DBPR Emergency Order 2020-04 Suspending Damage Requirement For Homeowners’ Association Emergency Powers

On March 27, 2020, Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation (“DBPR”) issued Emergen­cy Order 2020-04 in response to the severe outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (“COVID-19”).

This Emergency Order suspends one of the precon­ditions on an association’s use of statutory emergen­cy powers upon a “response to damage caused by an event,” which qualifying language is contained in Sections 720.316(1), 718.1265(1) and 719.128(1), Florida Statutes, of the Homeowners’ Association Act, Con­dominium Act and Cooperative Act, respectively. This qualifying language raised some concern among Florida communities of the applicability of the asso­ciation’s emergency powers in response to damages caused by infectious diseases in lieu of damages more commonly associated with hurricanes, floods, or other natural disasters. The Emergency Order affirmative­ly authorizes the use of an association’s emergency powers under Sections 720.316(1)(a)-(h), 718.1265(1)(a)-(j) and 719.128(1)(a)-(j), Florida Statutes, to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the association, owners, family members, tenants, guests, agents, or invitees. Section 720.316(1)(a)-(h), and the substantially similar language in Chapters 718 and 719, provides the asso­ciation with the following emergency powers: Continue reading

Coronavirus: What Condominium Associations Need to Know

With the coronavirus having been declared a pandemic and rapidly spreading throughout the United States, many Florida community associations are confronting unique issues and need to know how to combat the spread of coronavirus and comply with recommendations from health professionals while remaining compliant with governing documents and Florida law. If you serve on your association’s board, you may be asking:

  1. What are the association’s emergency powers?
  2. Can the association reschedule or cancel board and membership meetings or prohibit members from attending meetings in person?
  3. Can the association close the recreational facilities and amenities?
  4. Should the association forgive payment of assessments for owners facing hardship due to the coronavirus or stop its collection efforts?
  5. Should the association stop sending violation let­ters or imposing fines?

The answers to some of these questions will de­pend on the language in your community’s governing documents and you may need to consult with the Association’s counsel regarding your unique legal situation. Notwithstanding, this article is intended to give general guidance and a place to start when looking for answers to coronavirus questions. Continue reading

Coronavirus: What Homeowners’ Associations Need to Know

With the coronavirus having been declared a pan­demic and rapidly spreading throughout the United States, many Florida community associations are con­fronting unique issues and need to know how to com­bat the spread of coronavirus and comply with recom­mendations from health professionals while remaining compliant with governing documents and Florida law. If you serve on your association’s board, you may be asking:

  1. What are the association’s emergency powers?
  2. Can the association reschedule or cancel board and membership meetings or prohibit members from attending meetings in person?
  3. Can the association close the recreational facilities and amenities?
  4. Should the association forgive payment of assess­ments for owners facing hardship due to the coro­navirus or stop its collection efforts?
  5. Should the association stop sending violation let­ters or imposing fines?

The answers to some of these questions will depend on the language in your community’s governing doc­uments and you may need to consult with the Associ­ation’s counsel regarding your unique legal situation. Notwithstanding, this article is intended to give gener­al guidance and a place to start when looking for an­swers to coronavirus questions. Continue reading