2017 Legislative Update for Florida’s Community Association Laws: Part II

On July 1st, the 2017 amendments to the Florida Statutes affecting community associations became effective.  The 2017 legislative amendments to the Condominium Act and Homeowners Association Act are substantial.  This post is Part II (click here for part I) in a three-part blog series detailing these legislative amendments and focuses on changes to the law concerning financial reporting requirements, criminal penalties, and official records.

Financial Reporting:

  • Removes the prior statutory provision allowing smaller associations operating fewer than 50 units / parcels to prepare only a report of cash receipts and expenditures in lieu of financial statements. Now all associations, regardless of number of units / parcels, must prepare a financial statement based on its annual revenues.  (Applies to condominiums, cooperatives and HOAs.);
  • Removes the provision prohibiting associations from waiving certain financial reporting requirements for more than three consecutive years. In other words, association members can vote to waive the required reporting to a lower form of reporting each year indefinitely.  (Applies to condominiums, cooperatives and HOAs.);
  • An association shall provide an annual report to the DBPR containing the names of all of the financial institutions that it maintains accounts with, and a copy of such report may be obtained from the DBPR upon written request of any association member. (Applies to condominiums only.);
  • An association must send a copy of the most recent financial report via mail or hand delivery within 5 business days after receipt of a written request from an owner. (Applies to condominiums only.);
  • An owner may provide written notice to the DBPR of the association’s failure to deliver a copy of the most recent financial report. If the DBPR determines that the association failed to mail or hand deliver a copy of the most recent financial report, the DBPR can send written notice to the association demanding compliance within five (5) business days.  An association that fails to comply with the DBPR’s demand may not waive the financial reporting requirement provided in the statute.  (Applies to condominiums only.);

Criminal Penalties:  (applies to condominiums only)

  • An officer, director, or manager may not solicit or accept any thing or service of value (a kickback) for his or her own benefit or that of his or her immediate family;
  • Forgery of a ballot envelope or voting certificate used in an election is punishable as a third degree felony;
  • Theft or embezzlement of association funds is punishable as a felony;
  • The destruction of or refusal to allow inspection or copying of the official records in furtherance of a crime is considered tampering with physical evidence or obstruction of justice;
  • An officer or director charged or indicted with a crime must be removed from office. If the charges are resolved without a finding of guilt, the officer or director must be reinstated for the remainder of his/her term, if any;
  • When criminal charges are pending against an officer or director, that person cannot become an officer or director of any association and may not have access to the official records of an association;

Official Records:  (applies to condominiums only)

  • Bids for materials, equipment or services are now an official record;
  • The renter of a unit has the right to inspect and copy the association’s bylaws and rules;
  • By July 1, 2018, an association with 150 or more units shall post digital copies of its official records on its website;

Please stay tuned for subsequent blog posts in this series that will address additional amendments to the community association statutes.

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