Monday, July 21, 2014

New Florida Condominium and HOA Law 2014

         Another year and another round of tweaking to Florida’s Homeowners Association Act (Florida Statutes Chapter 720) and the Florida Condominium Act (Florida Statutes Chapter 718) have been enacted.  The new laws were signed by the Governor on June 13, 2014 and went into effect on July 1, 2014.  The new law is not very expansive but did clarify a few issues and expanded certain rights.  Please note that the laws do not necessarily apply equally to both condominiums and homeowners associations, as a legislature continues to modify the applicable chapters inconsistently.

          Under current law, a Condominium Association has certain right to access a unit owner’s unit, “when necessary for the maintenance, repair, or replacement of any common elements” and “or as necessary to prevent damage to the common elements or to a unit.”  Due to foreclosure, many units in Florida have become abandoned and the legislature took notice of this issue and expanded Florida law to grant an additional right of access to a Condominium Association when a unit is abandoned by the unit owner.  Prior to access, the association must determine that the unit is abandoned and give the owner at least two days’ notice prior to access. This new right includes the right of the Association to turn utilities on and to inspect for and repair mold.

          The insurance provision of the Condominium Act has been clarified to address non-insurable events. These are events that are either not covered by insurance or maybe for a loss of less than the minimum deductible of the Association’s insurance policy or for loss or repair due to ordinary use. The coverage of these losses to condominium property is now determined by looking at the declaration of condominium for the specific condominium in question.

          In clarifying the right of the Associations to create a directory containing the name and address of each unit/homeowner the statute includes a provision that allows for multiple phone numbers to be listed, with the right to opt out still retained by each unit/homeowner by sending written notice to the Association. In addition, the Association may, with the consent of each unit/homeowner, include additional information in the directory, presumably the electronic mail address or other information that the unit/homeowner is willing to disclose to other owners.  This provision is applicable to both Condominium and Homeowners Associations.

          A current problem in many Condominium Associations is the transfer of power from one board to the next. The law will now require the outgoing board to turn over all official records in their possession within five days of the election of the new board. In addition, the Bureau of Condominium may impose civil penalties on those who fail to cooperate with this requirement.

          In recognizing the greater use of electronic mail, the Condominium Act has also been expanded to allow board members to communicate via email with other board members without creating a quorum which would require a meeting open to all members. No voting is permitted by electronic mail.

          In order to address a recent case that held that unit owner is not liable for previous owner’s assessments if the Condominium Association had foreclosed or took title to a unit, the statute now provides that a current owner is liable for assessments of the previous owner except for the period in which the Association held title to the unit. This commonly occurs when Association forecloses then subsequent to that foreclosure the bank forecloses and either the bank or a third-party obtains title from the bank foreclosure.  This provision was added to the Homeowners Association Act in 2013.

          In order to provide access to Homeowner Association meetings to disabled persons, the Act was amended to require Associations to provide disability access if requested by a handicapped person who is entitled to attend the meeting.

          An entirely new section was added to the Homeowners Association Act to address issues arising from an emergency situation. For purposes of this change, which is very similar to a previously enacted law affecting condominiums, an emergency is defined as a state of emergency affecting the area in which the association is located as called by the Governor. The difference between the Homeowners Association statute and the Condominium statute is that the Homeowners Association does not gain the right to access individual homes, a right that the Condominium Association retains.

          Overall, the revisions were mostly minor and, in part, to clarify existing law or to unify certain parts of both Acts. Presumably, were substantial changes will be addressed by the legislature in upcoming sessions.

Michael Posner, Esq., is a partner in Ward Damon a mid-sized real estate and business oriented law firm serving all of South Florida, with offices in Palm Beach County.  They specialize in real estate and can assist community associations in all legal matters.  They can be reached at 561.594.1452, or at mjposner@warddamon.com


26 comments:

  1. Thanks for informative post. I am pleased sure this post has helped me save many hours of browsing other similar posts just to find what I was looking for. Just I want to say: Thank you!
    Realtor Websites

    ReplyDelete
  2. We have to share our knowledge to our agents and see if they can learn more for the better of our Real Estate Investment. We have to be sure that our efforts in this business is right and not wasted. Never let our investment down by making sure that we do things right in the future.

    http://www.realestateinvestment-australia.com.au/

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for the informative post. It is important to stay on top of new legislature so we know our rights, as well as new rules to follow. I was surprised that the Condo Association can go into a unit owner's unit. I think that could be helpful, but only as long as the Condo Association doesn't abuse their rights. If they are actually going in to make repairs and keep up maintenance, it will be a very helpful thing. My concern, though, is how will they make sure the Condo Associations are going in strictly for maintenance and repairs? I think it just brings up a lot of grey area.
    Wilton Josh | http://www.egfosterlaw.com/estate-administration.html

    ReplyDelete
  4. My wife and I are thinking of investing in a rental property as a way to generate savings and revenue for the future. Is it feasible to own a rental property that happens to be on the other side of the country from you? I am just trying to figure out how involved I am needing to be to make the effort worthwhile?

    bryanflake1984| http://www.houselawyerny.com/about_me.html

    ReplyDelete
  5. Bryan, while it is feasible, you will have to consider having a local property manager to deal with repairs, collections and other issues. This will eat into profits. However, with the right agent it can be successful.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Micheal, I have been thinking of getting into rental property as well. Thank you for your advice. When did you decide to become a residential realtor? http://www.lorireinalda.com/team.php

    ReplyDelete
  7. Very informative blog.Thanx to share us about rules. I am also surprised that the Condo Association can go into a unit owner's unit.Is this rules also apply in montogomery?because i want to invest money on New Homes Montgomery Alabama

    ReplyDelete
  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanx to share this informative blog.This blog will be very helpful for those who want to sell or buy home in florida.Please post more information about Houses for Sale Pike Road AL

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have a lot I really want to buy and build a new building there. I really hope that I can get it. I also want to get an attorney to help me out. I want my realtor to follow through. http://www.lisnowlaw.com

    ReplyDelete
  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  13. It is very nice and helpful article for all who is interested in buy or sell the houses in Florida.
    Thanks for sharing

    Lee Arnold

    ReplyDelete
  14. I am looking for great information written about real estate attorneys and what it's like to have that job. I am attending law school soon and I'm not sure what I want to do after. There are so many different paths I can take. http://www.iarlaw.com/practice-areas/real-estate

    ReplyDelete
  15. I think that I could learn to live with that law. My wife and I are getting ready to buy our first home in Parkland in a couple of months, so I am not sure if that will affect us very much. I'm just really nervous but excited about being a homeowner finally. http://www.parklandshomesforsale.com/neighborhoods/parkland-fl-real-estate/

    ReplyDelete
  16. I actually found this blog and that is amazing thing I enjoy reading this easy to understand stuff. Keep it up. Swan City Homes

    ReplyDelete
  17. Waooow!!! Really very cool site of blogs. You can imagine what you have done for me. http://www.stewartlangleyproperties.com/nottingham/

    ReplyDelete
  18. Amazing blog thanks for sharing such a information.This blog Are really very helpful.http://thewatersal.com

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hey buddy I just desired to let you know that I really like this piece of writing, keep up the superb work!!
    DUI Defense Attorney in Orlando Florida

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi there, I read this fantastic blog on your site. Your entertaining style is amusing, keep it up!
    Tyler Fair - Lake Tahoe Estate Planning Lawyer

    ReplyDelete
  21. I am so happy and proud of you to provide such amazing stuff, I’m truly thankful to you!

    https://www.wepaythemost.co.uk/

    ReplyDelete
  22. I was in search of the information that can win my heart and then I found your blog and got everything from here. Thanks Criminal Attorney NY

    ReplyDelete
  23. I was on rummage around for the sites related to provide good information, so I came up to your site. Accident Lawyer

    ReplyDelete
  24. I want more and more articles and blogs please post soon such informative information. gold ira reviews

    ReplyDelete
  25. I know this is quality based blogs along with other stuff. 401k to gold ira rollover

    ReplyDelete