I have previously written a few articles for our Community Update about the website requirement for condominiums operating at least 150 units. Just recently, I represented a condominium that was being investigated by the Division of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), for among other things, failing to have a website. While that issue resolved amicably for my client, the investigator brought to light an error in how some associations are trying to comply with the Statute. The Condominium Act (Section 718.111(12)(g)1.b.) specifically requires that the official records which are being uploaded be accessible through a password protected area of the website.
The association’s website must be accessible through the Internet and must contain a subpage, web portal, or other protected electronic location that is inaccessible to the general public and accessible only to unit owners and employees of the association.
The key is password protected. The investigator advised that some associations that already had websites in place before the law became effective, simply uploaded the required documents, but did so in such a way that anyone visiting the website could see the records – whether a resident or not. In other words, no password protection. Also, some associations that didn’t originally have websites, simply created one by the January 1, 2019 deadline and uploaded their documents, but did so without password protection. In both scenarios the association is in violation of the Statute and is subject to a fine by the DBPR. This “Public Service Announcement” (i.e., “PSA”) is my friendly reminder to comply with what the Statute requires. Make sure your website has the proper password protections, make sure the documents required for uploading are actually uploaded, and make sure to maintain the website. In other words, do not simply do the initial work to get the site up and running and call it a day. As the association’s physical official records are augmented by board meetings, members meetings, and the day-to-day operations of the condominium, so should the documents uploaded to the website. Also, remember that simply providing owners with access to a cloud service (Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft One Drive, etc.) does not comply with the statute. The association must have an “independent website or web portal” owned/operated by the association or operated by a third party yet owned/leased by the association.