Last week we discussed how the expenses of your condominium or HOA get divided among all of the owners. The blog ended by warning you that there is one type of expense that is not subject to the standard rules, and that’s when it comes to your association’s bulk cable and internet bill.
In both a condo and an HOA, regardless of whether or not the documents allow for it, the board has the right to sign a bulk contract for cable and internet services. The question is….how is the cost of the cable bill divided among everyone?
The condo statute 718.115 states:
The cost for the services under a bulk rate contract may be allocated on a per-unit basis rather than a percentage basis if the declaration provides for other than an equal sharing of common expenses, and any contract entered into before July 1, 1998, in which the cost of the service is not equally divided among all unit owners, may be changed by vote of a majority of the voting interests present at a regular or special meeting of the association, to allocate the cost equally among all units. The contract must be for at least 2 years.
In other words, when it comes to the cable bill that the association receives, that bill can be shared by the unit owners equally, even if the governing documents make the larger units pay more than the smaller ones for monthly assessments.
The HOA statute, 720.309 is similar and states:
(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.
Here is where the math can get even trickier. The condo and HOA statutes state:
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.
So, owners suffering from disabilities who cannot enjoy or do not want these cable or internet services can opt out and not have to contribute anything toward the association’s cable bill.
The bottom line is that over the past two weeks, we have learned that more goes into the budget sometimes that first thought. No matter what, make sure you are doing your budgets annually and the board is passing them at meetings that have been properly noticed.