Section 720.3045, Florida Statutes was created during the recent legislative session as part of House Bill 437. This section prevents associations from restricting the installation, display and storage of “any item” on a parcel that is not visible from the parcel’s frontage or an adjacent parcel, unless same are prohibited by general law or local ordinance. This means that homeowners and residents of such parcels are permitted to install artificial turf or install items within such areas of the parcels and/or maintain recreational vehicles, campers, boats and other items in such areas.
Section 720.3045, Florida Statute specifically reads as follows:
. . . Regardless of any covenants, restrictions, bylaws, rules, or requirements of an association, and unless prohibited by general law or local ordinance, an association may not restrict parcel owners or their tenants from installing, displaying, or storing any items on a parcel which are not visible from the parcel’s frontage or an adjacent parcel, including, but not limited to, artificial turf, boats, flags, and recreational vehicles.
Numerous homeowner associations have covenants and restrictions governing the storage of items on homeowners’ and residents’ property, regardless of where the items are stored and whether such items are visible to third parties. Typically, these items include boats, trailers, sheds, construction equipment, and junk. This is of particular significance to communities with park areas, golf courses, walkways and ponds that abut parcels. The term “parcel” is defined in Section 720.301(11), Florida Statutes, to include a subdivision of real property within a community, capable of separate conveyance, as described in a declaration, for which a parcel owner must be a member of an association and pay assessments which could result in a lien. Because Section 720.3045, Florida Statutes, uses the term “parcel” to delineate where storage can occur, an association is prohibited from regulating backyard storage which may be visible across a waterway, from a golf course or a community park behind the parcel.
This statutory provision is effective and applicable to all homeowners associations as to any covenants, conditions, or restrictions created subsequent to July 1, 2023. However, there is an argument that this new statutory provision should not apply retroactively or invalidate covenants, conditions, and restrictions in existence prior to the Statute’s effective date, barring specific language in existing covenants, conditions, or restrictions which incorporates subsequent statutory amendments. Should you have any questions regarding the applicability of new laws to your existing governing documents, you should contact your association’s legal counsel.