Representative George Moraitis has again filed a bill, House Bill 1061, that would allow community associations to opt-out of the requirement not only of a fire sprinkler system, but also for an engineered life safety system. You may recall that this was an extremely popular bill last year as it seeks to save associations from spending a lot of money on an engineered life safety system if the unit owners vote in favor of same. There was only one vote in both the House and Senate last year against the bill. Then, that terrible fire happened in London, England and Governor Scott thought that in light of that fire, it was best to veto the bill. Let’s see what happens this year.
Representative Moraitis also filed HB 841 which attempts to do a lot, including: for condos — requiring notices of special assessment meetings to specifically state that assessments will be considered and provide the estimated cost and description of the purposes for such assessments; allowing for notices of a meeting on the association’s website; clarifying that a Board can reject an attempted recall if the ballots are not facially valid; provides for the award of prevailing party attorney’s fees in recall cases under certain circumstances; requires the votes for material alterations to take place before the material alterations are commenced; allows the Board to enter into a contract with a company that has a financial relationship with a director if the relationship is disclosed, 2/3 of the non interested board members vote in favor of the contract and the owners have the right to cancel said contract; clarifies the fining process and when the fine is due; extends the time period for classification as a bulk buyer; In an HOA, clarifies that Board members can communicate by e-mail but cannot vote by e-mail; in an HOA incorporated after July 1st, 2018 or if an existing HOA votes in favor, requires reserves for items that are anticipated to cost $100,000.00 or more to repair or replace; in an HOA allows Boards to reserve for items that are expected to cost in excess of $25,000.00 to repair or replace and allows the owners to waive reserve funding; in an HOA 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.
Representative Charlie Stone has filed House Bill 377 which also attempts to do a lot, including: making a community association manager or management firm personally liable for damages if they unlawfully deny access to official records, requiring developers of HOAs to turn over control of the community by certain time deadlines as opposed to only requiring turnover upon a percentage of sales, in HOAs, allowing the DBPR to provide binding arbitration in disputes involving covenants, restrictions, rule enforcement, and duties to maintain and make safe pursuant to the declaration of covenants, rules and regulations, and other governing documents; disputes involving assessments; and disputes involving the official records of the homeowners’ association; in an HOA grants The Department of Business and Professional Regulation the authority to enforce and ensure compliance with Chapter 720 (The Florida Homeowner’s Association Act) and rules relating to records access, financial management, and elections of homeowners’ associations and grants the DBPR the authority to investigate any complaint made to the department against a homeowners’ association; requires the seller of a home in an HOA to provide a prospective buyer with the association’s governing documents, including the declaration of covenants, articles and bylaws, rules and regulations, and operating budget for the current year, and any amendment to such documents. The seller must provide the prospective buyer with such documents at least 7 days before closing. The prospective buyer may terminate the contract for purchase within 3 days after receipt of such documents; allows owners in an HOA to file a lawsuit against the developer if the developer abandons or fails to maintain the amenities or infrastructure, fails to comply with the governing documents, and prohibits a developer from using association funds for a purpose not specifically authorized in a homeowners’ association budget adopted in accordance with the governing documents and s. 720.303.
There is a lot of pending legislation this year. Some bills won’t get far and some will. If you like or dislike any of the proposed bills, now is the time to contact your local legislators and let them know how you feel. Don’t wait until it’s too late!