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Recently Passed Legislative Amendments Effecting Both Condominium Associations and Homeowners’ Associations – Hot Off the Presses – Post 1 of 3

June 18th, 2014

Posted in Condominium & Homeowner Association Law,Real Estate Law

Our Firm previously posted two entries highlighting bills of interest during the Spring 2014 Legislative Session to our interested Condominium Association (COA) and Homeowner Association (HOA) readers.  The legislative session recently ended and, as of June 13, 2014, Governor Scott has signed some of the previously highlighted bills into law.  Below is a summary of House Bill 807, which contains a number of changes to the laws governing HOAs and COAs.  These laws become effective on July 1, 2014, and in this regard, interested readers should carefully consider the soon-to-be effective changes and discuss the same with their community association manager and legal counsel to determine the respective impact of each change going forward.

House Bill 807.

HOAs:

  • Specifies that the statutory notice required of a homeowners’ association to renew its covenants and restrictions for an additional 30 years (pursuant to Florida’s Marketable Record Titles Act) is sufficient, and that the Association is not required to provide additional notice pursuant to Section 712.06(3) of the Florida Statutes (which requires the recorded notice be either published or sent via certified mail by the Clerk to each owner)
  • Amends homeowners’ association emergency powers to parallel those of a condominium
  • Provides that meetings of the board and membership must be held at a location accessible to a physically handicapped person if requested by a physically handicapped person who has a right to attend the meeting
  • Broadens the information a homeowners’ association may include in a member directory, specifically providing that all telephone numbers of an owner may be included in a directory unless an owner requests in writing that such numbers be removed
  • Modifies Section 720.306(b) of the Florida Statutes by providing that if an amendment to the governing documents is approved, notice may be provided of the approval and that a copy may be provided upon written request.  This is only applicable if the proposed amendment provided to the membership in advance of the meeting was not altered after the initial mailing before the vote

COAs:

  • Amends Section 718.116(1)(a) to provide that, for collection purposes, a “previous owner” does not include an association that acquires title to a delinquent property through foreclosure or by deed in lieu of foreclosure
    • This addresses a previous issue with associations foreclosing on liens and being unable to demand payment of amounts from a subsequent owner taking title through foreclosure of the superior first mortgage, under an argument by the new purchaser that it is liable with the association as the “previous owner”, and thus not responsible for pre-foreclosure amounts
  • Provides that a condominium association may access an abandoned unit for purposes of unit preservation, and may charge the unit owner for all expenses incurred in preserving the unit
  • A condominium association may seek appointment of a receiver to lease a unit to offset costs of maintenance, even if the Association has not taken title to the unit
  • Broadens the information a condominium association may include in a member directory, specifically providing that all telephone numbers of an owner may be included unless an owner requests in writing that such numbers be removed
  • Requires outgoing board members of a condominium or cooperative to relinquish possession of association records and property to their successors in office, and authorizes the state to enforce compliance
  • Provides that a board or committee member’s participation in a meeting via telephone, real-time videoconferencing, or similar real-time electronic or video communication counts toward a quorum, and such member may vote as if physically present
  • Specifies that board members may use email as a means of communication but may not cast a vote on an association matter via email
  • Extends the bulk assignee and bulk buyer provisions by one year to July 1, 2016
  • Amends cooperative law to match condominium law on financial oversight, the prohibition on officer-holding if delinquent or charged with theft of association funds, and emergency powers
  • Simplifies the notice requirements regarding amendments to the restrictive covenants of a homeowners’ association

The above represents a summary of the changes brought about through House Bill 807 in the 2014 Spring Legislative Session.  As stated, HOA and COA directors, officers, and their respective community association managers should carefully review the enacted changes and discuss with legal counsel the impact of these changes.  Notably, the changes to the collection sections of the respective community association statutes should be carefully analyzed to ensure that modifications are made to collection letters sent by the Association through management or its attorney.

Please check back as our Firm will be posting two additional posts in this legislative update series as to other bills passed by the legislature affecting HOAs and COAs.

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