This week continues our review of the 2021 legislative changes, continuing the discussion of Senate Bill 630, which took effect July 1, 2021. Last week we concluded our review of the changes to Chapter 718, the Condominium Act and started the review of changes to Chapter 719, the Cooperative Act.
A number of the amendments to the Cooperative Act were to conform to the Condominium Act, including the following.
Board & Committee Meetings
Section 719.106(1)(b)5 of the Cooperative Act was amended to provide that board or committee member participating in a meeting via telephone, real-time video conferencing, or similar real-time electronic or video communication counts towards a quorum and such member may vote as if physically present.
Section 719.106(1)(f) of the Cooperative Act was amended to provide that recall disputes may be filed either in court or as a petition with the division for arbitration. Now the petitioner may choose to either go directly to court with the dispute or to arbitration.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Section 719.106(1)(l) of the Cooperative Act, was amended to provide that the bylaws must include a provision for alternative dispute resolution in accordance with Section 719.1255 of the Cooperative Act. This is a parallel provision to the change to the Condominium Act. The new law provides a choice of either arbitration or mediation of certain cooperative disputes.
Section 719.106(3) of the Cooperative Act was amended to allow boards to remove discriminatory provisions in their cooperative documents. Cooperative associations may extinguish discriminatory restrictions as provided in Section 712.065, Florida Statutes, which provides that upon the request of a parcel owner, a discriminatory restriction may be removed by an amendment approved by a majority of the board.
In Part 3 of this series, published on August 15, 2021, the changes to the Emergency Powers section of the Condominium Act, were discussed. That same changes were made to Section 719.128(1), of the Cooperative Act, which mirrors the Condominium Act.
HOMEOWNERS’ ASSOCIATION LEGISLATION
Now we turn to the changes in SB 630 to Chapter 720, the Florida Homeowners’ Association Act.
Definition of Governing Documents
Section 720.301(8) of the Homeowners’ Association Act was amended to provide that the statutory definition of the term “governing documents” no longer includes rules and regulations. This means, among other things, that the statute no longer requires that the rules and changes to the rules be recorded in the public records.
Posting of Board Meeting Notices
Section 720.303(2)(c)1 of the Homeowners’ Association Act now provides that in addition to the authorized means of providing notice of a board meeting, the association may adopt a rule for posting the meeting notice and agenda on the association’s website or an application (“app”) and procedures for including hyperlink with e-mail notices to the website or app. Importantly, the statute states that these procedures are “in addition to” (and not “in lieu of”) existing statutory notice procedures.
Sections 720.303(4) and (5) of the Homeowners’ Association Act was amended to state that the association must maintain the ballots, sign-in sheets, voting proxies, and all other papers and electronic records relating to the parcel owners’ voting for at least 1 year after the date of the election, vote or meeting. Further, information obtained in a gated community in connection with guests’ visits to parcel owners or community residents are records not accessible to members or parcel owners.
Recall of Board Members
Section 720.303(10) of the Homeowners’ Association Act was amended to address review of disputed recall efforts, and now provides that disputes may be filed either in court or as a petition for arbitration with the division.
Next week we will continue our review of the changes to the of the Homeowners’ Association Act in SB 630.
Joseph Adams is a Board Certified Specialist in Condominium and Planned Development Law, and an Office Managing Shareholder with Becker & Poliakoff. Please send your community association legal questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Past editions of the Q&A may be viewed at floridacondohoalawblog.com.