As we said last week, The Florida Legislature is in session, and there have been some community association bills filed, but nothing to write home about. CCFJ and I have been working together to hopefully get legislation passed this year that will help communities. For example:
- Requiring HOAs to use the same voting procedures as condos do. In order for an HOA election to occur, there needs to be a quorum of owners in attendance at the annual meeting either in person or by proxy. Many times a quorum is not obtained and the board rolls over……again. In a condo, the election counts as long as 20% of the unit owners participate in the voting process. The condo election process is also more detailed, does not allow for nominating committees and is more reliable than the HOA system.
- Both the condominium statute and the HOA statute allow the association to levy fines for the failure of the owner of the unit or its occupant, licensee, or invitee to comply with any provision of the declaration, the association bylaws, or reasonable rules of the association. Each require the Board to levy the fine and a separate committee to impose the fine. There is however one big difference between the two types of communities. In a condo, the fine cannot become a lien on the unit. This means that the Board cannot foreclose on the condominium unit for the owner’s failure to pay the fine. However, the HOA statute says that
A fine of less than $1,000 may not become a lien against a parcel. So, in an HOA, once an owner owes $1,000.00 in fines, the association can file a lien against the unit and then file a foreclosure action. You could literally lose your home because of a violation.
The proposed legislation would remove the ability of an HOA to foreclose on a fine. This is just another example where the laws between condominiums and HOAs are different regarding the same subject matter, for no apparent reason. Why should owners in an HOA be at risk of foreclosure for failing to pay a fine and condo owners not have the same risk? Then again, why does the condo statute require a unit owner to ask for access to the official records in writing, but the HOA statute requires HOA owners to send their request by certified mail, return receipt requested? What is the logic in having 2 different methods?
In any event, as I said last week, if you are in favor of last week’s proposals or this week’s proposals, please contact:
Senator Ana Maria Rodriguez
8401 Northwest 53rd Terrace
Doral, FL 33166
Lia Duran and Luke Strominger
Mark Caraher and Arian Monzon
318 Senate Building
404 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100