Spring 2016 – Legislative Update for Florida Condominium and Homeowner Associations

February 10th, 2016

Posted in Business & Corporate Law

The Florida legislature is in the middle of the Spring 2016 legislative session and there are a number of bills proposed that will be of interest to condominium and HOAs in Florida. As a reminder, none of these bills have yet been passed into law and most if not all will be modified in some fashion even if they are ultimately approved.

HB 203
Referred to as the “estoppel bill”, this attempts to revise requirements relating to the issuance of estoppel certificates. As of this post, this bill would require that estoppels be provided within ten (10) business days after receiving a written or electronic request from an owner or mortgagee, with such payoff provided required to be valid for a 30-day period. A maximum fee of $200.00 may be charged if no delinquent amounts are owed to the association, and if delinquent amounts are owed an additional $200.00 may be charged. An additional fee of $100.00 may be charged whether there exists a delinquency or not if requested on an expedited basis and delivered within three (3) business days after the request. If the estoppel certificate is requested in conjunction with the sale or refinancing of a unit or lot, the fee for the certificate shall be paid from the closing or settlement proceeds. If the closing does not occur, the fee for the certificate is the obligation of the owner and the association may collect the fee in the same manner as an assessment against the property.

HB 653
Purports to rename the Division of Condominium, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes to the Division of Condominiums, Homeowners’ Associations, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes (“Division”). The Division would then have substantially increased regulatory oversight and governance over HOAs in Florida. The Division would have specific authority to enforce compliance with Chapter 720 of the Florida Statutes (“HOA Act”) and adopt rules relating to HOAs, as well as investigate complaints and otherwise impose penalties for violations. HOAs would be required to pay an annual fee to the Division to provide for regulation.

HB 667
This bill seeks to combine Chapters 718, 719 and 720 governing condominiums, cooperatives and homeowners associations, respectively, into a single statute governing all three entities and would rename the Division to the “Division of Common Interest Communities.”

HB 1357
This bill seeks to require specific documents to be provided on a condominium association or HOA website. The bill further seeks to revise duties of outgoing and recalled board or committee members and provides director and officer conflict-of-interest requirements. Board membership requirements are modified as well as election requirements. The bill seeks to prohibit associations from enforcing traffic laws.

HB 1405
This bill revises records required to be maintained by condominium and HOAs, and specifically requires that digital copies of certain records be kept on a website by an association with 500 or more units (condominium) or 7,500 or more parcels (HOA). Places requirements on content and how a website may be accessed.

HB 7031
This bill seeks to exempt certain mandatory property owners’ association covenants from extinguishment by the Marketable Record Titles Act (“MRTA”). The bill authorizes mandatory property owners associations to file notices to preserve covenants and restrictions if restrictions would otherwise expire because of language in covenants.
As the Spring 2016 Legislative Session progresses we will provide updates and further analysis of legislation likely to pass and how it may affect your community association. As always, a board of directors or manager should contact legal counsel to determine how newly passed legislation will affect your specific community.

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