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Subject:  BAD BILL PROPOSED FOR CONDOS
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DonnaS
(Tennessee)

Posts:5671


02/22/2008 7:19 AM  
Florida Condo Members, Below is the 2008 proposed bill for condo changes. CALL is a very pro active Board member lobby. The bottom part contains some of what they feel is good with the top part being bad for Boards.

CALL Alert for February 22, 2008- HB 995

CALL recommends its members contact their legislators to voice opposition to the current version of HB 995.

The detrimental provisions of HB 995 are highlighted below:

"Criminal Sanctions" for board members and managers who "knowingly or intentionally deface, destroy, or fail to create or maintain accounting records." CALL believes the current civil penalties and fines contained in the Condominium Act are sufficient to deter an association from restricting a members access to the official records. Imposing criminal penalties for official record inspection violations will result in a substantial chilling affect for members who are considering a term on the Board. Many community associations are already faced with a severe shortage of members who are willing to volunteer their time by serving on the Board. Imposing criminal penalties for official record inspection violations will only serve to substantially reduce this shortage. Also, as worded, the proposed language does not make a distinction between intentional destruction of records as opposed to merely failing to maintain the official records. Imposing criminal penalties for failure to maintain and create official records, where there is no criminal intent, is excessive.


Restricts a condominium association from waiving or reducing its financial reporting requirements for more than two consecutive years. This legislation will restrict freedom of choice for condominium associations and their members in determining what type of financial reporting requirement is appropriate for their association. Currently, the financial reporting decision is ultimately made by the members, not the Board. Adopting this legislation will deprive the members and not the Board of this right to make this decision and will increase expenses.


Requires building inspections every five years, without an opt-out provision, for the purpose of determining whether condominium buildings are "structurally and electrically safe." We agree that periodic condominium building inspections will assist an association in avoiding costly future repairs, which if deferred to later years could result in costly assessments. However, this provision will result in increased operating expenses for associations that are already overburdened with soaring insurance premiums, property taxes, rising fuel costs, record foreclosures and other expenses. The amendment is also unclear on the certification requirements and it is unknown whether reputable engineers and architects would even issue such a certification.

It should be noted that there are several favorable provisions contained within HB 995 (e.g. allowing agenda items to be addressed at Board meetings upon the request of 20% of the members, prohibiting access to unit owners' social security numbers, etc.). However, the detrimental provisions outweigh the favorable provisions and this bill, as currently worded, will make it more difficult and expensive to operate condominium associations. As such, CALL is opposed to HB 995 and recommends our members contact their legislators to voice opposition to this version of the bill.
GeraldT4


Posts:1022


02/22/2008 8:08 AM  
Hi DonnaS - Not sure of your opinion to CALL's spin and characterization of HB 995. Your subject line states BAD BILL.... Here's my cursory analysis of what you have posted, no other research.

RE: "Criminal Sanctions" Bravo!! As written it clearly states "board members and managers who "knowingly or intentionally deface, destroy, or fail to create or maintain accounting records."" I guess CALL can't read or wishes to mislead it's sympathizers. As worded, and sighted above, the proposed language absolutely does make a distinction between intentional destruction of records as opposed to merely failing to maintain the official records. It's both: Knowingly or intentionally defacing, and failure to create. Booo hoo if an association Board can't comply.

RE: "Financial Reporting" Doesn't the association Board have to provide financial reporting every year? Seems to me HB 995 recognizes the need to stagger and provides a 2 year consecutive limitation, or restriction. Isn't that in the best interests of everyone?

RE: "Building Inspections" Increased operating expenses may result by a requirement for building inspection every five years. However, the requirement is not unrealistic given that reserve analysis updates should be done every 2 - 3 years and need to factor current conditions of the buildings.

RE: "Favorable Provisions" You've got to be kidding me. I see a requirement of 20% to request an opportunity to address an agenda item as a restriction upon owners, not something favorable. I thought the owners in Florida were allowed a short period of time to speak/be heard on agenda items and at an open meeting? Unless I'm missing something entirely CALL is out of line with many of it's assessments.

DonnaS
(Tennessee)

Posts:5671


02/22/2008 8:27 AM  

Gerald,
This is a Bill proposed by Joe Robinia from Miami. I tend to agree with Criminal Sanctions section.

Financial reporting is required every year as of now. The Bill would reduce it to every other year. Is this a good thing? IMO, small associations are not the problem but these huge 2 and 3 thousand member places need to be held very accountable.

Building Inspections, I do not believe they are required now and I feel that they should be.

Favorable provisions. HOAs members are to speak and request agenda items be added. For some reasons, condos did not have this provision worded.

Yes, the Bills purpose is to give the condo owners much more control of their association. Is this a good thing? YOU BETCHA
HaroldS
(Arizona)

Posts:906


02/22/2008 9:54 AM  
Donna - I agree with Gerald completely. If boards were not violating these provisions, there would be no need for this bill. Why would this bill frighten or deter an honest person from running for the board? It is not just the board member's money they are handling. Members have a right to know where their money is going.
Actually, most state HOA statutes have no teeth for enforcement, so the only costly remedy members have is to take it to Superior Court. Some boards act with the expectation that no member will have the funds or determination to do so. It is refreshing to see a state begin to add actual enforcement to their HOA statutes.
I wondered too, in your subject you labeled it a "Bad Bill," but in your reply to Gerald, you seem to be in approval of it. I'm confused where you stand. Harold
GeraldT4


Posts:1022


02/22/2008 10:20 AM  
Hi HaroldS - I can't speak for DonnaS but...I know from her posts she is in favor of owner rights, due process, and is very level headed. Just because there are more restrictions doesn't necessarily translate into more complaints per say. Seems to me that this bill favors owners on the one hand but favors a little bit of poor governing on the other, that is with the restriction on needing 20% to address an agenda item or some such nonsense!! : )
DonnaS
(Tennessee)

Posts:5671


02/22/2008 10:23 AM  

HArold,
I did not label it" BAD" That is how it came from the committee who forwarded it out. I agree with many of the items. Unfortunately, I do not know the Condo Statutes insideout like I do the HOA's. So I see some room for improvement in the condo Statutes whenever I go to do research for some of our Florida posters. As always, there is room for improvement in the laws. Donna
AnnJ1
(Florida)

Posts:122


02/22/2008 10:35 AM  
Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Donna.
I just finished reading the proposed bill and frankly, I am in agreement with it's proposed language. I am also happy to see some ambiguous language removed &/or clarified.

I cannot see cause for alarm and wonder why CALL has taken their stance. The changes should bring about better accountability in most instances and I, for one, applaud the bill's author.

Ann
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