Some years are quiet when it comes to the passage of new laws affecting Florida community associations. This was definitely not one of those years. Here are the new laws in summary form as a result of the passage of HB 841.
718.111 —- OFFICIAL RECORDS: The law now makes it clear that the association must maintain the declaration, bylaws, articles, rules, plans, permits, warranties and minutes of meetings from the inception of the association. All other “official records” must be maintained for seven (7) years.
718.112 — NOTICES OF MEETINGS: Notice of any meeting in which regular or special assessments against unit owners are tobe considered must specifically state that assessments will be considered and provide the estimated cost and description of thepurposes for such assessments. In addition to any of the authorized means of providing notice of a meeting of the board, the association may, by rule, adopt a procedure for conspicuously posting the meeting notice and the agenda on a website servingthe condominium association for at least the minimum period of time for which a notice of a meeting is also required to bephysically posted on the condominium property. Any rule adopted shall, in addition to other matters, include a requirement that the association send an electronic notice in the same manner as a notice for a meeting of the members, which must include ahyperlink to the website where the notice is posted, to unit owners whose e-mail addresses are included in the association’s official records.
718.111 — REQUIREMENT TO PLACE OFFICIAL RECORDS ON A WEBSITE:
By July 1, 2019, an association with 150 or more units which does not manage timeshare units shall post digital copies of the documents specified in subparagraph 2. on its website. The association’s website must be: An independent website or web portal wholly owned and by the association; otherwise obtains the right to operate a web page, subpage, web portal, or collection of subpages or web portals dedicated to the association’s activities and on which required notices, records, and documents may be posted by the association.
The association’s website must be accessible through the Internet and must contain a subpage, web portal, or other protected electronic location that is inaccessible to the general public and accessible only to unit owners and employees of the association. Upon a unit owner’s written request, the association must provide the unit owner with a username and password and access to the protected sections of the association’s website that contain any notices, records, or documents that must be electronically provided. A current copy of the official records must be posted in digital format on the association’s website: except for those records that must be kept confidential. In addition: The notice of any unit owner meeting and the agenda for the annual meeting must be posted no later than 14 days before the meeting. The notice must be posted in plain view on the front page of the website, or on a separate subpage of the website labeled “Notices” which is conspicuously visible and linked from the front page. The association must also post on its website any document to be considered and voted on by the owners during the meeting or any document listed on the agenda at least 7 days before the meeting at which the document or the information within the document will be considered. Notice of any board meeting, the agenda, and any other document required for the annual meeting must be posted no later than the date required for notice pursuant to s. 718.112(2)(c). The association shall ensure that the information and records that are required to be kept confidential are not posted.
718.112 –TERM LIMITS FOR BOARD MEMBERS: A board member may not serve more than 8 consecutive years four consecutive 2-year terms, unless approved by an affirmative vote of unit owners representing two-thirds of all votes cast in the election the total voting interests of the association or unless there are not enough eligible candidates to fill the vacancies on the board at the time of the vacancy.
718.707- BULK BUYERS – BULK ASSIGNEES : The “bulk buyer” statute no longer sunsets on July 1st, 2018. This means that it may be more difficult for unit owners to object to large scale owners controlling a majority of the seats on their board.
718.113 MATERIAL ALTERATIONS: Clarifies existing law that unless otherwise stated in the governing documents, 75 percent of the total voting interests of the association must approve the alterations or additions before the material alterations or substantial additions are commenced.
718.112 – RECALLS : Clarifies that a board must hold a meeting within five days of the service of the recall ballots, and such member or members shall be recalled effective immediately upon conclusion of the board meeting provided that the recall is facially valid. If the board fails to duly notice and hold the required meeting or at the conclusion of the meeting determines that the recall is not facially valid, the unit owner representative may file a petition pursuant to s. 718.1255 challenging the board’s failure to act or challenging the board’s determination on facial validity. If a board member challenges his or her recall, the petition may challenge the facial validity of the written agreement or ballots filed or the substantial compliance with the procedural requirements for the recall. If the arbitrator determines the recall was invalid, the petitioning board member shall immediately be reinstated and the recall is null and void. A board member who is successful in challenging a recall is entitled to recover reasonable attorney fees and costs.
ELECTRIC VEHICLES: A declaration of condominium or restrictive covenant may not prohibit or be enforced so as to prohibit any unit owner from installing an electric vehicle charging station within the boundaries of the unit owner’s limited common element parking area. The board of administration of a condominium association may not prohibit a unit owner from installing an electric vehicle charging station for an electric vehicle, as defined in s. 320.01, within the boundaries of his or her limited common element parking area. The installation of such charging stations are subject to the provisions of this subsection. (b) The installation may not cause irreparable damage to the condominium property (c) The electricity for the electric vehicle charging station must be separately metered and payable by the unit owner installing such charging station. (d) The unit owner who is installing an electric vehicle charging station is responsible for the costs of installation, operation, maintenance, and repair, including, but not limited to, hazard and liability insurance. The association may enforce payment of such costs pursuant to s. 718.116. (f) The association may require the unit owner to: 1. Comply with bona fide safety requirements, consistent with applicable building codes or recognized safety standards, for the protection of persons and property. 2. Comply with reasonable architectural standards adopted by the association that govern the dimensions, placement, or external appearance of the electric vehicle charging station, provided that such standards may not prohibit the installation of such charging station or substantially increase the cost thereof. 3. Engage the services of a licensed and registered electrical contractor or engineer familiar with the installation and core requirements of an electric vehicle charging station. 4. Provide a certificate of insurance naming the association as an additional insured on the owner’s insurance policy for any claim related to the installation, maintenance, or use of the electric vehicle charging station within 14 days after receiving the association’s approval to install such charging station. 5. Reimburse the association for the actual cost of any increased insurance premium amount attributable to the electricvehicle charging station within 14 days after receiving the association’s insurance premium invoice. (g) The association provides an implied easement across the common elements of the condominium property to the unit owner for purposes of the installation of the electric vehicle charging station and the furnishing of electrical power, including any necessary equipment, to such charging station, subject to the requirements of this subsection.
718.112 – SERVICE PROVIDERS; CONFLICTS OF INTEREST : Last year, The Florida Legislature prohibited an association from entering into a contract for goods and services with any company wherein a member of the Board or a member of the Board member’s family, had a financial interest. That was repealed. Now, such a contract is allowed, if the conflict is disclosed, two-thirds of the non interested directors approve of the contract At the next regular or special meeting of the members, the existence of the contract or other transaction shall be disclosed to the members. Upon motion of any member, the contract or transaction shall be brought up fora vote and may be canceled by a majority vote of the members present. If the contract is canceled, the association is only liable for the reasonable value of the goods and services provided up to the time of cancellation and is not liable for any termination fee, liquidated damages, or other form of penalty for such cancellation.
718.303 AND 720.305 – FINES: If the proposed fine or suspension is approved by the committee, the fine payment is due 5 days after the date of the committee meeting at which the fine is approved. The association must provide written notice of such fine or suspension by mail or hand delivery to the unit owner and, if applicable, to any tenant, licensee, or invitee of the unit owner.
720.303 – E-MAIL: In HOAs – Members of the board of administration may use e-mail as a means of communication, but may not cast a vote on an association matter via e-mail.
720.306 DOCUMENT AMENDMENTS IN AN HOA – Adopts the condominium method of how unit owners approve amendments. Words to be added to the existing text must be underlined. Words to be removed from the existing text are stricken-thru. However, If the proposed change is so extensive that underlining and striking through language would hinder, rather than assist, the understanding of the proposed amendment, a notation must be inserted immediately preceding the proposed amendment in substantially the following form: “Substantial rewording. See governing documents for current text.” Clarifies that just like in a condo, an amendment to a governing document is effective when recorded in the public records of the county in which the community is located.
720.306 HOA ELECTIONS – If an election is not required because there are either an equal number or fewer qualified candidates than vacancies exist, and if nominations from the floor are not required pursuant to this section or the bylaws, write-in nominations are not permitted and such qualified candidates shall commence service on the board of directors, regardless of whether a quorum is attained at the annual meeting.