In continuing with our overview of the legislative changes from the 2023 legislative session which impact community associations, this week’s column will review HB 919, titled as the “Homeowners’ Association Bill of Rights.” HB 919 was approved by the Governor on June 12, 2023, and becomes effective on October 1, 2023. HB 919 only applies to homeowners’ associations governed by the Florida Homeowners’ Association Act, Chapter 720 of the Florida Statutes (the “Act”) and includes the following:
- Section 720.303(2)(c)1 of the Act is amended to expressly state that the posted notice for board meetings must include an agenda. Previously, the Act did not require an agenda for the posted notice of board meetings.
- Section 720.303(5)(g) of the Act, dealing with official records, is amended to state that the roster of all members includes their “designated” mailing address and defines “designated mailing address” as the property address unless the member has provided a different address in writing.
- Section 720.303(8) of the Act has been created and provides that any deposit from members, including construction deposits, must be maintained separately from any other association funds and construction deposits must be returned within 30 days’ notice that the construction is complete.
- Section 720.3033(3) of the Act has been created to prohibit officers, directors, or managers accepting anything of value from someone providing or proposing to provide services to the association, like the condominium law. The new law provides that any such officer, director or manager who accepts a thing of value in violation of the statute is subject to monetary damage under Section 617.0834, Florida Statutes.
- Section 720.3033(4) of the Act addresses removal of an officer or director for certain offenses, and has been amended to provide that if an officer or director of an association has been charged with certain crimes, including forgery of a ballot envelope used in an association election; theft or embezzlement of association funds; destruction or refusal to allow inspection or copying of association official records as required by law; or obstruction of justice, such officer or director must be removed from office and their vacancy filled as provided by law. Further, if such charges are pending against the officer or director, they cannot be appointed or elected to any association board of directors or have access the official records of any association without a court order.
- Section 720.3033(6) of the Act, dealing with officer and director conflicts of interest, was created. Section 720.3033(6)(a) of the Act provides that any director or officer appointed by a developer must disclose to the association their relationship with the developer and must disclose any activity that would be considered a conflict of interest. The law also provides that any officer or director must disclose any activity that may reasonably be construed as a conflict of interest at least 14 days prior to voting on an issue or entering into a contract that is the subject to the conflict. The statute defines conflict of interest as an officer or director or relative of an officer or director entering a contract for goods or services to the association; or if an officer or director or a relative of an officer or director holds an interest in any entity that conducts business or proposes to enter into a contract or other transaction with the association.
- Section 720.305(2) of the Act dealing with the fining and suspension process has been amended to clarify that fines may be imposed for violations of the declaration, association bylaws or reasonable rules and regulations. The notice that must be sent at least 14 days prior to a fining or suspension hearing must now state the description of the alleged violation, the action to cure the violation, if applicable, and the date and location of the hearing. Further, the statute now states that the owner has the right to attend the hearing by phone or other electronic means.
Next week we will continue with the review of more changes to the Homeowners’ Association Act. Past editions may be viewed at floridacondohoalawblog.com.
Joe Adams is an attorney with Becker & Poliakoff, P.A., Fort Myers. Send questions to Joe Adams by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.