Provided below is a broad summary of the bills from Florida’s 2011 legislative session that are pertinent to Condominiums and Homeowners Associations. The respective bills and their focus are:  

  • HB 1195 – Known as the “Glitch Bill,” it corrects and expands upon changes from the 2010 legislative session, in particular SB 1196;  
  • HB 59 – Addressing service of process issues relating particularly to access to communities for service;  
  • HB 849 – Concerning certain provisions relating to elevators; and  
  • SB 408 – Concerning certain provisions relating to insurance.  

HB 1195 – Effective July 1, 2011

CONDOMINIUMS

OFFICIAL RECORDS – Sec. 718.111, F.S.

  • Adds facsimile numbers to the list of owner information which is not accessible to the unit owners under the Official Records.  
  • Expands the scope of the exemptions for records protected by attorney-client privilege to include all “proceedings” – not simply imminent adversarial proceedings.  
  • Clarifies the fact that, although personnel records are not available for inspection, such personnel records do not include written employment agreements with an association employee or management company, or budgetary or financial records that indicate the compensation paid to an association employee.  
  • Clarifies the fact that unit owners can consent in writing to the disclosure of protected information contained in the Official Records.  

BOARD MEETINGS – Sec. 718.112, F.S.

  • Provides that board meetings held for the purpose of discussing personnel matters may be closed to the general membership.  

ELECTION OF DIRECTORS – Sec. 718.112, F.S.

  • Clarifies that, if the number of board members whose terms expire at the annual meeting equals or exceeds the number of candidates, the candidates become members of the board effective upon the adjournment of the annual meeting, and, unless the bylaws provide otherwise, the remaining vacancies shall be filled by the affirmative vote of the majority of the directors making up the newly constituted board, even if the directors constitute less than a quorum or there is only one director.
  • Requires that candidates be eligible to serve on the board at the time of the deadline for submitting a notice of intent in order to be listed as a proper candidate on the election ballot or to serve on the board.

BOARD CERTIFICATION – Sec. 718.112, F.S.

  • Retains language that a new director must certify in writing that he has read the condominium documents, will work to uphold such documents and faithfully discharge his fiduciary responsibility within 90 days after being elected or appointed.
  • In the alternative, provides that a newly elected director can submit a certification of having satisfactorily completed a course through a division-approved condominium education provider up to one year before or 90 days following election or appointment.  
  • Provides that the written certification or course certification is valid and does not have to be resubmitted as long as the director serves on the board without interruption.  

IMPACT GLASS – Sec. 718.113, F.S.

  • Allows the Board, subject to the approval of a majority of the voting interests of the Condominium, to install impact glass or other code-compliant windows within the Condominium. Such approval of the membership is not necessary if the Association is responsible for the installation of such impact glass or other code-compliant windows per the Declaration of Condominium.  

ASSOCIATION ASSESSMENT LIABILITY – Sec. 718.116, F.S.

  • Provides that a Condominium Association that takes title to a unit through foreclosure of its own lien for assessments is not liable for unpaid assessments, late fees, interest or reasonable attorney’s fees that come due before the Association acquires title in favor of any other association which holds a superior lien interest on the unit.  

COLLECTION OF RENT – Sec. 718.116, F.S.

  • Updates existing law to clarify that the tenant must make subsequent rental payments to the association until all monetary obligations of the unit owner related to a particular unit have been paid in full to the association.  
  • Updates existing law to require the use of a form demand letter when demanding rent from tenants of delinquent unit owners.  

TERMINATION OF CONDOMINIUM – Sec. 718.117, F.S.

  • Allows for “partial” termination of condominiums, and provides that amendments allowing the partial termination are not subject to s. 718.110(4) provided that the ownership share of the common elements of a surviving unit remains in the same proportion to the surviving units as it was before the partial termination.  
  • Requires the termination plan for a partial termination to identify the units that survive the partial termination.  
  • Permits termination as a result of economic waste or impossibility where the improvements have been totally destroyed or demolished.  

SUSPENSION – Sec. 718.303, F.S.

  • Allows for the suspension of use of the common elements for both the delinquency in the payment of any monetary obligation due the Association for a period of 90 days and for the failure to comply with the provisions of the Declaration.  
  • Prohibits a fine or non-monetary suspension from being imposed unless the Association first provides at least 14 days’ written notice and opportunity for hearing for the unit owner. If so requested, the hearing must take place before a committee of other unit owners who are neither board members nor persons residing in a board member’s household. Suspensions for failure to pay the Association are not subject to the 14-day notice period, and can be imposed by the Board at a Board meeting.  
  • Provides that suspended voting rights will not count towards the total number of voting interests necessary to constitute a quorum, conduct an election or approve an action of the Association.  

HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATIONS

BOARD MEETINGS – Sec. 720.303, F.S.

  • Provides that Board meetings held for the purpose of discussing personnel matters may be closed to the general membership.  
  • Expands a member’s right to attend Board Meetings to include the right to speak at such meetings with reference to all designated items.

OFFICIAL RECORDS – Sec. 720.303, F.S.

  • Adds facsimile numbers to the list of an owner’s personal information which is not accessible to the unit owners.  
  • Expands the scope of the exemptions for records protected by attorney-client privilege to include all “proceedings” – not simply imminent adversarial proceedings.  
  • Clarifies the fact that, although personnel records of the association or its management company are not available for inspection, written employment agreements with an association employee or management company, or budgetary or financial records that indicate the compensation paid to an association employee are available for inspection.  
  • Clarifies the fact that unit owners can consent in writing to the disclosure of protected information contained in the Official Records.  

SUSPENSION – Sec. 720.305, F.S.

  • Permits the Association to levy reasonable fines of up to $100 per violation against any member or any member’s tenant, guest or invitee for failure of the owner of the parcel or its occupant, licensee or invitee to comply with any provision of the Association’s Declaration, Bylaws or reasonable rule of the Association.  
  • Allows for the suspension of use of the common elements for both the delinquency in the payment of any monetary obligation due the Association for a period of 90 days and for the failure to comply with the provisions of the Declaration.  
  • Prohibits a fine or non-monetary suspension from being imposed unless the Association first provides at least 14 days’ written notice and opportunity for hearing for the unit owner. If so requested, the hearing must take place before a committee of other unit owners who are neither board members nor persons residing in a board member’s household. Suspensions for failure to pay the Association are not subject to the 14-day notice period, and can be imposed by the Board at a Board meeting.  
  • Permits the Association to suspend the voting rights of a delinquent owner who is more than 90 days delinquent in payment to the Association. Provides that suspended voting rights will not count towards the total number of voting interests necessary to constitute a quorum, conduct an election or approve an action of the Association.  

ELECTION OF DIRECTORS – Sec. 720.306, F.S.

  • Provides that a person who is more than 90 days delinquent in the payment of any fee, fine or other monetary obligation to the Association is not eligible to serve on the board.  
  • Provides that a person who has been convicted of a felony is not eligible for board membership unless such felon’s civil rights have been restored for at least five years as of the date on which such person seeks election to the board.  

ASSOCIATION ASSESSMENT LIABILITY – Sec. 720.3085, F.S.

  • Clarifies existing law providing that a Homeowner’s Association that takes title to a unit through foreclosure of its own lien for assessments is not liable for unpaid assessments, late fees, interest or reasonable attorney’s fees that come due before the Association acquires title in favor of any other association which holds a superior lien interest on the unit.

COLLECTION OF RENT – Sec. 720.3085, F.S.

  • Updates existing law to clarify that the tenant must make subsequent rental payments to the association until all monetary obligations of the unit owner related to a particular unit have been paid in full to the association.  
  • Updates existing law to require the use of a form demand letter when demanding rent from tenants of delinquent unit owners.  

BULK COMMUNICATION – Sec. 720.309(2), F.S.

  • Provides that the updates will be identical to those provided for in the condominium statutes regarding bulk purchase of television, information or internet services.  
  • Provides that, notwithstanding the Association’s bulk contract, individual members shall not be prohibited from contracting with individual licensed providers so long as the resident pays the provider directly.

GENERAL STATUTES AFFECTING COMMUNITY ASSOCIATIONS

MANUAL FIRE ALARMS – Sec. 633.0215, F.S.

  • Clarifies that a condominium, cooperative or multi-family residential building less than four stories in height with an exterior corridor providing a means of egress is exempt from installing a manual fire alarm system. This provision corrects a previous inconsistency in the statute referring in one part to buildings less than four stories in height and in another part to condominiums one or two stories in height. HB 59  

SERVICE OF PROCESS – Sec. 30.231, F.S.

  • Modifies the statute to provide that a gated residential community, including a condominium association or a cooperative, shall grant unannounced entry into the community, including its common areas and common elements, to a person who is attempting to serve process on a defendant or witness who resides within or is known to be within the community. HB 849  

ELEVATORS – Sec. 553.509, F.S.

  • Eliminates the requirement that multi-family dwellings such as condominiums that are at least 75 feet high and contain a public elevator have at least one elevator that can be powered by an alternate power source. SB 408  

STATUTE OF LIMITATION ON INSURANCE – Sec. 95.11, F.S.

  • Clarifies the Statute of Limitations to require that an action for breach of a property insurance contract be brought within five years of the date of the loss. All hurricane claims must be filed within three years after the hurricane first makes landfall or the windstorm causes covered damage.  

The actual text of the legislation can be found at www.myfloridahouse.gov/ and www.flsenate.gov/.