2017 Community Association Statutory Update

Summer has come and gone.  With its passing, the time has come to review some helpful, and some not-so-helpful, amendments to the statutes that governs homeowners’ associations, condominiums and cooperatives.  This blog post will discuss, in brief, three new laws.

Chapter 2017-93 (formerly Senate Bill 398)

Chapter 2017-93 alters the obligations and duties of community associations with respect to estoppel requests.  For HOAs, it amends § 720.30851, Fla. Stat.  For condos, it revises § 718.116.  For cooperatives, § 719.108 is changed.  The changes are, on the whole, uniform across the three statutes.  Highlights include:

  • The deadline to respond to estoppel requests is now 10 business days instead of 15 days.
  • If an association maintains a website, it must designate thereon the person/entity who is to receive estoppel requests on behalf of the association.
  • An estoppel request may be completed by any board member or authorized agent/representative.
  • The estoppel certificate is now a statutory form.
  • Associations may, following adoption of a written board resolution, charge a fee not exceeding:
    • $250 for the preparation and delivery of an estoppel certificate if no delinquent amounts are owed for the applicable unit (plus an additional $100 fee if it is delivered within 3 business days);
    • $150 for the preparation and delivery of an estoppel certificate if delinquent amounts are owed for the applicable unit.

Chapter 2017-161 (formerly House Bill 6027)

Chapter 2017-161 also applies to co-ops, condos and HOAs, amending §§ 718.111(13), 719.104(4) and 720.303(7)(b).  It concerns annual financial reporting requirement s of communities with fewer than 50 units/lots and removes the previous exemption relating to the preparation of a report of cash receipts and expenditures in lieu of a year-end financial statement.

Chapter 2017-188 (formerly House Bill 1237)

The third law, Chapter 2017-188, only applies to condominiums.  Alas, it is massive and amends §§ 718.111, 718.112, 718.1255, 718.30 and 718.5012, while creating §§ 718.3025 and 718.71, Fla. Stat.  Highlights include the following:

  • Criminal penalties are imposed for various acts including accepting kickbacks, ballot forgery, embezzlement/theft of condominium funds and refusal to allow records inspections.
  • The definition of official records was broadened to include bids for materials, equipment and services.
  • Tenants now have records inspection rights.
  • Condominiums with more than 150 units that are not timeshare units must now maintain a website and post thereon certain official records.
  • The legislature has clarified various conflicts of interest involving condominium attorney’s, managers, employees officers and directors, amended the disclosure and approval requirements and created a rebuttable presumption of a conflict in certain instances (i.e. if an officer or an officer’s family member enters into a contract for goods or services with the association
  • If an association fails to allow unit owners to inspect a year-end financial statement upon written request, the owner may seek relief through the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
  • All condominiums must, annually, provide a report to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation containing the names of all financial institutions with which they maintains accounts.
  • Debit cards in the name of an association may not be used to pay association expenses.
  • Board members may not serve more than four consecutive two year terms without a special vote of the membership.
  • The board member recall statute has been modified for clarity.
  • The statute concerning mandatory alternative dispute resolution (mediation and arbitration), has been substantially changed.

Although the foregoing is only summary of some of the statutory changes that have come into effect this summer, I hope it will prove useful to associations, and their members.

Post Date: September 29, 2017

By: Robert C. Chilton

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