Generally speaking, condominium associations have the legal obligation to maintain insurance on all of the condominium improvements, with some exceptions. Chapter 718 of the Florida Statutes (the “Condominium Act”), expressly excludes the following from an association’s insurance responsibility:
[A]ll personal property within the unit or limited common elements, and floor, wall, and ceiling coverings, electrical fixtures, appliances, water heaters, water filters, built-in cabinets and countertops, and window treatments, including curtains, drapes, blinds, hardware, and similar window treatment components, or replacements of any of the foregoing which are located within the boundaries of the unit and serve only such unit. Such property and any insurance thereupon is the responsibility of the unit owner.
§ 718.111(11)(f)(3), Fla. Stat. (emphasis added). While making the components listed above the responsibility of the unit owner to insure, this does not expressly obligate unit owners to carry insurance.
In 2009, there was an explicit provision in the Condominium Act that required unit owners to carry insurance, but that provision was amended out of the Condominium Act in 2010. According to the legislative history behind the 2010 amendment of section 718.111(11), Florida Statutes, the legislature amended the statute to, among other things, repeal the requirement that condominium unit owners must maintain property insurance and a provision that previously allowed a condominium association to purchase property insurance at the expense of the owner when the unit owner does not provide proof of insurance.
Notwithstanding the clear legislative intent behind the 2010 amendment, various portions of section 718.111(11), Florida Statutes, were not amended and still suggest that owners are required to maintain some form of insurance. For example, the Condominium Act states that “[u]nit owners are responsible for the cost of reconstruction of any portions of the condominium property for which the unit owner is required to carry property insurance[.]” § 718.111(11)(g)(2) (emphasis added). The Condominium Act makes another reference to the requirement of insurance by unit owners when it states that the financial responsibility of a unit owner for the costs of repairing or replacing portions of the condominium property apply to real or personal property “which the unit owners are required to insure.” § 718.111(11)(j)(2) (emphasis added). Furthermore, the Condominium Act provides that “[a] condominium unit owner policy must conform to the requirements of s. 627.714[,]” which requires every condominium unit owner policy issued in Florida to include loss assessment coverage of no less than $2,000 per occurrence. § 718.111(11)(g). While this language could be interpreted to suggest that unit owners are required to insure their units, given the ambiguity in the statute, and the lack of case law and administrative decisions interpreting the current version of the statute, associations should rely on the legislative intent in amending the statute in 2010: to repeal the requirement that condominium unit owners must maintain property insurance.
If Associations want to require unit owners to obtain insurance, they should make sure the requirement for owners to insure their units is clearly set forth in their governing documents.
Moreover, the Condominium Act does not expressly require unit owners to submit proof of insurance to an association. Based on the legislative history behind the 2010 amendment of section 718.111(11), Florida Statutes, when the amendment repealed the requirement that unit owners must maintain property insurance, it also repealed the requirement that a unit owner must provide proof of insurance to an association. Nonetheless, if an association’s governing documents require unit owners to insure their units, they may also require unit owners to submit proof of insurance.