Let’s just say that 2024 has gotten off on the right foot. For those of you that have followed my career, you know how passionate I have been about mandatory education for condominium board members. I have drafted legislation requiring mandatory board education several times. Each time it would make it into a bill and for whatever reason, be removed from the bill at the very last moment.
One year, my mandatory education language passed the House, passed the Senate and was sitting on then Governor Scott’s desk waiting to be signed. The problem was that the education component was included in a larger bill that again kicked fire safety down the road. While the bill was sitting on the Governor’s desk, London, England had a terrible fire where many innocent lives were lost. As a result, the timing was impossible for Governor Scott to waive fire safety requirements in our residential buildings and he vetoed the entire bill which included mandatory education.
That was then. This is now. Now, we unfortunately live in a post Surfside, post Champlain Towers world. Over the last two years Florida condominium law has changed dramatically. Mandatory building milestone inspections are now required. Mandatory reserve accounts are now required. Structural Integrity Reserve Studies are now required. Failure of condominium directors to comply with all of these new laws constitutes a breach of a director’s fiduciary duty owed to the owners.
At this very moment, despite the fact that Florida has suffered the ultimate tragedy at Champlain Towers and the new condo laws are confusing to even the most experienced practitioners, you can still get certified as a director by signing that ridiculous form that states you read the governing docs and promise to enforce them. As we know, you don’t learn a thing about the new laws by simply signing that ridiculous form.
That’s where Senator Jennifer Bradley and Representative Vicki Lopez come in. Senator Bradley has filed Senate Bill 1178 and Representative Lopez has filed House Bill 1021. Each of these bills require condominium directors to both sign the affidavit indicating they have read the governing documents and take an educational course within ninety (90) days of getting elected. Not only that, these bills require condominium directors to take a continuing education class each year that there is a change to the condominium statutes.
As you all know, I have always preached that education can and will save lives. These bills, if passed, will do just that. All I can say is that I am reminded again of the phrase, “Good things come to those who wait.” I just hope this is finally the year where the wait ends.