On March 23, 2018, Governor Scott approved House Bill 841, amending a number of statutes regulating community associations. The following is a summary of House Bill 841 by topic:
With the recent threat from Hurricane Irma, many condominium associations were faced with emergency requests from unit owners for the association to install or for the association to allow owners to install hurricane shutters or other forms of hurricane protection.
If an association had no hurricane protection policy in place, the association was likely unprepared to field these requests. Most board members would cringe at the thought of plywood being mounted on the windows, but if the association has not addressed what hurricane protection is acceptable, nor made arrangements for the association to install hurricane protection, the board of directors may not have the ability to deny an owner’s request to install their own form of code-compliant hurricane protection. Continue reading
On June 14, 2017, Governor Scott signed Senate Bill 398, enacting it into law. The law, which goes into effect on July 1, 2017, amends sections 718.116, 720.30851, and 719.108, Florida Statutes, regarding condominium, homeowners and cooperative association estoppel certificates. The amendments provide the following changes to the statutes:
Does your Community Association have sufficient protections in place for Short-Term Vacation Rentals?
With the rise in short-term rentals through popular sites like Airbnb, Inc. and Vacation Rentals by Owner (VRBO), homeowners and condominium associations face new challenges in policing owners who violate restrictions against short-term leasing. This is especially true in Florida where many people seek out vacation rentals every year. Not only does this type of activity promote continuous violations of an association’s governing documents, but it presents privacy and security issues as well. Continue reading
Neighbor vs neighbor disputes are frequently a part of life in community associations. Common examples may include an owner allowing his dog to use his neighbor’s yard or an owner dumping trash on his neighbor’s yard. Although they may initially be trivial, these neighbor vs neighbor disputes can escalate into bitter personal rivalries. While many community associations believe it is necessary to intervene in an attempt to ensure good relations between neighbors, an association should only take action in such disputes when doing so is clearly within the scope of the community association’s purpose. Continue reading
Restrictive endorsements when coupled with payment are still applicable to associations.
As many may remember, The Florida Legislature amended Florida Statutes §718.116 and §720.3085 to include language relating to the applicability of restrictive endorsements, designations or instruction accompanying payments made for delinquent assessments. Specifically, Florida Statutes §718.116(3) and §720.3085(3)(b) state as follows: Continue reading
The Second Amendment to the United States’ Constitution guarantees individuals the right to keep and bear arms. The Florida constitution contains a similar guarantee. With few exceptions, Florida law allows licensed individuals to carry concealed firearms in most public locations. Based on these constitutional and statutory rights under U.S. and Florida law, many owners residing in community associations believe that they also have the right to conceal-carry firearms when on their community’s common elements. In the absence of a provision in the community association’s governing documents, owners may exercise their lawful right to carry concealed firearms on common elements. However, who prevails when an owner’s constitutional and statutory rights conflict with a community association’s attempts to regulate the carrying and use of firearms on its common elements? Continue reading
During transfers of properties in condominiums or other planned communities, community associations are frequently contacted by prospective buyers, lenders or realtors with requests for information pertinent to the transfer. Often, these requests seek detailed information about a broad range of topics related to the condition and operation of the community. Complying with such requests can become extremely time-consuming for directors or property managers tasked with preparing the responses. Fortunately, community associations are not required to provide any information to prospective buyers, lenders, or realtors under Florida law. Continue reading
Due to its climate, Florida – the “Sunshine State” – is ideally situated to take advantage of unlimited and environmentally friendly solar energy. In the last two decades, the price of solar collectors has dropped significantly in cost and many individual homeowners are now finding solar panels to be a cost-effective method to reduce their home energy costs. Although solar energy collection technology which will blend seamlessly into our homes and office buildings is on the horizon, today’s commercially available solar collectors are typically bulky and, as a result, highly visible. The high visibility of the solar collectors often leads community associations to adopt measures seeking to limit, or eliminate altogether, the ability of homeowners to install solar collectors on their property. However, Florida Law provides substantial protection to homeowners wishing to install solar collectors and other renewable energy devices on their properties. Specifically, Florida Statutes § 163.04(2) provides: Continue reading
In order to avoid adverse tax consequences, community associations should consider conducting a vote to apply surplus funds in their operating budgets at the end of their fiscal year to the budgets for their next fiscal year.
The two common tax return filing options for associations are form 1120, referred to as the corporate income tax return, and form 1120-H, which is used by associations to take advantage of certain tax benefits that allow associations to exclude certain income (membership dues, fees, or assessments) from their gross, taxable income. Associations should consult with their accountants to determine which type of tax return they will file, as there are different qualifications and benefits for each. Continue reading