SO WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE NEW LAWS?
It certainly was a busy year for condo legislation. HB 653 was vetoed at the last minute by the Governor. That bill would have allowed condominiums to opt out of expensive engineered life safety systems. House Bill 1237 passed however. It’s provisions are listed below. One of the architects of the bill was Senator Rene Garcia. I had the pleasure of interviewing him on the Condo Craze Radio Show. If you’re interested in hearing his reasons for the bill and what may be in store for next year, including HOAs, try to listen to a rebroadcast of the show at 3:00 this Sunday on 850 WFTL or go any time to: www.condocrazeandhoas.com. Chime in below and let us know what you think about the new laws.
718.111 —- CRIMINAL CONDUCT
Forgery of a ballot envelope or voting certificate used in a condominium association election is a felony, the theft or embezzlement of funds of a condominium association is punishable as provided in s. 812.014, and the destruction of or the refusal to allow inspection or copying of an official record of a condominium association that is accessible to unit owners within the time periods required by general law in furtherance of any crime is punishable as tampering with physical evidence as provided in s. 918.13 or as obstruction of justice as provided in chapter 843.
An officer or director charged by information or indictment with a crime referenced in this paragraph must be removed from office, and the vacancy shall be filled as provided in s. 718.112(2)(d)2. until the end of the officer’s or director’s period of suspension or the end of his or her term of office, whichever occurs first. If a criminal charge is pending against the officer or director, he or she may not be appointed or elected to a position as an officer or a director of any association and may not have access to the official records of any association, except pursuant to a court order. However, if the charges are resolved without a finding of guilt, the officer or director must be reinstated for the remainder of his or her term of office, if any.
718.111 — THE ATTORNEY
An association may not hire an attorney who represents the management company of the association.
718.111 — FORECLOSURE OF THE ASSOCIATION’S LIEN
A board member, manager, or management company may not purchase a unit at a foreclosure sale resulting from the association’s foreclosure of its lien for unpaid assessments or take title by deed in lieu of foreclosure.
718.111 – RIGHT OF ACCESS TO RECORDS
A renter of a unit has a right to inspect and copy the association’s bylaws and rules.
718.111 — REQUIREMENT TO PLACE OFFICIAL RECORDS ON A WEBSITE
By July 1, 2018, 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.
718.111 – FINANCIAL REPORTING
The following statutory provision has been removed for both condos and HOAs: An association that operates fewer than 50 units, regardless of the association’s annual revenues, shall prepare a report of cash receipts and expenditures in lieu of financial statements required by paragraph (a).
718.117 – CONDO TERMINATION
If 5 10 percent or more of the total voting interests of the condominium reject a plan of termination, a subsequent plan of termination pursuant to this subsection may not be considered for 24 18 months after the date of the rejection.
718.707 BULK BUYERS – BULK ASSIGNEES
The statute no longer sunsets on July 1st, 2018.
718.71 FINANCIAL REPORTING
An association shall provide an annual report to the department containing the names of all of the financial institutions with which it maintains accounts, and a copy of such report may be obtained from the department upon written request of any association member.
718.111 DEBIT CARDS
An association and its officers, directors, employees, and agents may not use a debit card issued in the name of the association, or billed directly to the association, for the payment of any association expense.
Use of a debit card issued in the name of the association, or billed directly to the association, for any expense that is not a lawful obligation of the association may be prosecuted as credit card fraud pursuant to s. 817.61.
718.112 – TERM LIMITS
A board member may not serve more than four consecutive 2-year terms, unless approved by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of 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.
718.112 – RECALLS
Recalls — are now effective immediately. NO DUE PROCESS PROVIDED. Although language has been left in the statute that still apparently allows the Board to file for recall arbitration. Very confusing and needs to be fixed next year.
718.112 – SERVICE PROVIDERS; CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
An association, which is not a timeshare condominium association, may not employ or contract with any service provider that is owned or operated by a board member or with any person who has a financial relationship with a board member or officer, or a relative within the third degree of consanguinity by blood or marriage of a board member or officer. This paragraph does not apply to a service provider in which a board member or officer, or a relative within the third degree of consanguinity by blood or marriage of a board member or officer, owns less than 1 percent of the equity shares.
718.1255 – ARBITRATION
The state may now employ private arbitrators to hear your cases. The arbitrator must conduct a hearing within thirty days and then enter an order within 30 days after the hearing.
718.111 – PURCHASE OF UNITS AT FORECLOSURE SALE
A party contracting to provide maintenance or management services to an association managing a residential condominium after transfer of control of the association, as provided in s. 718.301, which is not a timeshare condominium association, or an officer or board member of such party, may not purchase a unit at a foreclosure sale resulting from the association’s foreclosure of association lien for unpaid assessments or take a deed in lieu of foreclosure. If 50 percent or more of the units in the condominium are owned by a party contracting to provide maintenance or management services to an association managing a residential condominium after transfer of control of the association, as provided in s. 718.301, which is not a timeshare condominium association, or by an officer or board member of such party, the contract with the party providing maintenance or management services may be cancelled by a majority vote of the unit owners other than the contracting party or an officer or board member of such party.
718.3027 CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
(1) Directors and officers of a board of an association that is not a timeshare condominium association, and the relatives of such directors and officers, must disclose to the board any activity that may reasonably be construed to be a conflict of interest. A rebuttable presumption of a conflict of interest exists if any of the following occurs without prior notice, as required in subsection (4):
(a) A director or an officer, or a relative of a director or an officer, enters into a contract for goods or services with the association.
(b) A director or an officer, or a relative of a director or an officer, holds an interest in a corporation, limited liability corporation, partnership, limited liability partnership, or other business entity that conducts business with the association or proposes to enter into a contract or other transaction with the association.
(2) If a director or an officer, or a relative of a director or an officer, proposes to engage in an activity that is a conflict of interest, as described in subsection (1), the proposed activity must be listed on, and all contracts and transactional documents related to the proposed activity must be attached to, the meeting agenda. If the board votes against the proposed activity, the director or officer, or the relative of the director or officer, must notify the board in writing of his or her intention not to pursue the proposed activity or to withdraw from office. If the board finds that an officer or a director has violated this subsection, the officer or director shall be deemed removed from office. The vacancy shall be filled according to general law.
(3) A director or an officer, or a relative of a director or an officer, who is a party to, or has an interest in, an activity that is a possible conflict of interest, as described in subsection (1), may attend the meeting at which the activity is considered by the board and is authorized to make a presentation to the board regarding the activity. After the presentation, the director or officer, or the relative of the director or officer, must leave the meeting during the discussion of, and the vote on, the activity. A director or an officer who is a party to, or has an interest in, the activity must recuse himself or herself from the vote.
(4) A contract entered into between a director or an officer, or a relative of a director or an officer, and the association, which is not a timeshare condominium association, that has not been properly disclosed as a conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest as required by s. 718.111(12)(g) is voidable and terminates upon the filing of a written notice terminating the contract with the board of directors which contains the consent of at least 20 percent of the voting interests of the association.
(5) As used in this section, the term “relative” means a relative within the third degree of consanguinity by blood or marriage.