CONDOMINIUMS

HB 1237- EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2017

This bill makes various changes to Florida’s Condominium Law, Chapter 718, Florida Statutes. Of particular interest:

  • Legal penalties are imposed for voting fraud in the context of condominium elections, theft, embezzlement of funds and tampering with association official records;
  • A pending criminal charge against an officer or director of an association disqualifies that office/director from continued service and from access to association official records;
  • Numerous conflict of interest guidelines are added;
  • An association may not hire an attorney who represents the management company of the association;
  • Except for timeshare condos, a board member, manager, or management company may not purchase a unit at a foreclosure sale resulting from the association’s foreclosure of its lien for unpaid assessments or take title to a unit via deed in lieu of such foreclosure;
  • By 7/01/2018, an association with 150 or more units which does not manage timeshares shall post digital copies of certain association records on its website;
  • Guidelines are added for the content and management of the association’s website;
  • Board members many not serve more than four consecutive 2-year terms, unless approved by a 2/3 vote or unless there are not enough eligible candidates to fill all the vacancies on the board;
  • The Division may certify an arbitrator if he/she has been a member in good standing of the Florida Bar for at least 5 years and has met other conditions in the three years preceding the application

SB 1520- EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2017

This this bill would amend Section 718.117, Florida Statutes, involving termination of condominiums. The statute is amended to provide additional legislative intent for termination of the condominium form of ownership — including to ensure continued maintenance of storm water management and conservation easements, to avoid transferring the expense of these area of maintenance to the general tax base, to prevent covenants from impairing the productive use of the property, to protect residents from health and safety hazards, to provide fair and just compensation for individuals and preserve property values and the local tax base and to preserve homestead property rights. The amendments are created to clarify existing law and apply to all condominiums created under the Condominium Act.

 

COMMUNITY ASSOCIATIONS

HB 653 – EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2017

This bill, among other provisions, removes the accounting option for condominium, cooperative and homeowners’ associations which has less than 50 units whereby they could use cash receipt reports in lieu of financial statements and it also removes the 3- year limitation for cooperative and condominium associations whereby they could not waive financial reporting for more than three consecutive years.

It expands the time within which an association must reply to a records request from 5 to 10 business days and reduces the amount of time a condominium must maintain bids for contracts for work from seven years down to one year.

The new law would provide a complete exemption from retrofitting with a fire sprinkler system/ engineered life- safety system for a condominium or cooperative building less than 75 in height without a vote. The requirement to retrofit a building above 75 feet in height, unless waived by a majority of owners has been extended 2 years.

The bill requires cooperative associations to retain electronic records related to voting as official records. The bill also now requires condominium and cooperative associations to create rules for to provide notice of all board meetings on a website if the time requirements for physically posting the board meetings are otherwise met.

The new law would require homeowner’s associations to have reserve funds for all items with deferred maintenance costs over $100,000 and restricts use of reserve funds to only the authorized expenditures.

Homeowners Association annual budget requirements now must match the requirements of condominium associations.

The new law would require that a vote authorizing an alteration or addition to a condominium must be held prior to beginning of the work.

Lastly, the bill amends requirements regarding removal of board members of cooperative associations who are 90 days or more delinquent on payments and restricting co-owners from serving on the board of directors to match those of Condominium associations.

 

ESTOPPEL CERTIFICATES

HB483/SB 398- EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2017

This bill when enacted into law will give precise instructions on delivery of, what information must be included in the estoppel certificate and the maximum amount that can be charged for preparation and delivery of estoppel certificates.

HB 483/SB 398 caps the fees that community association management companies can charge for estoppel certificates at $250 for unit owners who are current in their assessments. An additional $100 can be charged for “expedited” estoppel certificates (delivered within three business days), and another $150 can be charged for owners who are delinquent in their assessments. This is a maximum of $500 for an expedited, delinquent estoppel certificate. Fees charged for the estoppel certificates will be adjusted every five years based on the Consumer Price Index.

Attention CAMs and Board Members: Summary of Legislative Changes for 2017

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