Get 2 months of free community web site hosting from Community123.com!
Sunday, May 19, 2019
Get 2 months of free community web site hosting from Community123.com!
Only members have access to all features.
Click here to join HOATalk for Free! Members click here to login and access all features.
Subject: NEW Florida CONDO Reform Laws
Prev Next
Please login to post a reply (click Member Login on the menu).
Author Messages
GwenG
(Florida)

Posts:593


07/04/2017 8:54 AM  
FLORIDA: New CONDO Laws effective July 1, 2017. Cross-referencing CRIMINAL and CONDO Law, among other significant changes. Mirror bill expected next year for HOA's.

718.111 ---- CRIMINAL CONDUCT

Forgery of a ballot envelope or voting certificate used in a condominium association election is a felony, the theft or embezzlement of funds of a condominium association is punishable as provided in s. 812.014, and the destruction of or the refusal to allow inspection or copying of an official record of a condominium association that is accessible to unit owners within the time periods required by general law in furtherance of any crime is punishable as tampering with physical evidence as provided in s. 918.13 or as obstruction of justice as provided in chapter 843.


An officer or director charged by information or indictment with a crime referenced in this paragraph must be removed from office, and the vacancy shall be filled as provided in s. 718.112(2)(d)2. until the end of the officer's or director's period of suspension or the end of his or her term of office, whichever occurs first. If a criminal charge is pending against the officer or director, he or she may not be appointed or elected to a position as an officer or a director of any association and may not have access to the official records of any association, except pursuant to a court order. However, if the charges are resolved without a finding of guilt, the officer or director must be reinstated for the remainder of his or her term of office, if any.

718.111 --- THE ATTORNEY

An association may not hire an attorney who represents the management company of the association.

718.111 --- FORECLOSURE OF THE ASSOCIATION’S LIEN

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 by deed in lieu of foreclosure.

718.111 – RIGHT OF ACCESS TO RECORDS

A renter of a unit has a right to inspect and copy the association's bylaws and rules.

718.111 --- REQUIREMENT TO PLACE OFFICIAL RECORDS ON A WEBSITE

By July 1, 2018, an association with 150 or more units which does not manage timeshare units shall post digital copies of the documents specified in subparagraph 2. on its website.


The association's website must be: An independent website or web portal wholly owned and by the association; otherwise obtains the right to operate a web page, subpage, web portal, or collection of subpages or web portals dedicated to the association's activities and on which required notices, records, and documents may be posted by the association.


The association's website must be accessible through the Internet and must contain a subpage, web portal, or other protected electronic location that is inaccessible to the general public and accessible only to unit owners and employees of the association.


Upon a unit owner's written request, the association must provide the unit owner with a username and password and access to the protected sections of the association's website that contain any notices, records, or documents that must be electronically provided.


A current copy of the official records must be posted in digital format on the association's website: except for those records that must be kept confidential.


In addition: The notice of any unit owner meeting and the agenda for the annual meeting must be posted no later than 14 days before the meeting. The notice must be posted in plain view on the front page of the website, or on a separate subpage of the website labeled "Notices" which is conspicuously visible and linked from the front page. The association must also post on its website any document to be considered and voted on by the owners during the meeting or any document listed on the agenda at least 7 days before the meeting at which the document or the information within the document will be considered.


Notice of any board meeting, the agenda, and any other document required for the annual meeting must be posted no later than the date required for notice pursuant to s. 718.112(2)(c).


The association shall ensure that the information and records that are required to be kept confidential are not posted.

718.111 – FINANCIAL REPORTING

The following statutory provision has been removed for both condos and HOAs: An association that operates fewer than 50 units, regardless of the association's annual revenues, shall prepare a report of cash receipts and expenditures in lieu of financial statements required by paragraph (a).

718.117 – CONDO TERMINATION

If 5 10 percent or more of the total voting interests of the condominium reject a plan of termination, a subsequent plan of termination pursuant to this subsection may not be considered for 24 18 months after the date of the rejection.

718.707 BULK BUYERS – BULK ASSIGNEES

The statute no longer sunsets on July 1st, 2018.

718.71 FINANCIAL REPORTING

An association shall provide an annual report to the department containing the names of all of the financial institutions with which it maintains accounts, and a copy of such report may be obtained from the department upon written request of any association member.

718.111 DEBIT CARDS

An association and its officers, directors, employees, and agents may not use a debit card issued in the name of the association, or billed directly to the association, for the payment of any association expense.

Use of a debit card issued in the name of the association, or billed directly to the association, for any expense that is not a lawful obligation of the association may be prosecuted as credit card fraud pursuant to s. 817.61.

718.112 – TERM LIMITS

A board member may not serve more than four consecutive 2-year terms, unless approved by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the total voting interests of the association or unless there are not enough eligible candidates to fill the vacancies on the board at the time of the vacancy.

718.112 - RECALLS

Recalls --- are now effective immediately. NO DUE PROCESS PROVIDED. Although language has been left in the statute that still apparently allows the Board to file for recall arbitration. Very confusing and needs to be fixed next year.

718.112 - SERVICE PROVIDERS; CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

An association, which is not a timeshare condominium association, may not employ or contract with any service provider that is owned or operated by a board member or with any person who has a financial relationship with a board member or officer, or a relative within the third degree of consanguinity by blood or marriage of a board member or officer. This paragraph does not apply to a service provider in which a board member or officer, or a relative within the third degree of consanguinity by blood or marriage of a board member or officer, owns less than 1 percent of the equity shares.

718.1255 - ARBITRATION

The state may now employ private arbitrators to hear your cases. The arbitrator must conduct a hearing within thirty days and then enter an order within 30 days after the hearing.

718.111 – PURCHASE OF UNITS AT FORECLOSURE SALE

A party contracting to provide maintenance or management services to an association managing a residential condominium after transfer of control of the association, as provided in s. 718.301, which is not a timeshare condominium association, or an officer or board member of such party, may not purchase a unit at a foreclosure sale resulting from the association's foreclosure of association lien for unpaid assessments or take a deed in lieu of foreclosure. If 50 percent or more of the units in the condominium are owned by a party contracting to provide maintenance or management services to an association managing a residential condominium after transfer of control of the association, as provided in s. 718.301, which is not a timeshare condominium association, or by an officer or board member of such party, the contract with the party providing maintenance or management services may be cancelled by a majority vote of the unit owners other than the contracting party or an officer or board member of such party.


718.3027 CONFLICTS OF INTEREST



(1) Directors and officers of a board of an association that is not a timeshare condominium association, and the relatives of such directors and officers, must disclose to the board any activity that may reasonably be construed to be a conflict of interest. A rebuttable presumption of a conflict of interest exists if any of the following occurs without prior notice, as required in subsection (4):


(a) A director or an officer, or a relative of a director or an officer, enters into a contract for goods or services with the association.


(b) A director or an officer, or a relative of a director or an officer, holds an interest in a corporation, limited liability corporation, partnership, limited liability partnership, or other business entity that conducts business with the association or proposes to enter into a contract or other transaction with the association.


(2) If a director or an officer, or a relative of a director or an officer, proposes to engage in an activity that is a conflict of interest, as described in subsection (1), the proposed activity must be listed on, and all contracts and transactional documents related to the proposed activity must be attached to, the meeting agenda. If the board votes against the proposed activity, the director or officer, or the relative of the director or officer, must notify the board in writing of his or her intention not to pursue the proposed activity or to withdraw from office. If the board finds that an officer or a director has violated this subsection, the officer or director shall be deemed removed from office. The vacancy shall be filled according to general law.


(3) A director or an officer, or a relative of a director or an officer, who is a party to, or has an interest in, an activity that is a possible conflict of interest, as described in subsection (1), may attend the meeting at which the activity is considered by the board and is authorized to make a presentation to the board regarding the activity. After the presentation, the director or officer, or the relative of the director or officer, must leave the meeting during the discussion of, and the vote on, the activity. A director or an officer who is a party to, or has an interest in, the activity must recuse himself or herself from the vote.


(4) A contract entered into between a director or an officer, or a relative of a director or an officer, and the association, which is not a timeshare condominium association, that has not been properly disclosed as a conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest as required by s. 718.111(12)(g) is voidable and terminates upon the filing of a written notice terminating the contract with the board of directors which contains the consent of at least 20 percent of the voting interests of the association.


(5) As used in this section, the term "relative" means a relative within the third degree of consanguinity by blood or marriage.
GwenG
(Florida)

Posts:593


07/04/2017 9:26 AM  
Some of the above is a summary by an attorney blog and not the actual language. The language can be read in Florida HB1237 but will be incorporated into the statute in 3 weeks. The above post is a "heads up" to posters who follow statutory changes to states' laws.

Florida law is particularly prone to tatutory changes due to the prevalence of Condos and HOA's and its multi-faceted problems and abuses. The above law sprung from a Grand Jury Report which SCORCHED Florida condos and regulatory agencies.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16287


07/04/2017 9:57 AM  
"The association's website must be accessible through the Internet and must contain a subpage, web portal, or other protected electronic location that is inaccessible to the general public and accessible only to unit owners and employees of the association."

Why?

What is required to be in this protected area?

What if I want everything open on the website?


Not sure that the FL legislature really thought this stuff out.
GwenG
(Florida)

Posts:593


07/04/2017 10:10 AM  
@Tim-this is common of FL legislation. It gets rushed through or pushed through by people who don't really understand the fundamental flaws business model they are trying to fix! Add more laws--Rinse and Repeat! Fix it later (maybe) after people have sued somebody.

In my opinion, there is no need to password protect a website unless it is a members' personal account of payments; passwords suppress viewers who might otherwise visit and read their business records and be motivated to participate in their community. That is why there is an independent OPEN website for residents in my community where everyone can read everything. There is nothing that needs protection unless it falls under the current definition of a protected record; ie, privacy for employee matters and attorney work product/present litigation. The community open website has posted EVERYTHING for 5 years (including full text of lawsuit records and all financials) and the sky has not fallen!

The laundry list of items which MUST be posted is lengthy and detailed due to the propensity of associations searching for loopholes to avoid disclosure of business records.
PitA


Posts:0


07/04/2017 10:23 AM  
Posted By TimB4 on 07/04/2017 9:57 AM
"The association's website must be accessible through the Internet and must contain a subpage, web portal, or other protected electronic location that is inaccessible to the general public and accessible only to unit owners and employees of the association."

Why?

What is required to be in this protected area?

What if I want everything open on the website?


Not sure that the FL legislature really thought this stuff out.




? including financials to non members ?
GwenG
(Florida)

Posts:593


07/04/2017 11:50 AM  
Yes financials are posted monthly have have been for years. Delinquency accounts are not posted. Member accounts are not open to anyone but the individual. The sky really has not fallen! Really! (The BOD has bristled about this but apparently there is nothing they can do to prevent free speech.)

I bow to the WordMeister PITA on the different meanings of the words "take" and "condemn". However, in a functional sense, condemnation of a property under the circumstances discussed here ie the involuntary removal of sanitary sewer service would result in a public health issue and subsequent "taking" occupancy and use away from the owner. This functional seizure of service arising from a contract between HOA and government would result in multiple code violations. If unpaid, these violations would require governmental coercion in the form of the levy of fines and penalties--and possibly foreclosure. Thus, the HOA entered into a unilateral agreement with a municipality allowing IT to do the dirty work for the Association at public expense.

It is doubtful that most owners would be financially prepared to fight all the players in this; there is simply too much firepower to overcome. This is one reason why the OP said that collections were 100%. The owners have no means to effectively fight the edict of the HOA when its bullystick is the county government and threat of "condemnation and seizure".

So, I would offer that "condemn" is just a process verb that has the effect of a governmental "taking" of property without compensation.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:2892


07/04/2017 5:36 PM  
I've been on email blast about this for days already, receiving newsletters from people left and right.

The website requirement is only for condos with more than 150 units. Local sources of information say the legislator who originally sponsored the bill wanted the number to be 50 units. He claims he will push for that change next year AND for somthing similar to be enacted for homeowners associations as well. He also admitted (this was an interview on a radio program) that condo associations would probably need help getting this all set up and therefore it would also be a business opportunity for others. More things for property managers and/or attorneys to bill for.

I think it's a good start. I wish it covered FS 720 homeowners associations as well. I think the conflict of interest language is lacking. It doesn't address situations where directors, officers, agents, etc. will sometimes receive "favors" from contractors who are awarded jobs. This activity doesn't always rise to the level of kickbacks, which are already illegal, but it still goes on and these new provisions do not address it.

It's too bad they watered down the language making it a crime to willfully withhold official records from owners. They made it a crime ONLY when done in furtherance of some other crime. Yeah, great. A big part of the problem is owners can't find evidence of crimes without first having access to the records.

The sponsoring legislator said he came up with the bill (the first iteration of it anyway) in response to his own constituents complaints about their condo associations. He thought the problem was confined to Miami-Dade county and was flabbergasted when the rest of the state chimed in and said they, too, had the exact same problems. The bill was approved unanimously by both the house and state senate. There was no way gov. Scott was going to veto this. He did wait to sign it until the last minute, though. No sense giving people any time to get ready for the changes.
GwenG
(Florida)

Posts:593


07/04/2017 5:53 PM  
Senator Rene Garcia has PROMISED to write and submit a mirror bill for HOA's in the next legislative session 2018.

One the practical reasons for this is because CONDO owners are also subject to Master HOA's. The differing laws between these two very similar association types are problematic because they are so fundamentally different.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:2892


07/04/2017 7:30 PM  
There is a lot of crossover and similarity between the condo and HOA statutes. There are still a LOT of differences, though. I hope Mr. Garcia succeeds next year. It's an election year and you never know what everyone's agendas and priorities will be. There was a lot of publicity last year about the horrors of rogue condo boards and the need for condo reform legislation. Will the same energy and committment be there for HOA reform? I have my doubts.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16287


07/05/2017 5:48 AM  
Posted By GwenG on 07/04/2017 10:10 AM
@Tim-this is common of FL legislation. It gets rushed through or pushed through by people who don't really understand the fundamental flaws business model they are trying to fix! Add more laws--Rinse and Repeat! Fix it later (maybe) after people have sued somebody.




This is why I don't live in FL.

Unfortunately, I also think this occurs in many other States.

I agree that there needs to be some laws governing HOAs and Condos.

I disagree that there needs to be laws on everything about HOAs and Condos.

I disagree that there should be a national law on HOAs and Condos (too many variances across the Country).

I disagree that criminal charges could be levied for failure to provide records (who would serve when you could go to jail because personal life required more attention then the thankless volunteer job)

I think that the laws should make sense. They should not be laws passed just for the sake of saying they did something (one example is FL law requiring every Board member to take a class or sign a piece of paper saying they read the governing docs. As previously discussed, this (in my opinion) was simply a feel good law - the legislature good feel good that they did something).


CarlJ2
(Texas)

Posts:190


07/05/2017 6:07 AM  
There must be some way to hold the Board accountable for withholding records, though.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8267


07/05/2017 6:26 AM  
Posted By CarlJ2 on 07/05/2017 6:07 AM
There must be some way to hold the Board accountable for withholding records, though.




I believe all records should be available to any owner upon request. That said, there has to be some guidelines/controls on timing, what is reasonable, and how obtained.

Our present MC has everything automated and electronically stored. The records prior to that are in some cardboard file boxes. How does one fulfill a document request? Now we can do it rather quickly. You want prior documents. Well here are the boxes. Let me know when you are done.


SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2464


07/05/2017 7:30 AM  
One person’s comments:

I agree with Tim that the state shouldn’t mandate a HOA or condo to maintain a website – one would think people would realize that’s a matter of common sense to have one in order to save money on printing and postage. That said, all HOAs should make official records readily available whether someone has internet access or not (there are a few left, like my 92 year old mother).
John’s also correct that there should be some guidelines on what’s reasonable, timing and how the records are obtained. I see nothing wrong with charging reasonable printing fees if someone wants several years’ worth of documents that haven’t been stored electronically (and even that requires time and money to set up), request, prohibiting person A from getting information on person B’s account etc.

Theft or embezzlement of association funds or unauthorized/deliberate destruction of association records (unless outdated) should be crimes, but refusing to allow inspection or copying of association records should be a civil matter. Ditto for voting fraud in a condo election – slap the person or persons with a hefty financial penalty and perhaps a permanent ban from serving on the board might be more appropriate.

I don’t have a problem with renters getting a copy of the association’s bylaws and rules, but the owner/landlord should have been REQUIRED to provide information on the rules. Renters don’t need bylaws because they aren’t official association members.


Interesting that the state has to mandate HOA attorneys can’t represent the management company at the same time – didn’t anyone realize that’s a clear conflict of interest?

What is the point of requiring the association to tell the state who it banks with? Since the association is already required to provide official records to homeowners upon request, wouldn’t that also include bank statements?

Nice of Florida to provide arbitrators for HOA disputes, but will this mean the service is free? Probably not, so I hope the fees are affordable.

Of all these changes, the term limit statute may get some (many?) condos in trouble. The reason people serve year after year after year is usually because the HOMEOWNERS do not pay attention to what these folks are doing, let alone participate in the election or even attend the annual meeting to find out who they are. What happens if you don’t get the two-thirds vote or no one steps up at all to replace a board member? Instead of mandating term limits, maybe we should mandate that every homeowner serve at least one term as a board member, just like people are required to show up for jury duty when called. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see how people act when they have to make the difficult decisions and get cussed out for doing so?

It’ll be interesting to see how the state enforces the “board members or management company can’t purchase a unit foreclosed on by the association” – I would think one could get around that by setting up a LLC and then making a bid. It’s never happened in my community (at least, not when I was on the board), but one of the board members is a realtor and has sense enough to refrain from participating in any discussions or votes involving a unit he may be representing.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16287


07/05/2017 8:24 AM  
Posted By CarlJ2 on 07/05/2017 6:07 AM
There must be some way to hold the Board accountable for withholding records, though.




That is what civil courts are for.

However, I also think that the State or County should establish a court specifically for HOA/COA issues.
Even if it's one judge and associated staff. They could be funded by a filing fee from Associations along with court costs charged to defendants. Lawyers can be used but are not required to be used. This might speed up the process and free up the other courts from dealing with these issues. A side benefit would be that the judge would likely become more versed in HOA applicable statutes.

Tim
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8267


07/05/2017 9:06 AM  
Shelia raise an interesting point:

John’s also correct that there should be some guidelines on what’s reasonable, timing and how the records are obtained. I see nothing wrong with charging reasonable printing fees if someone wants several years’ worth of documents that haven’t been stored electronically (and even that requires time and money to set up), request, prohibiting person A from getting information on person B’s account etc.

An association must protect the confidentiality of ones records thus an association can not allow one to go rummaging through all records. They must be redacted which leads to the question of who does the redacting as in who gets paid to do it? Let us say a fair cost would be $120 per day for a person (say a MC employee) to redact the records. Well the NC also loses that person for the day so they need to replace them with a temporary who will cost say $150 per day. So now we have a minimum cost of $270 before the requester gets to see anything. These are real life business costs.
GwenG
(Florida)

Posts:593


07/05/2017 9:34 AM  
These are the kinds of unending conversations which rationalize the continued withholding of records from owners. There is always an excuse. Excuses and outright obstruction has fueled the never-ending amendments to the records statute that has the effect of discovering new and better ways to avoid the statutory requirement. It is the Number 1 complaint in Florida. And, as one owner stated "you can't uncover fraud and embezzlement if you can't get the records!". Withholding records permits bad actors to continue bad acting.

The excuse of a chilling effect on volunteers stepping up serve on the board is hogwash. Those who have no intention to engage in greedy and corrupt behavior will not worry about criminal penalties. They are indemnified for honest mistakes.

Requiring people to serve is not the answer; my community is made up of elderly retired and many are just not able to serve for health reasons. What would one do? Require a Doctor's excuse for owners unable or unwilling to serve?

The new condo statute voids all the excuses; Associations pay one time to post a digital record. They can avoid the expense by engaging a committee to do this housekeeping task. Anyone can then access and download/print records on their own dime. My community has an independent website that already does this and it has worked well for the past 5 years. ALL records and correspondence gets posted. The board and owners provide the content. There is no redacting. That is unnecessary with 99.9% of records and the new law makes an exception for records that have individual privacy protections.

One poster pointed out that the new laws would require an expensive regulatory and arbitration machine and this has already been provided for many years ago. Condo parcels are charged $4/yr/parcel and this Trust Fund is supposedly for the benefit of providing services to condo owners. Unfortunately, Florida has raided the Trust Fund and diverted these fees to General Revenue and deprived condo owners of their Trust Fund. This situation is going to be addressed in the next legislative session.

When HOA's are brought up to par with condos, it is assumed that they will also be paying a per parcel fee annually to a Trust Fund. I think it is great insurance at a modest cost and would rather see my assessments go up for that cost than for the usual Slush Fund increases proposed by MC! But, the Legislature has to control the State's access to the Fund; it is assessed for the exclusive benefit of association owners and should not be used to fund the general budget.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2464


07/05/2017 1:31 PM  
Just to be clear – I have no issues AT ALL with giving homeowners association documents. If the board and property manager are doing everything they’re supposed to, they have nothing to hide. Someone once said being in a HOA or condo is similar to going into a bar and asking a bunch of strangers to become business partners. If I’m going to be your business partner, I need to be able to trust you and one way of doing this is reviewing that should be complete and accurate, and you should be able to answer my questions.

That said, I think some people don’t have any idea how much information is accumulated over the years not to mention the number of trees who give up their lives to create all the paper on which this stuff will be placed and think someone can just snap their fingers and poof there you go. To expand a little on John’s point, let’s consider electronic record storage – a great idea and would save a lot of time posting it on a website, but it will also cost money and time to consider the following:

what will go into the association’s document retention and destruction policy – yes, you need one so somebody doesn’t toss something simply because it was dated five years ago and “doesn’t look important”. To get a handle on doing it and not running into legal trouble, somebody will need to sit down with the association master insurance carrier and association attorney for some guidance.

who will organize all the paperwork that will be kept permanently vs. the stuff you can toss within a year, five years, etc.? Or scan it into electronic records (you can hire companies to do this, but then you’ll need to haggle over the cost)

where will these electronic records be stored and how will those servers be backed up in case of disaster? The cloud’s nice, but with everyone hacking into everything these days, you may have to consider cybersecurity steps

if a homeowner comes in to look at the last five years of financial documents, will someone be on hand to watch him/her to prevent highlighting or writing on original documents? Or spilling coffee on them, thus ruining it? OR putting everything out of order?

when you finally destroy records, how will you do this to ensure homeowner privacy?

None of this is to say homeowners can’t or shouldn’t access association documents, but there should be some sort of process that’s reasonable and protects the integrity of the paperwork.

You say people shouldn’t be required to serve and I do agree with that, especially if your health doesn’t allow it. My concern is what happens if you don’t have anyone to step up after one or more board members have served four consecutive 2 year terms. That’s the trouble with term limits and HOAs – people don’t want to serve for six months, let alone two years, but if you happen to find someone who’s really good at it and he/she’s willing to stay on, let them. You already have to ability to limit their term by simply voting for the opposition (whoever that is).

PS – if the state raided the trust fund designed to provide service to condo owners, they should have yelled long and loud about that, and possibly voted out the governor and/or legislators who did the dirty work instead of having to wait until the next session. How’s that for term limits!?
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8267


07/05/2017 1:41 PM  
I have never believed in term limits. A dumb a$$ should be able to vote for any dumb a$$ they wish to vote for.
GwenG
(Florida)

Posts:593


07/05/2017 2:19 PM  
There are many For and Against positions that can be made for term limits.

In a corporate setting, I do favor term limits. The reality is that there is an inevitable accumulation of perceived power and influence when director terms are unlimited. Owners who might want to serve do not want to run against an incumbent. Corporate directors are providing voluntary assistance; they are not career politicians. Extended time in office does not necessarily translate to better performance and can have a cliquish, de-motivating effect on member participation in the condo community.

Term limits keep directors honest. They have no dog in the fight to retain office for other than unselfish reasons. Term limits favor the opportunity for new and fresh perspectives. Members who are motivated to serve their fellow neighbors is the goal--not the prospect of gaining perks of office for years without end.
JanetB2
(Colorado)

Posts:4168


07/05/2017 9:24 PM  
Posted By TimB4 on 07/05/2017 8:24 AM
Posted By CarlJ2 on 07/05/2017 6:07 AM
There must be some way to hold the Board accountable for withholding records, though.




That is what civil courts are for.

However, I also think that the State or County should establish a court specifically for HOA/COA issues.
Even if it's one judge and associated staff. They could be funded by a filing fee from Associations along with court costs charged to defendants. Lawyers can be used but are not required to be used. This might speed up the process and free up the other courts from dealing with these issues. A side benefit would be that the judge would likely become more versed in HOA applicable statutes.

Tim


I have to admit that I do like better laws for providing records!!! Sorry Tim ... You have too many HOA's withholding records (on stupid basic whims not following documents and State Laws) which affect the lives of those who live in the communities. Those same innocent families SHOULD NOT have to file EXPENSIVE LEGAL LITIGATION!!! Instead those violating documents and State Laws should be the entities held more accountable.
AllisonD
(Florida)

Posts:447


07/06/2017 5:26 AM  
"Theft or embezzlement of association funds or unauthorized/deliberate destruction of association records (unless outdated) should be crimes, but refusing to allow inspection or copying of association records should be a civil matter. Ditto for voting fraud in a condo election – slap the person or persons with a hefty financial penalty and perhaps a permanent ban from serving on the board might be more appropriate."

SheilaH- I think we would all agree that an association that is being run by a board member who is embezzling would not be forthcoming with documents that would implicate him or her. Rules have to have teeth. Making refusal of complying with the records inspection rule a civil penalty puts an undo burden on the law-abiding homeowner to prosecute civilly. A neighboring HOA in my town just experienced this; a board member had to request records that the embezzling president would not hand over and the board member found many disturbing things and the president suddenly resigned. I do not know if criminal charges will be filed against the president but if it was not for the management company refusing to follow the president's directives to not allow the records inspection it would not have happened. There are many HOA's that do not have management companies and they are at the mercy of unscrupulous board members. How did the embezzlement occur with a management company? The management company is only in their 2nd year contract with this HOA and only hired to do maintenance inspections and cut checks at the direction of the president, who was the only signor of checks. A terrible situation that was fixed because of 1 very brave board member willing to go against him.
JanetB2
(Colorado)

Posts:4168


07/06/2017 9:33 PM  
Posted By AllisonD on 07/06/2017 5:26 AM
"Theft or embezzlement of association funds or unauthorized/deliberate destruction of association records (unless outdated) should be crimes, but refusing to allow inspection or copying of association records should be a civil matter. Ditto for voting fraud in a condo election – slap the person or persons with a hefty financial penalty and perhaps a permanent ban from serving on the board might be more appropriate."


Please explain why any homeowner, especially a new owner who recently purchased a new home should have to fight in expensive Civil Court for their rights to association records??? If an HOA is running above board with nothing to hide this should not be an issue. There is no reason that an HOA should not provide records in a timely manner ... and I agree to some extent they have a right to charge for time and expense to provide "past" records where time and research needed. However, we have too many owners asking for simple updated items which in my opinion should be available in today's age and time with technology on a website. Yet many of these stupid items are taking up time and "tax dollars" to pay Judges in stupid Civil Court actions ... which should not have been a Court matter in the first place. It is boiling down to the point that Rogue HOA's and Rogue BOD members who do not follow their current Documents and State Laws are are unfortunately forcing more laws to be forced down other HOA owner's throats. Do I personally like more laws forced down my throat ... NO. However, should I have to pay an Attorney and Court Costs to obtain what the LAW states I am entitled to ... NO. Because I should not have to pay those costs ... should anyone VIOLATING my rights be held accountable ... YES.
GwenG
(Florida)

Posts:593


07/07/2017 10:45 AM  
JanetB2 is exactly right. Reform laws are constantly being enacted in FL to do competing things simultaneously: protect rights of association homeowners and protect the special interests who benefit financially from associations due to the absence of accountability and enforcement.

Much abuse by associations is ignored behind the curtain of "civil matter". Criminal acts are shrugged off by the police as "civil matters".

People living in associations should not be less protected because they live in an association. In many instances in Florida, owners in retirement communities are MORE vulnerable to a system that avoids enforcing due to the shields of "private contracts" and "civil matter".

In the real world, citizens have rights to public information and records. In my county, everything is now electronic and posted online. It costs the county nothing and citizens don't have to jump through hoops to get their business records.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:2892


07/07/2017 6:17 PM  
Posted By GwenG on 07/07/2017 10:45 AM
In my county, everything is now electronic and posted online. It costs the county nothing and citizens don't have to jump through hoops to get their business records.

In an HOA, however, it doesn't cost nothing. Someone has to have a scanner and the time to scan and upload. It costs something to maintain a place to upload to. You also have to take into account not everyone has a computer or mobile device. Out of 100 homes here, we have 30 who don't even have an email address. If they want access to the records it's not enough to tell them to go look at the web site.
GwenG
(Florida)

Posts:593


07/07/2017 7:34 PM  
Of course the soft cost of indexing records is borne by taxpayer but the cost is only incurred one time and is a huge benefit. Most records are created digitally and easily uploaded without the need to scan. In my county all records must be digitized so you are at some disadvantage if you dont get with computers. Next year it will be law for larger associations ie over 150 parcels to post all records on a website. Not rocket science and way cheaper than paper. Will save Assn time and headaches.


HectorR
(Florida)

Posts:34


04/17/2019 4:25 PM  
Great stuff..how and where can I find out if and when this will be implemented to HOA in Florida?
BobB31
(Florida)

Posts:67


04/17/2019 5:20 PM  
Posted By HectorR on 04/17/2019 4:25 PM
Great stuff..how and where can I find out if and when this will be implemented to HOA in Florida?



I just found this: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bills?sessionYear=2019&citation=720&citationType=FL+Statutes

Bill 1362 has the most extensive amendments to FS 720.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:2892


04/19/2019 7:06 PM  
Posted By BobB31 on 04/17/2019 5:20 PM
Posted By HectorR on 04/17/2019 4:25 PM
Great stuff..how and where can I find out if and when this will be implemented to HOA in Florida?



I just found this: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bills?sessionYear=2019&citation=720&citationType=FL+Statutes

Bill 1362 has the most extensive amendments to FS 720.



There's a lot in SB 1362 that pertains to FS 718 Condo Associations but there's not a whole lot about FS 720 Homeowners Associations. As usual, Florida HOAs are the red-headed stepchildren. The only significant change for HOAs is that pre-suit mediations no longer require that a mediator be licensed by the Florida Supreme Court. There's nothing of any substance that will help the average homeowner in an HOA.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:2892


05/04/2019 2:54 PM  
For anyone interested this Florida Senate page shows that as the 2019 legislative session comes to a close, all "reform" bills have been withdrawn from consideration. They all failed. The legislature in this state sucks (I'm sure that's not limited to the state of FL).
Please login to post a reply (click Member Login on the menu).
Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > NEW Florida CONDO Reform Laws



Get 2 months of free community web site hosting from Community123.com!



News Articles Provided by: Community Associations Network
News, articles and blogs about condos/HOA's

Only members have access to all features.
Click here to join HOATalk for Free! Members click here to login and access all features.







General Legal Notice:  The content of forum messages are from the posting member and have not been reviewed nor endorsed by HOATalk.com.  Messages posted by HOATalk or other members are for informational purposes only, are not legal or professional advice and do not constitute an attorney-client relationship.  Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.  HOATalk is not a licensed attorney, CPA, tax advisor, financial advisor or any other licensed professional.  HOATalk accepts ads from sponsors but does not verify sponsor qualifications nor endorse/guarantee any sponsor's product or service.
HindmanSanchez Legal Notice:  (For messages posted by HindmanSanchez) This message has been prepared by HindmanSanchez for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Members of HOATalk.com should not act on this information without seeking professional counsel. Please do not send us confidential information unless you speak with one of our attorneys and get authorization to send that information to us. If you wish to initiate possible representation, please contact an attorney in our firm. Our attorneys are licensed to practice law in the state of Colorado only.

Legal Notice For Messages Posted by Sponsoring Attorneys: This message has been prepared by the sponsoring attorney for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Readers of HOATalk.com should not act on this information without seeking professional counsel. Please do not send any sponsoring attorney confidential information unless you speak with the sponsoring attorney or an attorney from the sponsoring attorney’s firm and get authorization to send that information to them. If you wish to initiate possible representation, please contact an attorney in the firm of the sponsoring attorney. Sponsoring attorneys that post messages here are licensed to practice law in a specific state or states as indicated in their message signature or sponsor’s profile page. (NOTE: A ‘sponsoring attorney’ is an attorney that is a HOATalk.com official sponsor and is identified as such in the posted message or on our sponsor page.)

Copyright HOA Talk.com, A Service of Community123 LLC ( Homeowners Association Discussions )   Terms Of Use  Privacy Statement