In recent legislation, Senate Bills 1258 and 1682 and House Bills 1001 and 1237 seek to amend Florida Statutes, Chapter 718.
Senate Bill 1258 and House Bill 1001 seek to fine directors who knowingly violate any Association bylaw or statutes.
Senate Bill 1682 and House Bill 1237 are more complex and seek, among other things, to:
- prevent an attorney from representing an Association if the attorney represents the Association’s management company;
- prevent a board member or management company from purchasing a unit at a foreclosure sale arising from the Association’s foreclosure of its lien for unpaid assessments;
- allow renters to make requests for official records;
- provide for criminal penalties for a director or member of the board who knowingly, willfully and repeatedly violates an official records request;
- provide criminal penalties for a director or member of the board who knowingly or willfully and repeatedly refuses to release or otherwise produce Association records;
- impose criminal penalties any person who willfully and knowingly or otherwise fails or refuses to produce Association records with the intent of facilitating the commission of a crime, avoiding or escaping detection, arrest, trial or punishment for a crime;
- provide that Associations with more than 500 units shall post specific digital copy of documents on its website along with a number of other requirements for the Association’s website;
- provide for the supervision by the division arising from the failure of the Association to mail or hand-deliver financial reports;
- attempt to limit a board member to no more than four consecutive two-year terms unless approved by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the total voting interests of the Association;
- prevent Associations from employing or contracting with any service provider that is owned or operated by any board member or any person who has a financial relationship with that board member;
- require a person be a member of the Florida Bar for at least five years and having arbitrated or mediated at least ten disputes involving condominiums in the state during the three years immediately preceding the date of the application, prior to serving as either arbitrator or mediator;
- require arbitrators to issue written decisions within 30 days or suffer a cancellation of his or her arbitration certificate;
- provide criminal penalties for fraudulent voting activities relating to Association elections;
- a party providing maintenance or management services or board member of such party may not own 50% or more of the units in a condominium or purchase a property subject to a lien by the Association;
- require directors and officers of an Association to disclose any activity that could reasonably be construed to be a conflict of interest and provides specific examples thereof, including the production of the underlying documents that could create the conflict of interest; and
- require Associations to provide reports to the Department the names of all financial institutions with which the Association maintains accounts.
Please keep in mind that these bills are only bills and at this time have not yet been enacted into law.
If you have questions regarding the proposed legislation, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Community Associations practice group at Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP, 813.229.7600.