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Florida Condo & HOA Legal Blog News & Updates on Condo & HOA Laws & Legislation in the State of Florida

SB 1196 Becomes Law: New Condo/HOA Regulations

Posted in Legislation

SB 1196 contains significant changes for community associations.  

Governor Crist had until June 1, 2010 to act on SB 1196.  While I have included bullet point explanations of some of the changes, over the next few weeks please check for more in depth information about how these new provisions will impact your association’s operations.

Community associations across the state are breathing a sigh of relief – many of them will not be required to retrofit the buildings with fire sprinklers or install fire alarms, both expensive propositions in light of the record number of foreclosures and budget shortfalls.  In most cases elevator upgrades can be put off for five (5) years – hopefully the residential market will gain stability in that time, making the costs associated with the elevator improvements easier to fund.

Attention:  If you are a non-paying, non-resident unit owner and lease your unit, the association may demand future payments of rent from the tenant to satisfy your financial obligations, without filing a lawsuit first. 

Legislators all over the state heard complaints about the repair, upkeep and staffing requirements associated with recreational facilities.  Paying unit owners were demonstrably upset (justifiably so) that non-paying owners could enjoy the use of the recreational facilities, in some cases precluding paying owners from use due to over-crowding.  Under this new law, associations can suspend the use of recreational facilities if assessments are more than ninety (90) days past due.  Of course, associations cannot suspend any utility services, parking spaces or means of access to the unit.  The effectiveness of suspending use rights remains to be seen, but the provision itself should make owners think twice before defaulting.

This bill also includes the "Distressed Condominium Relief Act".  While the act doesn’t protect buyers that acquire title after July 1, 2012, it will impact condominium associations for a number of years with respect to warranty, construction, accounting claims and the like.

  • Frank Golle

    Rumor has it that the Governor has a bill before him that would raise the voting approval to 75% for apparently new Condo and/or HOA amenities. True or false?
    Thank you.
    RESPONSE: You may be referring to the new section 720.31, Florida Statutes. It says that HOAs can acquire leased property, memberships and other interests in lands or facilities (including country clubs, marinas, golf courses, etc.) more than a year after recording the Declaration if the governing documents contain that authority or if 75% of the members agree.

  • Edward Katz

    Will the law only cover bulk purchases after it was signed into law or grandfather purchases made prior to it’s enactment. If so how far back will it go?
    Thanks.

  • Marc Krever

    Are cable TV services considered a utility? Our HOA pays approx. $50 per month per unit for basic services. Comcast has refused to cut the services for those people who have stopped paying their maintenance fees, even if we pay the monthly dues and pay for the service to shut off the service. Without cable TVs service, it might give those people who have refused to pay their maintenance fess, an incentive to do so.
    RESPONSE: You hit the $64,000 question. Maybe Comcast will change its policy as a result of the new law. I understand Comcast (and perhaps some other providers) believed that suspending service to individuals constituted a violation of the telecommunications act and federal regulations. Check back in a few weeks – we will be sure to post something related to suspending cable/television programming.

  • Miriam Galiana

    Plase inform me if there is a new requirement for board members to take a class or an exam to run for the board otherwise the association will be null and void.
    Is this something new? please let me know
    RESPONSE: The new law (effective July 1) requires board members to provide the association with a certification or evidence of completion of an approved course within 90 days of being elected or appointed. Please check the site in the future for the required elements of the certification.

  • N. D. Searle

    Does SB1196 say anything about the requirement of installing hard wired smoke detectors in condominium buildings that are less than 3 stories in height?
    Is it still a requirement in these buildings?
    RESPONSE: SB 1196 contains a provision that allows buildings of less than 3 stories with outside access (catwalks) to avoid installing manual fire alarms. You can thank the folks at the Wynmoor community in Broward County for this amendment to Senator Ring’s bill.

  • http://kwhomes.net joanne tarantino

    The new law stipulates that upon foreclosure the lender must now pay up to 12 months of back hoa dues or 1% of loan balance vs 6 months. Is that effect immedialty once the bill goes into effect regardless of when the loan was placed on the property?
    RESPONSE: While it is hard to predict how the lenders will interpret the bill, many community association attorneys believe that the new law will apply to acquisitions of title by lenders that take place July 1, 2010 forward, if the original mortgage was recorded after April 1992 (the effective date of the “safe harbor”).

  • j crumbie

    I’d like some comments about notifying HOA members if there is a registered sex offender renting in their complex. Is there a requirement to notify the membership? Is there any law preventing the notification of the members?
    Our Board seems reluctant to notify the members because of some “privacy” issues.
    Thanks,
    J

  • Mike

    I’ve recently read about a reverse foreclosure case that ended in a Miami court where the condo was awarded to the association, but they then told the court they did not want it and so the judge handed it to the lender. In that case the owners were behind in both the mortgage and the the HOA fees. Would this reverse foreclosure process also work when the owners are “only” not paying the HOA fees and are up to date with the mortgage ?

  • Gale Gunther

    Under the new law SB1196, the Associations can suspend the use of recreational facilities if assessments are more than ninety (90) days past due. Does this law take effect on July 01, 2010? Is it necessary for the Association to do a 30 day duly noticed board meeeting and also to notify the unit owner 30 days in advance?
    Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

  • Eleanor

    I am in the process of buying a condo (first time homeowner) I need to get interior condo insurance as required by my mortgage holder. What are the laws regarding this now in the state of Florida? An insurance agent told me it is required to pay approx 50.00 per square foot for replacement cost and that 80% is required for placement cost.
    I am not very good at understanding insurance. Can you help?
    Thanks

  • Claude Fabre

    Does the new law allow any association to put pressure on a mortgager to execute foreclosure to thwart their continuous postponement of hearing dates?
    Is it worthwhile for an association to file for a certificate of title on a foreclosed property in order to take over the unit and start collecting rent either from the deadbeat owner or his tenant? Would this allow the association to evict the owner, if he continued to live in the unit, or his tenant? Thanks for your input
    Claude Fabre

  • http://www.sarasota101.com Sandra Israelson

    If an owner who is more than 90 days delinquent on his condo fees has filed bankruptcy, does the association still have the ability to demand the rent from his tenant? Or does the bankruptcy stay prevent this? Can we revoke the tenant’s right to use the common amenities if we are unable to collect the rent? Thanks.

  • Robert Sturm

    Are there any restrictions on a recalled HOA Board member running for election? Assuming that they are not in arrears on their dues.

  • Yelitza Rivera

    Under the new law SB1196, the Associations can suspend the use of recreational facilities if assessments are more than ninety (90) days past due. But what happens if the homeowner has made an arrangement with the association and is paying monthly fees plus monies owed that is past due to keep current. Can they still suspend the use of recreational facilities???
    Thank you

  • candlewood HOA

    Can fees and fines and renditions be included with the one year of assessment?

  • Phil clark

    Can fees and fines and renditions be included with the one year of assessment?

  • Debbie VanScoyoc

    Please clarify SB 1196 on the ability of Association’s to directly collect rents from tenants of delinquent owners. How do we begin the process?
    Thank you
    RESPONSE: There are many open issues with respect to this new law. The law says that the association must make a written demand to the tenant and send a written notice to the unit owner. The association must provide written receipts upon request. There may be many disputes between associations and owners as a result of this law – exposing the association to liability if it doesn’t cross every “t” or dot every “i”. The board members are not expected to analyze and interpret the law – they may rely on counsel to assist them through this process.

  • Barbara Lemley

    Who rules? If the homeowners association in a gated community rules and regulations indicate a unit can not be rented, is there a Florida Statute that over rides this issue. Single family town homes not condos.

  • Nina S Spinner-Sands

    I read, in an earlier blog, that Comcast will not turn off deliquent owners cable even though the association pays for it. You had replied that you thought that would change once it became law. Has that changed? And if not, what can we do about it?
    Thanking you, ahead of time, for your response.
    Nina

  • Nina S Spinner-Sands

    I read, in an earlier blog, that Comcast will not turn off deliquent owners cable even though the association pays for it. You had replied that you thought that would change once it became law. Has that changed?
    Nina

  • A Lees

    A June 27, 2010 article in the News Press regarding privacy rights and records states that you cannot publish emails and phone numbers in a neighborhood directory. Does this change apply to HOA’s and Condos or just Condos?
    Thank you

  • Edith M. Weigert

    What are the new voting rules for Homeowner’s Associations that were to begin July 1, 2010? That is under Statute 720.

  • Tina Starling

    I am an investment Realtor that sells condo’s only in Florida,,if you ask me,,which you did not,,,
    AFTER READING ALL OF YOUR BLOG QUESTIONS,,,THIS lAW IS A LAW SUIT WAITING TO HAPPEN,,WITH ALOT OF FIGHTING BETWEEN THE BOARDS,,ASSOCIATIONS,,AND OWNERS,,,IT WILL TAKE AWHILE TO WORK OUT ALL OF THE INS AND OUTS OF THIS LAW,,,AND THE INDIVIDUALS RIGHTS,,,WITH THE RECESSION AND MARKET EVERYONE IS UPSET,WE HAVE TO ALL THINK BEFORE WE REACT.

  • Alex

    Hello,
    I am in the process of trying to straighten out my mess. I have an attorney working with me trying to modify my loan. SIGH… My condo building requires a key fob for entry into the building and the building manager has now deactivated mine due to my delinquency. She states that the fob is an amenity and that the front desk person can grant access at all times. However, there is only one front desk person and this person naturally has breaks or has to perfom his/her dual duty as a security grounds keeper as well. I have politely contacted the building manager, who is a resident and was previously the board president. She apparently stepped down as board President and she is now the building manager. This is another issue though. What kind of legal action can I take? Any advise?
    RESPONSE: Alex, you have got to work out the delinquency with the association. Management will not give you “a break” without effort on your part. Show good faith.

  • ziad

    Hi-
    does the new law affect the previous rule that if an investor acquire a unit through foreclosure he will be responsible for all unpaid maintenance on the unit prior to his ownership?
    bank have now a limit of 1 year, does an investor have a limit or he will have to pay all the previous years?
    thank you
    RESPONSE: The statutes provide for joint and several liability. Thus, investors that purchase at the foreclosure sale bear responsibility for the entire balance on the account. The “safe harbor” is only for first mortgagees that acquire title as a result of the foreclosure (or deed in lieu).

  • zonia del portillo

    In the case of surplus money after the foreclosure sale, does the new owner have a right to claim that surplus?
    what if there is money owed to the Association and the Association does not initiate their claim with the foreclosure clerk within the 60 days time frame?

  • Paul W. Means

    Does Florida Law provide for the recovery of legal fees and costs when an HOA institutes against a member under an amendment to the Bylaws’ and Articles’ that is in contravention of the authority of the Declaration of Restrictive Covenants. Chapter 720 HOA Statutes do not address this, other than for SLAPP or fines.

  • Miranda

    Hi-
    Me and my best friend are living in a condo that her mother owns, but is delinquent and the home is in foreclosure. However, we are NOT on a lease and we do not pay any rent to her mother. We are now being served saying we must provide receipts of proof that rent has bene paid to owner (which we do not have because we do not pay rent). What can they possible do to us? Can we still be evicted? I thought only banks can evict you. Thanks for any help!!!
    RESPONSE: The 2010 statutes allow associations to collect rent from tenants. In order to maintain a level of comfort, I suggest trying to work something out where you pay the monthy maintenance fees to the association – its got to be less than market rent would be in another apartment and should delay foreclosure by the association.

  • David M.

    Still waiting for your opinion regarding cable TV (provided to all units under a bulk contract) and whether or not this is an “amenity” that can be terminated for condo units that are 90 days delinquent in their maintenance, etc.

  • David M.

    Really need an answer to the $64,000 question regarding cable service for delinquent units. The new law regarding the denial of use of common areas by delinquent owners is almost unenforceable. Who is going to tell such an owner/tenant to get out of the swimming pool or the gy
    gym, etc. That individual may simply ignore the demand and then what. Call the police !! Ha ha. By the time they show up (if at all), that individual (and their guests) will likely be gone! However, THE ONE THING WOULD SEEM EASY TO DO WOULD BE TO TURN OFF THE CABLE. AT LEAST THERE WOULD BE SOME KIND OF PENALTY FOR NOT PAYING MAINTENANCE !! The unit owner is NOT paying their share of this (bulk rate) sevice and therefore should not be entitled to receive it !!! PLEASE ADDRESS THIS ISSUE ASAP !!!
    RESPONSE: There are many factors to take into account, including ownership of the wiring and other improvements that transmit the service. DBPR takes the position that cable television is a utility that cannot be suspended. At least one of the large providers (Comcast) refuses to disconnect individual service to a resident as to do so may violate an individual subscriber agreement. Each association needs a separate determination from counsel, as there are many variables from each property to the next.

  • louie

    i live in a condo in swfl for several years. right after i purchased the condo the association announced that they would be dropping insurance due to lack of funds. after several years as a faithfully paying homeowner i was more than upset at the apparant “lack of funds” from the association still not carrying insurance. banks wont lend on condos that dont have insurance causing our values to plummet to almost nothing. as of june i stopped paying my dues since almost 3 years later there is still no insurance and no sign the association plans to do so anytime soon. my question is if i continue not to pay for a certain amount of time, am i only liable for the past 6 months of back payments like banks who forclose on a property are? or will i have to make all payments no matter how far back they may go. if im not liable for payments that are more than 6 or 12 months past due then i wonder what is the time frame that they can collect by florida law (6 months, 12 months).
    RESPONSE: Condominium associations must have insurance in compliance with §718.111(11), Florida Statutes. You will lose title to the unit if the association forecloses – but that doesn’t mean you won’t still be responsible for any existing mortgage. Contact the Florida Condominium Ombudsman’s office – they may be able to help.

  • louie

    i live in a condo in swfl for several years. right after i purchased the condo the association announced that they would be dropping insurance due to lack of funds. after several years as a faithfully paying homeowner i was more than upset at the apparant “lack of funds” from the association still not carrying insurance. banks wont lend on condos that dont have insurance causing our values to plummet to almost nothing. as of june i stopped paying my dues since almost 3 years later there is still no insurance and no sign the association plans to do so anytime soon. my question is if i continue not to pay for a certain amount of time, am i only liable for the past 6 months of back payments like banks who forclose on a property are? or will i have to make all payments no matter how far back they may go. if im not liable for payments that are more than 6 or 12 months past due then i wonder what is the time frame that they can collect by florida law (6 months, 12 months).

  • Christina

    When the unit owner is behind on their association fees and the HOA obtains the rent from the unit owner’s renter, does the HOA continue to receive full rent each month OR just enough rent to pay past due association fees due? How does that work?

  • Christina

    When the unit owner is behind on their association fees and the HOA obtains the rent from the unit owner’s renter, does the HOA continue to receive full rent each month OR just enough rent to pay past due association fees due? How does that work?

  • Ken

    Same question as Christina–does the association gain the right to collect rents from tenants forever, just because the owner fell behind once?
    Can the association use their attorneys to do the collecting from tenants and pass the attorneys fees on to the homeowner?
    Does this law apply to Condominium Associations, or only to Homeowners Associations? Where I live these names are not synonymous.
    RESPONSE: The new law allowing an association to collect rent when an owner is delinquent applies to both condominium and homeowners associations. Once the account is current, the association stops collecting rent.

  • Maria

    Our condominium was recently bought by an investor and currently he is running the association until the turnover in December. Due to the economic situation, even though the condominium has 121 apartments, there is only approximately 25 eligible to vote (due to either foreclosures or delinquencies of there association fees). The investor purchased in bulk 37 units which in turn gives him the majority vote.
    The investor would like to get a loan from the LLC that purchased the bulk units to lend the association to do upgrades to the building that the previous developer chose not to do.
    My question is if an investor is allowed to hold more than one position on the board and is the association allowed to get a loan or should an assessment be completed
    RESPONSE: Most of your inquiries are fact-specific and the issue of control over the association requires a further analysis. I suggest you contact the Ombudsman and/or Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares and Mobile Homes in this regard.

  • Oscar

    I have a condo which is paid off. I do not have homeowners insurance for such unit yet. Association is claiming proof of insurance for my unit stating that I am in violation of Florida Law which requiers to have homeowners insurance coverage. I understand that law is with no effect since June 8th, 2010. Am I right?
    RESPONSE: The condominium statutes do not mandate individual unit owner coverage. However, the governing documents of the community (Declaration of Condominium or Declaration of Covenants, etc.) may require the individual owners to carry insurance.

  • William Mitchell

    What is the minimum requirement for condominium parking spaces in Florida? If 25% of the required spaces were sold, can the state now come back and enforce the law by requiring a parking garage or other solution?
    RESPONSE: There are different requirements in the building codes for different parts of the state and the number of spaces may depend upon the date of original occupancy. However, the building codes often require the property owner (or operator, in this case, the Association) to comply with current requirements in connection with repair/renovation or for life safety reasons. You refer to a “sale” of the spaces – those sales may or may not be problematic. I suggest analysis by association counsel.

  • Bill M.

    We are researching a new mgt. assoc. and all appear indications are pointing to a firm in Pinellas county. We are located in Sarasota Conty. Q. We will be over 90 miles away from our current records (FY2010, Fy2011, etc). We can store our old records in our complex. As we interpert F.S 718(12)16.(b) the new management company must be located within 45 miles and someplace I read (where??) it must be the same county? Please advise asap. I have a BOD mtg. Thursday and I need some foundation to make a correct and informative decision.
    Thank you,
    Bill M.
    RESPONSE: The law requires the records to be maintained within the state and available for inspection by a member (upon request) within 45 miles of the condo or within the county. Your community must have a place to allow records inspections within 45 miles or the county.

  • Bob

    Is it legal for a “sitting president” to put together a (5 year), employment contract with an “Employee?” This employee quickly recieved her CAM licence, after Presdent was arrested for operating without a CAM.
    I’m looking at a contract that states that said Employee is currently recieving $35,160, two weeks vacation, and a 4% annual increase, and 3 weeks upon renewal of contract.
    This contract is up for renewal no later that 6 months prior to expiration of contract.
    All this was done between President and Manager, without the concent or knowledge of the unit-owners.
    This contract can be amended from time to time, by Employer and Employee.
    The “Employee may also act as an officer of the Employer, or director of Employer.
    Is this whole maneuver legal?
    RESPONSE: The board has authority to hire and employ staff as necessary. Some associations delegate this authority to the president. HOA boards are permitted to meet without notice to the community when dealing with personnel matters, but Condo boards must allow the unit owners to attend board meetings with limited exceptions.

  • Bob

    When a tenant gives notice to vacate, and landlord has a prospective tenant, but the tenant will
    not allow landlord to show unit, what can a landlord do to recover damages of lost time if
    prospective tenant changes their mind and goes elsewhere?
    Tenant was advised that the cost of an ad, plus $25 per day could be an issue if prospective tenant does not take unit.
    Can landlord use the “intention to impose a claim on their security” under Section 83.49 (#) Florida
    Statute?
    RESPONSE: This question is better addressed on a site devoted to landlord-tenant law.

  • Bob

    When a tenant gives notice to vacate, and landlord has a prospective tenant, but the tenant will
    not allow landlord to show unit, what can a landlord do to recover damages of lost time if
    prospective tenant changes their mind and goes elsewhere?
    Tenant was advised that the cost of an ad, plus $25 per day could be an issue if prospective tenant does not take unit.
    Can landlord use the “intention to impose a claim on their security” under Section 83.49 (#) Florida
    Statute?

  • Bob

    When a tenant gives notice to vacate, and landlord has a prospective tenant, but the tenant will
    not allow landlord to show unit, what can a landlord do to recover damages of lost time if
    prospective tenant changes their mind and goes elsewhere?
    Tenant was advised that the cost of an ad, plus $25 per day could be an issue if prospective tenant does not take unit.
    Can landlord use the “intention to impose a claim on their security” under Section 83.49 (#) Florida
    Statute?

  • JR

    I was told that this law only applied to Condos HOA’s and not homes, Is this true? I live in a home that is in foreclosure and I got a letter from the HOA saying that I had to pay them the rent from now on. I stopped paying the rent this month as soon as I i was served papers. I have two months left on my lease that would cover first and lasts. yet I can also stay and wait for the new owners and they will have to give me 90 days by law or Cash For Keys.. in Orlando they are paying $5,000 for people to move out. what should I do ????
    RESPONSE: Both condos & HOAs have the ability to demand rent.

  • Mary

    60% of the homeowners in our Central Florida condominium association are NOT paying their monthly dues, so the association keeps levying “special assessments” on those of us that ARE paying. I really don’t think this is right & I want to pull out of the HOA & only be responsible for our building. Is it legal what they are doing? Can we as homeowners of our building secede so to speak from our HOA?
    RESPONSE: The answer requires an analysis specific to your community and therefore cannot be addressed in this forum.

  • Judy

    How can an HOA Board member self-certify as classes as not within a reasonable distance?
    RESPONSE: We haven’t finshed publishing the schedule throughout the state. However, if none of these are close by, directors have an on-line option. Check out http://www.lifelonglearning.ecollege.com for on-line options that are state approved.

  • Lew

    Under SB 1196, does the employee privacy portion mean that an owner cannot know the salary/hourly wage of the employees of the association? I understand the health,insurance, disciplinary records are off limits.
    RESPONSE: Payroll records are likewise off-limits.

  • Dennis Mozier

    I read this in a guidebook for community associations referring to SB1196 and am concerned to how accurate it is:
    Homeowner’s Association – 720.305(2) “The HOA Statute previously only permitted fines where an association’s governing documents expressly authorized fining. The new amendment now authorizes all HOAs to levy fines pursuant to statute regardless of whether fining is authorized in the governing documents.”
    RESPONSE: The actual text of that portion of the statute reads as follows:
    If a member is delinquent for more than 90 days in paying a monetary obligation due the association, an association may suspend, until such monetary obligation is paid, the rights of a member or a member’s tenants, guests, or invitees, or both, to use common areas and facilities and may levy reasonable fines of up to $100 per violation, against any member or any tenant, guest, or invitee. A fine may be levied for each day of a continuing violation, with a single notice and opportunity for hearing, except that a fine may not exceed $1,000 in the aggregate unless otherwise provided in the governing documents. A fine of less than $1,000 may not become a lien against a parcel. In any action to recover a fine, the prevailing party is entitled to collect its reasonable attorney’s fees and costs from the nonprevailing party as determined by the court. The provisions regarding the suspension-of-use rights do not apply to the portion of common areas that must be used to provide access to the parcel or utility services provided to the parcel.
    (a)A fine or suspension may not be imposed without at least 14 days’ notice to the person sought to be fined or suspended and an opportunity for a hearing before a committee of at least three members appointed by the board who are not officers, directors, or employees of the association, or the spouse, parent, child, brother, or sister of an officer, director, or employee. If the committee, by majority vote, does not approve a proposed fine or suspension, it may not be imposed. If the association imposes a fine or suspension, the association must provide written notice of such fine or suspension by mail or hand delivery to the parcel owner and, if applicable, to any tenant, licensee, or invitee of the parcel owner.

  • Linda Shields

    I live in a 132 unit condo complex and have been advised that the board has declared themselves as the managment company. Is this legal. It was my understanding that a complex of more that 10 units must have an outside managment company. Please advise. Thank you for your assistance.

  • Linda Shields

    I live in a 132 unit condo complex and have been advised that the board has declared themselves as the managment company. Is this legal. It was my understanding that a complex of more that 10 units must have an outside managment company. Please advise. Thank you for your assistance.

  • GRAHAM WHITLOW

    Re SB 1196 – I live in a 133 unit condo community – some owners are saying they are not required by law or condo docs to purchase homeowners insurance .Please comment.
    If a leak or fire were to occur in a condo with no homeowners insurance in place – which damages common areas and/or another unit – to what extent would the unit owner with no homeowners insurance in place, be liable for the resulting damage to the association/other owners property ?
    I would think that any unit owner in his right mind would want to insure his furnishings etc – bearing in mind that the homeowners policy only covers damages from the paint on the inside walls to the inside of the condo ?
    RESPONSE: I agree with you – I cannot understand why someone would not want insurance coverage for their own property and to protect them from liability claims. That being said, the condominium act doesn’t force individual unit owners to buy insurance.

  • PAUL DREMANN

    I am a Board member in our Port Charlotte Condo. In 718.111 where new documents and records are excluded from official records, etc. has caused us to require waivers from every unit owner/renter to allow their phone number to be published in our yearly community only phone directory. Only about 20% of our members took the time to sign the waiver, so our phone directory is not complete, all because we are assuming it was the laws intent to sign a waiver before the office can add it to the phone directory. Are we correct in this?
    RESPONSE: The 2010 changes to the condominium act prohibit the association from publishing any information other than that provided by the owner as “official” contact information utilized for legal purposes. Thus, you need consent from the owners to publish any info (phone numbers, email addresses, home addresses, etc.) that is not considered the official address for legal notices.