FL Legislature passes condo bill including criminal penalties

HB 1237 substituted for SB 1682, passes Senate unanimously.

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities

 

Updated 7:45 PM

Despite strong opposition by indsutry trade group Community Associations Institute and at least one member of the Florida Bar, the Legislature in the Sunshine State managed to pass HB 1237 this afternoon.

Reference:

http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2017/01237/?Tab=BillHistory

The bill makes significant reforms to condominium statute, in the wake of mass condo resident protests over corruption and criminal activity in South Florida, in particular, Miami-Dade County.

As reported by the Miami Herald on April 25th, much to the dismay of condo owner advocates, the bill was amended last week by lawmakers to remove criminal misdemeanor penalties for repeated failure to provide access to association records upon a valid request by a condo owner.

Reference:

Proposed condo reform bill expected to go before Florida legislature for final vote
BY BRENDA MEDINA
bmedina@elnuevoherald.com

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/article146737889.html

 

However, as passed today, following a 37-0 vote in the Senate, HB 1237 includes criminal penalties for tampering with election ballots, falsifying information, destruction of association records, and “refusal to allow inspection or copying of an official record of a condominium association that is accessible to unit owners within the time periods required by general law in furtherance of any crime.”

 

 

Notice that refusal to provide access to records, if not related to a provable crime, would not result in a criminal penalty.

Read entire engrossed bill, HB 1237 here:

http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2017/1237/BillText/er/PDF

 

The bill also includes several other provisions intended to protect the interests of all condominium owners and residents:

  • Tenants are now legally entitled to access to the Bylaws, and Rules and Regulations of a condo association.
  • Condo associations will be prohibited from hiring the same attorney that represents their community manager or management company.
  • Condo board members must follow strict disclosure requirements in order to avoid conficts of interest in awarding of contracts.
  • Kickbacks and other favors to board members and managers are expressly prohibited.
  • In order to promote transparency, all condo associations of 150 or more units will be required to post certain association records on a website, readily accessible to all members (but not the general public).
  • Each condo association will be required to file an annual report with the state of Florida, and provide notice and access to all condo owners of that annual report.
  • Condo association board members are subject to term limits, with certain exceptions.
  • The condominium Ombudsman will now have the authority to examine ballots cast by association members.

More information to follow as it becomes available.

UPDATE (May 4, 2017) Link to bill summary and CCFJ, Florida:

http://www.ccfj.net/LEGSESS17H1237EGSumm.html

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7 Replies to “FL Legislature passes condo bill including criminal penalties”

  1. If a board member has already served more than 4 consecutive 2 year terms, will they be eligible for re-election or does the 4, 2 year limits begin on July 1, 2017?

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    1. That is a very good question. My guess is that will be subject to legal interpretation. I am not sure if the statute would allow the HOA to count years served on the board retroactively. My guess would be, probably not, but I am not an attorney. It is also unclear how the association will handle the process – does the HOA now need to take a vote prior to accepting the incumbent candidate on the ballot (assuming there are enough other candidates to make an election necessary)?

      HB1237 says:
      Board members may serve 2-year terms if
      610 permitted by the bylaws or articles of incorporation. A board
      611 member may not serve more than four consecutive 2-year terms,
      612 unless approved by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the
      613 total voting interests of the association or unless there are
      614 not enough eligible candidates to fill the vacancies on the
      615 board at the time of the vacancy.

      Like

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