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Subject: Florida 720 statue - contracts
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Author Messages
RobertT10
(Florida)

Posts:2


05/13/2016 10:40 AM  
We are a development with over 2100 homes comprised of 15 neighborhoods. Each neighborhood has a board and there is Master Board for the entire community.
We are about to enter a contract with a cable provider with a term of 10 years. My question is, do the local neighborhood boards have the authority to sign a multi - year contract. The Master Board recently made a decision not renew the contract with our current cable provider and left it up to the 15 boards to decide what to do with providing cable services to their residents. It is not in our covenants that the board has to provide these services. All other contract we have with vendors are one year deals.

AllisonD
(Florida)

Posts:447


05/13/2016 7:07 PM  
The master board should have its own set of governing documents as well as the sub associations. Since you have a current contract I suspect either the subs or the master documents says something about the cable contract. Check the documents. That being said, 10 years is way too long. I am currently in year 4 of a 10 year contract and everyone is looking for any loophole to get out of it. Technology changes a lot in 10 years.

As a year round resident, I think its a fairly good deal, I could not get the same deal on my own. But the snowbirds know they can turn off their cable for 6 months when they are up north but with the contract, they cannot do that and they still must pay for a service they are not using. I have gotten so used to binge watching shows and using Netflix etc, I could be fine getting rid of the cable and just having internet and my Firestick or smart TV. I could live without the cable TV. I hope I did not break any forum rules by mentioning all that stuff.
RobertT10
(Florida)

Posts:2


05/14/2016 3:29 AM  
Thank you for your response. We are having fiber optics installed so we don't have to worry too much about technology. The problem is can a very small cable company deliver what they promised. I understand a Service Level Agreement is being included in the contract that will allow us to back out of the contract if they cannot deliver the services at the expected levels. I don't have faith in this company and the prices are very low. You know what they say "If it's too good to be true, then it ain't". There are a number of complaints against them, they went bankrupt twice and changed their name twice. Since we are a 55 and older development, I'm afraid the various boards are thinking about the dollars and not the consequences.
AllisonD
(Florida)

Posts:447


05/14/2016 6:32 AM  
I think you are wise to have reservations about the company because of all the problems and bad reviews. You will kick yourself later if you have problems also.
JamesG11
(Florida)

Posts:118


05/29/2016 10:03 AM  
Robert,

Here is what the HOA Act provides (it deals directly with you question):

//(2) If the governing documents provide for the cost of communications services as defined in s. 202.11, information services or Internet services obtained pursuant to a bulk contract shall be deemed an operating expense of the association. If the governing documents do not provide for such services, the board may contract for the services, and the cost shall be deemed an operating expense of the association but must be allocated on a per-parcel basis rather than a percentage basis, notwithstanding that the governing documents provide for other than an equal sharing of operating expenses. Any contract entered into before July 1, 2011, in which the cost of the service is not equally divided among all parcel owners may be changed by a majority of the voting interests present at a regular or special meeting of the association in order to allocate the cost equally among all parcels.

(a) Any contract entered into by the board may be canceled by a majority of the voting interests present at the next regular or special meeting of the association, whichever occurs first. Any member may make a motion to cancel such contract, but if no motion is made or if such motion fails to obtain the required vote, the contract shall be deemed ratified for the term expressed therein.

(b) Any contract entered into by the board must provide, and shall be deemed to provide if not expressly set forth therein, that a hearing-impaired or legally blind parcel owner who does not occupy the parcel with a non-hearing-impaired or sighted person, or a parcel owner who receives supplemental security income under Title XVI of the Social Security Act or food assistance as administered by the Department of Children and Families pursuant to s. 414.31, may discontinue the service without incurring disconnect fees, penalties, or subsequent service charges, and may not be required to pay any operating expenses charge related to such service for those parcels. If fewer than all parcel owners share the expenses of the communications services, information services, or Internet services, the expense must be shared by all participating parcel owners. The association may use the provisions of s. 720.3085 to enforce payment by the parcel owners receiving such services.//

Section 720.309(2), Fla. Stat.

Bottom-line: your Board can enter into such a contract (provided nothing in its OWN documents expressly prohibits it from doing so), but then the "majority of voting interests" can move and vote to cancel that contract at the next membership meeting of your neighborhood association.

A "majority of voting interests" is 50% plus one vote, so it is critical that all like-minded homeowners band together and organize a majority of all homeowners within your neighborhood if they wish to defeat this. Know this in advance: it's going to take a lot of work, and your group should be properly advised by legal counsel so that your work isn't wasted. Good luck!
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