Recently on March 28, 2018, the governor signed House Bill 841 amending Sections 718 and 720 of the Florida Statutes concerning condominiums and HOAs.
Some notable changes:
- Members of the Board may use e-mail as a means of communication, but may not cast a vote on an association matter via e-mail.
- If a fine levied by the Board is approved by the grievance committee, the fine payment is due 5 days after the date of the committee meeting at which the fine is approved.
- A proposal to amend the governing documents must contain the full text of the provision to be amended and may not be revised or amended by reference. Proposed new language must be underlined and proposed deleted language must be stricken. If the rewording is substantial, it must contain a notation saying: “Substantial rewording. See governing documents for current text.”
- An immaterial error or omission in the amendment process does not invalidate an otherwise properly adopted amendment.
- 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.
- Assessments payments received by the HOA shall be applied as previous statute states regardless of any purported accord and satisfaction, or any restrictive endorsement, designation, or instruction placed on or accompanying a payment.
- The previous 2017 law requiring condos with more than 150 units to post digital copies of their governing documents, association contracts, budget, financial report, and other required documents on the association’s website is extended to January 1, 2019
- Any notice of meeting where assessments or special assessments will be discussed must state assessments will be discussed along with an estimated cost and description of the purpose of the assessment.
- The association can post a notice of meeting or agenda on their website for the minimum time required to post prior to the meeting. The rule also must require sending via email to owners with a link to the website where the notice is posted.
- A director can serve a term longer than 1 year if allowed by the bylaws or articles of incorporation.
- A director cannot serve more than 8 consecutive years, unless approved by 2/3 of votes at the election or if there are not enough candidates to fill all board seats (replaces 2017 law that director could not serve more than four 2-year terms)
- Owners who choose to receive notices via email from the association are responsible for their spam filters etc to ensure delivery of the email to them.
- A recall petition is only effective if facially valid. If not as determined by the board, then the owner representative calling for the recall can file a petition contesting this (or the recalled board member contest facial validity).
- When the declaration does not specify a procedure for material alterations or additions to the common elements or association property, the statutory 75% of voting interests must be obtained before the alterations/additions begin.
- The 2017 amendments regarding conflicts of interest have been clarified. A rebuttable presumption of a conflict exists if 1) directors or officers of the association (including their relatives) enter into a contract for goods or services with the association; or 2) directors or officers of the association (including their relatives) holds an interest in a corporation. If there is a conflict, then the proposed activity and all contracts must be attached to the meeting agenda and the requirements of 617.0832. Section 718.3027 states that the disclosures required must be stated in the meeting minutes, and the contract must be approved by 2/3 of all of the directors present excluding the conflicted director. The contract must be presented at the next membership meeting and may be canceled by a majority vote of the present members. If the contract is hidden from the board, the contract is voidable and terminates upon written notice which contains at least 20% of the voting interests.
- A grievance committed can be formed by the board to conduct hearings for fines and use suspensions for violations of the declaration. It must have at least 3 members who are not officers, directors, or employees of the association, or the spouse, parent, child, brother, or sister of an officer, director, or employee. The fine/suspension is imposed if approved by the majority of the committee; and fine is due within 5 days of the meeting. Written notice must be provided by mail or hand delivery.