Law Office of Ryan S. Shipp, PLLC

Florida reforms condominium association laws

As long as you have been a member of the board of the condo association in your community, you have probably dealt with your share of accusations and conflicts. Certainly, there have been condo owners who have complained about the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions and some who have clearly not even read that document. Perhaps you have even dealt with board members who had personal agendas at heart instead of the good of the community.

While homeowners associations seem to get more negative press than positive, you believe in the good an HOA can do in strengthening the community and maintaining the values of the condos within it. Perhaps you welcome the new condo law reforms recently signed by Gov. Rick Scott, or maybe you see these reforms as another way to make villains out of HOAs.

How the new law affects your board

You may have read the recent investigation revealing evidence that members of numerous condo associations in Florida apparently used their positions for personal gain. The newspaper report included accusations of forging signatures on ballots to rig elections, embezzlement and conflict of interests, among other examples of misconduct.

As a result of the investigation, a state attorney appointed a grand jury, which agreed with the conclusions of the newspaper investigation and urged lawmakers to consider reforming laws concerning condo associations. Now, you and the members of your board are accountable to the following new requirements:

  • If there are more than 150 units in your community, you must establish a password-protected web page to publish your condo association's financial reports.
  • Hiding such documents from condo owners to cover acts of fraud may result in felony charges.
  • You may serve only eight years as director of your condo association unless the owners overwhelmingly vote you back in office.
  • During condo association board elections, any voter fraud, such as falsifying ballot signatures or hiding ballots, may lead to felony charges and imprisonment for convictions.
  • If condo owners elect you director of their association, you cannot receive payment from the HOA for services such as cleaning or painting, nor may you hire relatives for those jobs.

These reforms apparently touch only a portion of the accusations made in the newspaper investigation, and some fear they may result in the wrongful punishment of innocent people. However, for those condo owners who have dealt with unscrupulous HOAs, these changes may be the beginning of turning their condo association boards back into the community-minded entities they are meant to be.

Meanwhile, you and your board members may be examining the transparency in your own association and discussing ways to comply with the new laws. You may benefit from obtaining legal advice from a professional who is knowledgeable in condominium and homeowners associations' statues.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Law Office of Ryan S. Shipp, PLLC | 814 W. Lantana Rd., Suite 1 | Lantana, Florida 33462 | Phone: (561) 699-0399 | Map & Directions