fee, liquidated damages, or other penalty for such cancellation.

(3)  An officer, director, or manager may not solicit, offer to accept, or accept any good or service of value for which consideration has not been provided for his or her benefit or for the benefit of a member of his or her immediate family from any person providing or proposing to provide goods or services to the association. If the board finds that an officer or director has violated this subsection, the board shall immediately remove the officer or director from office. The vacancy shall be filled according to law until the end of the director’s term of office. However, an officer, director, or manager may accept food to be consumed at a business meeting with a value of less than $25 per individual or a service or good received in connection with trade fairs or education programs.

(4)  A director or officer charged by information or indictment with a felony theft or embezzlement offense involving the association’s funds or property is removed from office. The board shall fill the vacancy according to general law until the end of the period of the suspension or the end of the director’s term of office, whichever occurs first. However, if the charges are resolved without a finding of guilt or without acceptance of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, the director or officer shall be reinstated for any remainder of his or her term of office. A member who has such criminal charges pending may not be appointed or elected to a position as a director or officer.

(5)  The association shall maintain insurance or a fidelity bond for all persons who control or disburse funds of the association. The insurance policy or fidelity bond must cover the maximum funds that will be in the custody of the association or its management agent at any one time. As used in this subsection, the term “persons who control or disburse funds of the association” includes, but is not limited to, persons authorized to sign checks on behalf of the association, and the president, secretary, and treasurer of the association. The association shall bear the cost of any insurance or bond. If annually approved by a majority of the voting interests present at a properly called meeting of the association, an association may waive the requirement of obtaining an insurance policy or fidelity bond for all persons who control or disburse funds of the association.

Homeowner Association Members

 

720.306 Meeting of the Members; voting and election procedures; amendments —Nominations from the floor at Annual Meetings are no longer required and an election is not required unless there are more candidates than vacancies. Further, all members are now required to receive amendments to the governing documents within 30 days of their passage.

720.303 (5) Inspection and Copying of Records. Official records must be maintained for at least 7 years and have to be made available to parcel owners for inspection and copying within 45 miles of the community or within the county in which the association is located. The Association has 10 business days after receipt by the board or its designee of a written request. Records can be made available electronically. Owners can scan or photograph the records at no charge (if they use their scanner or camera). Copying rates and personnel charges were also amended.

(5)        INSPECTION AND COPYING OF RECORDS.—The official records shall be maintained within the state for at least 7 years and shall be made available to a parcel owner for inspection or photocopying within 45 miles of the community or within the county in which the association is located within 10 business days after receipt by the board or its designee of a written request

The association shall allow a member or his or her authorized representative to use a portable device, including a smartphone, tablet, portable scanner, or any other technology capable of scanning or taking photographs, to make an electronic copy of the official records in lieu of providing the member or his or her authorized representative with a copy of such records. The association may not charge a fee to a member or his or her authorized representative for such use of a portable device.

The association may impose fees to cover the costs of providing copies of the official records, including, without limitation, the costs of copying and the costs required for personnel to retrieve and copy the records if the time spent retrieving and copying the records exceeds one- half hour and if the personnel costs do not exceed $20 per hour. Personnel costs may not be charged for records requests that result in the copying of 25 or fewer pages.

Assessment Collection

 

F.S. § 720.3085 Payment for assessments; lien claims. The most positive and important change this legislative session was legislation designed to correct or overrule the Court’s decision in the case of Aventura Management, LLC v. Spiaggia Ocean Condominium Association, Inc. HB 7119 amends F.S.§ 720.3085 and allows Florida homeowner associations to collect assessments, that were past due upon its ownership of a home, from a subsequent owner. The underlined portion below is the amended text:  

720.3085         Payment for assessments; lien claims.—

(2)

(b)        A parcel owner is jointly and severally liable with the previous parcel owner for all unpaid assessments that came due up to the time of transfer of title. This liability is without prejudice to any right the present parcel owner may have to recover any amounts paid by the present owner from the previous owner. For the purposes of this paragraph, the term “previous owner” shall not include an association that acquires title to a delinquent property through foreclosure or by deed in lieu of foreclosure. The present parcel owner’s liability for unpaid assessments is limited to any unpaid assessments that accrued before the association acquired title to the delinquent property through foreclosure or by deed in lieu of foreclosure.

F.S. § 468.436 CAM Disciplinary Proceedings.  This law was amended to classify a Community Association Manager’s violation of either Chapt. 720, 719 or 718 as a violation subject to a disciplinary proceeding by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. For the overwhelming amount of law abiding Community Association Managers, this legislative amendment should not be a cause for concern. The underlined portion below is the amended text of F.S.§ 468.436 (7):

Violating any provision of chapter 718, chapter 719, or chapter 720 during the course of performing community association management services pursuant to a contract with a community association as defined in s. 468.431(1).

Homeowner Association Developers

F.S.§ 720.303 (6)(d) Budgets.  If a homeowner association developer elects to maintain a reserve account for the HOA, the developer’s budget must designate the particular purpose or use of the funds.  The underlined portion below is the amended text of F.S.§ 720.303 (6)(d):

(d) An association is deemed to have provided for reserve accounts if reserve accounts have been initially established by the developer or if the membership of the association affirmatively elects to provide for reserves. If reserve accounts are established by the developer, the budget must designate the components for which the reserve accounts may be used. If reserve accounts are not initially provided by the developer, the membership of the association may elect to do so upon the affirmative approval of a majority of the total voting interests of the association.  .  .

F.S. § 720.307 Transition of association control in a community —Added to the threshold for an “automatic transition” to member control are a developer’s abandonment of its assessment, maintenance or construction responsibilities or if the developer files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, enters receivership or loses title to a common area through a foreclosure.  The underlined portion below is the amended text of F.S. § 720.307:

720.307 Transition of association control in a community.—

With respect to homeowners’ associations:

(1)        Members other than the developer are entitled to elect at least a majority of the members of the board of directors of the homeowners’ association when the earlier of the following events occurs:

. . .

c)  Upon the developer abandoning or deserting its responsibility to maintain and complete the amenities or infrastructure as disclosed in the governing documents. There is a rebuttable presumption that the developer has abandoned and deserted the property if the developer has unpaid assessments or guaranteed amounts under s. 720.308 for a period of more than 2 years;

(d)  Upon the developer filing a petition seeking protection under chapter 7  of the federal Bankruptcy Code;

(e)  Upon the developer losing title to the property through a foreclosure action or the transfer of a deed in lieu of foreclosure, unless the successor owner has accepted an assignment of developer rights and responsibilities first arising after the date of such assignment; or

(f)  Upon a receiver for the developer being appointed by a circuit court and not being discharged within 30 days after such appointment, unless the court determines within 30 days after such appointment that transfer of control would be detrimental to the association or its members.

 

F.S. § 720.307  Pre-transition Board of Directors. The amendment to F.S. §720.307 also lowered the threshold for a member to serve as a director on the pre-transition Board of Directors. Members, other than the developer, are allowed to elect at least one non-developer related member to the pre-transition Board of Directors if 50% of the parcels in all phases have been conveyed to the members.


F.S.
§ 720.3075 Prohibited clauses in association documents–Developers. At

any point pre-transition of control (not the 90% conveyed mark) a developer’s unilateral amendment to the Governing Documents will be subject to scrutiny as to its reasonableness. No longer considered reasonable or allowable are “ . . .amendments to the governing documents that are arbitrary, capricious, or in bad faith; destroy the general plan of development; prejudice the rights of existing nondeveloper members to use and enjoy the benefits of common property; or materially shift economic burdens from the developer to the existing nondeveloper members.”

F.S. § 720.303 (13) Reporting Requirements — Homeowner associations are now required to register with the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes.  Whether this will lead to enhanced regulation similar to condominiums, and its associated higher cost of compliance, is yet to be seen.  The legislation is due to expire in 2016.

F.S. §720.303(7) Financial Reports. Mandatory financial report thresholds for homeowners’ association were increased as follows:

  1. Compilation increased from $100,000 to $150,000.
  2. A financial review increased from $200,000 to $300,000; and
  3. An audit increased from  $400,000 to $500,000.

F.S. §720.303(10)(g) Directors: Recall.  A petition to challenge a homeowner’s association failure to act on a recall petition must be filed within 60 days from the end of the Board of Directors five day review period.

F.S. §720.305(2)(a) Suspensions. The suspension of  an owner’s common area use rights cannot  extend to the  common elements needed to access the unit, utility services to the unit, parking spaces, and elevators.

F.S. §720.306(1)(d) Amendments: Mortgages. After July 1, 2013, mortgage holders rights to approve or disapprove of amendment is limited to a negative notice and limited rights to contest.

F.S. §720.306(6) Meetings: Speaking.  Advanced notice is not required for a homeowner association member to speak at a Board of Directors’ meeting.

 F.S. §399.02(9) Elevators. The  July 1, 2015 deadline for retrofitting elevators  is removed. However, certain renovations to an elevator may require  compliance even in the event of a replacement or major modifications are required for compliance.

Condominium Associations Only

 

 Financials. F.S. §718.111(13).  A condominium developer is required to provide financial two years after recording of the  surveyor’s certificate.

Budgets. F.S. §718.1112(2)(f).   Up until the second fiscal year a condominium developer  can vote for reserves up until the second fiscal year after recording of a surveyor’s certificate.

Transition. F.S. §718.301(1). Transition can occur as late as seven years after the recording of the surveyor’s certificate.  without an accompanying assignment of developer rights.

Hurricane Protection.  F.S. §718.113(5)(a).  A condominium association’s board of directors has the authority to install hurricane resistant protection extends to doors and other items.  authority to install additional hurricane resistant protection is extended to include doors and other similar  hurricane protection. A code compliant unit entitles the unit owner to a credit for assessments levied related to installation of hurricane protection

Suspensions. F.S. §718.303(3). The suspension of  an owner’s common area use rights cannot  extend to the  common elements needed to access the unit, utility services to the unit, parking spaces, and elevators.

Insurance.   F.S.  §718.111(11)(g)2.   If a condominium owner does not undertake required work, the association may do so and assess the owner for the expense.

Records. F.S. §718.111(12). Condominium association members may use their own equipment, without charge, to copy Association records. Excluded records from disclosure includes personnel records of the Association and its management company. Absent a written request for exclusion, Homeowner association’s can print a community directory with each member’s name, address and telephone number, unless the member request to be excluded.

Financial  Reports.    §718.111(13).  Mandatory financial report thresholds for condominium associations were increased:

  1.      Compilation increased from $100,000 to $150,000.
  2.      A financial review increased from $200,000 to $300,000; and
  3.      An audit increased from  $400,000 to $500,000.

 

Directors: Terms & Qualifications.  §718.112(2)(d)2.  Authorization for condominium association directors staggered terms can be authorized by an association’s articles of incorporation, as well as tits by-laws. Any owner that owes money to the association is ineligible to run for the Board of Directors and his/her name should not be on the ballot.

Directors: Recall. §718.112(2)(j). A petition to challenge a condominium association failure to act on a recall petition must be filed within 60 days from the end of the Board of Directors five day review period. The challenge can be through arbitration.

 

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