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.
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.
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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:
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: