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Backyard Storage Woes: Does the New Backyard Storage Statute Apply to Your Homeowners Association?

While there has been a lot of buzz about changes made in the 2023 Florida Legislative Session to laws affecting our Association clients, one potentially important change has been largely overlooked. The seemingly innocuous flag bill – House Bill (HB) 437 — creates the new Florida Statute 720.3045 prohibiting homeowners’ associations from regulating certain backyard storage.

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You May Be Able to Extend Your Permit Expiration Dates Due to Hurricane Idalia – Here’s How

As Hurricane Idalia heads for Florida’s Gulf Coast, some property owners, developers, construction industry professionals, and other building permit- and authorization-holders may be eligible for extensions to preserve their development and construction rights. A Florida law allows certain qualifying permits and authorizations to be extended beyond their current expiration dates once the Governor issues a […]

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Housing For Older Persons

In 1968 the Federal Fair Housing Act (also known as Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act) was enacted to prohibit discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Subsequently, in 1988 the Act was amended to add discrimination based on disability and family status and in 1995 the Housing for Older Persons […]

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Keeping Your HOA’s Covenants Alive

The Marketable Record Title Act’s (MRTA) purpose is to extinguish old interests and use restrictions on lands and to allow for land sales to be completed more easily and with less expense. Unfortunately, aged homeowners’ association covenants are amongst the interests that can be extinguished by MRTA, and preventing such extinguishment is a very important […]

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Can Anything Be Done About Solar Panels?

If you are living in a homeowners association you probably know that the Association cannot prohibit the installation of solar panels (or “solar collectors”). But what about a request to install such devices on the roof of a condominium? Section 163.04, Florida Statutes, provides: A deed restriction, covenant, declaration, or similar binding agreement may not […]

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No Pets In Publix

Upon my weekly visit to Publix supermarket recently, I was met with very large signs stating: “No Pets Allowed. This Includes Emotional Support Animals.” Well, technically, emotional support animals are not “pets,” but I get what Publix is trying to do. Animals and food just don’t mix. They are cracking down on animals being brought […]

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Part 2: Can an Association Prohibit Smoking in Its Condominium?

As mentioned in Part 1, published in last month’s community update, an association can prohibit smoking in the common elements/common areas by adopting a Rule. An association may also want to prevent smoking on balconies and patios. If the balconies and patios are limited common elements, then just like the common elements, the association can […]

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Breed-Specific Dog Bans

In 1989, in the wake of a series of serious injuries caused by pit bulls, most notably the mauling of a 7-year-old girl and her mother, Miami-Dade County adopted an ordinance making it illegal for residents to own or keep an American Pit Bull, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or any other dog whose […]

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Townhome, Condominium, and New Construction Home Issues in Central Florida: Helping Homeowners Navigate the Legal Process

Purchasing a new townhome, condominium, or single-family home in Central Florida is an exciting milestone, but construction defects can quickly turn that dream into a nightmare. At Becker, our construction attorneys specialize in representing homeowners and homeowners’ associations facing construction defects, offering expert legal guidance and advocacy. In this article, we will discuss residential construction […]

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Florida Governor Signs SB 250 into Law

On June 28, 2023, the Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law Senate Bill 250 (see Chapter 2023-304, Laws of Florida), which makes various amendments throughout the Florida Statutes regarding the preparation and response activities of state and local governments when natural emergencies impact the state. Supporters of Senate Bill 250 (the “Bill”) believe the Bill […]

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Florida’s “Live Local Act” Takes Effect

On March 29, 2023, the Governor signed the “Live Local Act” (SB 102) into law. The Act is designed to increase the availability of affordable housing opportunities for Florida’s workforce, and includes funding appropriated for affordable and workforce housing initiatives, downpayment assistance, and tax credit programs. Local jurisdictions are also now preempted on certain land […]

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New Florida Law Restricting Certain Foreign Ownership of Real Property

On May 8, 2023, Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law Senate Bill 264, creating Part III of Chapter 692 (692.201-692.205) of the Florida Statutes “Conveyances to Foreign Entities”. This new law goes into effect on July 1, 2023 and places substantial prohibitions on foreign citizens and entities from certain foreign countries from purchasing property wit

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Part 1: Can an Association Prohibit Smoking in Its Condominium?

Secondhand smoke is formed from a burning cigarette or the smoke exhaled by the cigarette smoker. Secondhand smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals, hundreds of which are toxic and nearly 70 can cause cancer. From 1964 to 2014, the Surgeon General reported that 2.5 million nonsmoking adults died from inhaling secondhand smoke. These are scary numbers […]

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Strict Compliance vs. Substantial Compliance – Not Knowing the Difference Can Cost You!

The Florida statues governing community associations often provide timeframes for notice to owners before the association can proceed with action, including passage of special assessments, adoption of fines and collections. While some statutory sections allow for “substantial compliance” with the statutory requirements, associations should be aware that the statutory timeframes require “strict compliance.” This means […]

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Is Your Community Association Receiving the Benefits of the Municipal Services Act?

New Jersey’s Municipal Services Act, N.J.S.A. 40:67-23.2 to -23.8, which went into effect in 1993, is the first (and possibly still the only) legislation in the country that requires cities and towns to provide certain municipal services or reimbursements to community associations within their borders. In short, the Act requires every municipality in New Jersey to either: […]

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What Are Limited Common Elements and Who’s Responsible?

The Florida Condominium Act defines limited common elements as those common elements that are reserved for the use of a certain unit or group of units, as specified in the declaration of the condominium. This definition indicates that the limited common elements are a subset of the common elements. Examples of what may be included […]

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The New Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Lender Questionnaire: To Answer, or Not to Answer, That Is the Question!

The Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac”) recently issued new temporary requirements as an attempt to mitigate risk in community association loan underwriting. Many other industries within the community association world, such as insurance, have adjusted costs and guidelines in an effort to mitigate risk as […]

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Getting “Flag Ready” for the Fourth of July

Flags serve as a powerful symbol of a nation, its ideals, and its people, and their display in community associations is addressed under State law. The Florida Condominium Act permits a unit owner to display, in a respectful manner, one portable, removable United States flag and portable, removable official flags, not larger than 4.5-feet by […]

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Is your Association Safe from a Large Counsel Fee Award?

Lately, there has been an uptick in lawsuits against our Associations when the majority of the Board decides to remove a Board Member who has allegedly become unruly or is proving to be very difficult to handle.  Most governing documents contain provisions whereby the Association indemnifies all Board Members against  losses, costs, and expenses that […]

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Understanding the New Timeframes for Collections

Associations frequently ask the question: “When should a delinquent owner be turned over for collections?” To fully answer to this question, the association must understand the relatively new statutory requirements that must be fulfilled before an account is turned over to legal counsel for collections, as well as understanding the increased timeframes an owner is […]

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New Laws Regarding Emotional Support Animals

Nothing evokes more of an “emotional” response than the issue of emotional support animals in a no-pet community. While this is not a new issue, and has been discussed many times in this forum and others, Florida laws affect how a community handles a request for a reasonable accommodation to its governing documents, rules and […]

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Borrowing Money

We have been receiving a number of loan requests. Even though we’ve done articles in this forum regarding association borrowing in the past, there are some issues that keep reoccurring. Do not start the borrowing process without a discussion with your attorney. Often, we are asked to assist an association in obtaining a loan, but […]

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Does Your Association Allow You to Use the Clubhouse for Political Events?

Florida Statutes allow the Condominium unit owners to use the common elements for the purposes for which the common elements were intended as long as their “use does not hinder or encroach upon the lawful rights of other unit owners.” The statute also permits the Board of Directors to create and adopt reasonable rules pertaining […]

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