The 2023 Legislative Session has brought significant changes to Community Associations. In this Community Update, we address new restrictions on design and construction defect claims as well as recent amendments to the Florida Fire Prevention Code. Don’t miss the latest podcast featuring Dr. Esber Andiroglu, Professor Harold R. Wanless, and Donna DiMaggio Berger on the devastating impacts of sea-level rise.
Associations frequently ask the question: “When should a delinquent owner be turned over for collections?” Joy Mattingly discusses recent statutory requirements in the article, “Understanding the New Timeframes for Collections.”
Florida laws governing community associations require notice of meetings to encourage owner participation. Kathleen Berkey provides a helpful guide summarizing the “Condo/Co-Op/HOA Meeting Agendas & Notice Requirements.”
With hurricane season quickly approaching, it is important that you prepare for the worst (and hope for the best)! “The Worst Storm Is the Storm You Didn’t Prepare For” by Jennifer Biletnikoff shares important tips for the 2023 hurricane season.
Association approval rights for unit purchases is at the heart of, “THIS CASE: Coquina Club, Inc. v. Mantz” by Jay Roberts. Find out why this case is important.
By: K. Joy Mattingly
Associations frequently ask the question: “When should a delinquent owner be turned over for collections?” To fully answer to this question, the association must understand the relatively new statutory requirements that must be fulfilled before an account is turned over to legal counsel for collections, as well as understanding the increased timeframes an owner is given to remit payment in both condominium and cooperative associations. These timeframes impact how quickly an association can proceed with collections and foreclosure proceedings against delinquent owners.
Florida laws governing community associations require notice of meetings to encourage owner participation. Here is a helpful guide summarizing the notice requirements under statute; however, this guide is not intended to be all inclusive and is only for general reference.
With hurricane season quickly approaching, it is important that you prepare for the worst (and hope for the best)! Hurricane season is June 1 through November 30. This article will provide tips to help prepare your 2023 hurricane preparedness guide, as well as provide actions that you can take before a hurricane makes landfall. The time is now to prepare your community for every possibility.
By: Mark D. Friedman
Can a non-owner be a Board member in a condominium?
Every year this question comes up in one form or another. In some cases, it is a spouse who is not on the deed who wants to be on the Board. In other cases, someone who is on the Board moves away but his/her term is not up.
Coquina Club, Inc. v. Mantz
342 So.2d 112 (Fla. 2d DCA 1977)
Association approval rights for unit purchases is at the heart of THIS CASE. The Coquina Club declaration of condominium required approval by the board of directors of new unit purchasers. The declaration of condominium also restricted ownership of units to persons without children under the age of twelve. [Note: This was in the days prior to the Fair Housing Laws as such a restriction would not be legal in 2023 in a community that was not Housing for Older Persons.] The association received an application for purchase of a unit, and on the face of the application it stated that the potential purchasers had two children under the age of twelve. On this basis, the association rejected the application, and refused to provide a substitute purchaser.
The unit owner (seller) sued the association, asserting that association was required, pursuant to the declaration of condominium, to provide a substitute purchaser for the unit. The trial court agreed with the unit owner and entered a final judgment requiring the association to timely provide a substitute purchaser, and providing for a mechanism for awarding monetary damages, including punitive damages, in the event the association failed to do so. The association appealed the trial court’s ruling.
In overturning the trial court, the appellate court noted that the age restriction clause existed from the time that the developer created the condominium. The court further held that there was no need for the association to provide a substitute purchaser for the unit because the original applicant was not facially qualified due to the children under the age of twelve.
So why does THIS CASE matter? Florida law allows for pre-screening and approval of condominium unit purchasers. Each association should have very clear provisions in its declaration of condominium, based on current Housing and Urban Development guidelines, specifying the legal, non-discriminatory reasons for denial, to create a level playing field for all sellers and applicants. If the purchaser is qualified to own the unit, and the association denies the purchase application, the association must still find a substitute purchaser for the unit so that is why clear guidelines are important. A very important caveat to THIS CASE is that in 1988 the Federal Fair Housing Act was amended in such a way that governing documents could not restrict a purchaser due to the purchaser having children unless the community is a properly constituted 55+ age community. You should discuss any potential purchase denials with your association counsel.
Question of the Month
Q: A question has arisen in my condominium association regarding what vote is required to change the property. At a recent meeting, 2/3rds voted in favor. However, this was just 2/3rds of the proxies, and not 2/3rds of everybody. Isn’t there a minimum number of votes required to make certain changes to the property?
FLORIDA FURTHER RESTRICTS COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION’S ABILITY TO BRING DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION DEFECT LAWSUITS
By: Aaron K. Crews
Several laws have been passed during Florida’s recent legislative session, and one in particular will have a significant impact for community associations. On April 13, 2023, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 360 (“SB 360”) into law. This new law shortens the time period for bringing lawsuits based on design and construction defect claims and creates new legal hurdles for multi-building communities.
CALLING ALL BOARD MEMBERS AND COMMUNITY MANAGERS
As leaders in Community Association Law, we not only helped write the law – we also teach it.
Did you know Becker provides over 200 educational classes per year throughout the State of Florida on a variety of topics ranging from board member certification to compliance, and everything in between? Our most popular classes are now available online!
To view our entire class roster, visit: beckerlawyers.com/classes
UPCOMING CLASS OFFERING:
- How to Properly Run an Election
05/11/23 – 10:00AM – Registration coming soon
Can They Do That?
Becker’s “Can They Do That” video series tackles some of the unique problems that homeowners and renters face today. We answer your questions, no matter how far-fetched they may seem. From service animals to nudists in your community, we get to the bottom of it and let you know – “Can They Do That?”
Becker Steps Up to the Mic with Podcast,
‘Take It To The Board with Donna DiMaggio Berger’
Think you know what community association life is all about? Think again. Residents must obey the rules, directors must follow the law, and managers must keep it all running smoothly. Take It To the Board explores the reality of life in a condominium, cooperative or homeowners’ association, what’s really involved in serving on its board, and how to maintain that ever-so-delicate balance of being legally compliant and community spirited. Leading community association attorney Donna DiMaggio Berger acknowledges the balancing act without losing her sense of humor as she talks with a variety of association leaders, experts, and vendors about the challenges and benefits of the community association lifestyle.
- A Discussion on Successful Real Estate Design in the Luxury Space with TRUMP!
- We’re Not Just Droning On – A Conversation with Drone Experts Chris Tonn and Neil Johnston On Your Community’s Potential Challenges with Drones
- Copyright Consequences You Need to Know with Dave Davis and Scott Templeton of Motion Picture Licensing Corporation
- Pickleball Mania and How it is Affecting Your Community with CA Messana
- Navigating the Negative Impacts of Sea Level Rise with Professor Harold R. Wanless and Dr. Esber Andiroglu
Featured Episode: Navigating the Negative Impacts of Sea Level Rise with Professor Harold R. Wanless and Dr. Esber Andiroglu
Professor Harold “Hal” R. Wanless and Dr. Esber Andiroglu sit down with host Donna DiMaggio Berger to discuss the devastating impacts of sea-level rise. This episode is especially timely given flood waters that recently turned parts of Broward and Sunrise Boulevards in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, into an unfathomable makeshift marina causing damage to property and infrastructure, disrupting transportation, and posing a threat to public safety. While the torrential downpour has wreaked havoc on the city, we hope it will prompt a greater sense of urgency to address the effects of climate change and invest in sustainable infrastructure to prevent such disasters from occurring in the future. Join us as we talk about how coastal communities are currently repairing and upgrading their seawalls to comply with local ordinances, and the challenges they face in levying large special assessments to fund these projects.
DID YOU KNOW?
Becker & Poliakoff Celebrates 50th Anniversary
50 Years of Outstanding Client Service and Dedication to Communities
Becker is proud of its beginnings and contribution to the creation of laws governing shared ownership housing in Florida. With 11 offices throughout Florida and additional locations in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., Becker has established itself as a prominent player in the legal industry. Becker’s Managing Shareholder Gary C. Rosen said, “We are proud to celebrate our 50th anniversary and attribute our longevity and success to the hard work and loyalty of our employees. This milestone is a testament to the firm’s commitment to excellence, perseverance, and dedication to its clients. We plan to carry forward the legacy and culture that our founders established for years to come.”
FIRE SPRINKLER/ELSS UPDATE FOR HIGH-RISE BUILDINGS
If you own a unit in a high-rise condominium or manage such condominiums, you are likely aware that the Condominium Act requires that the condominium buildings must be retrofitted with a fire sprinkler system or an engineered life-safety system (ELSS). The Condominium Act provides that the local authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) may not require completion of such system before January 1, 2024.
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