Courtesy of The Lexology
Jeffrey R. Margolis
Published May 31, 2017
During the legislative session which ended on May 5,
2017, the Florida legislature passed 5 bills that will become law on July 1,
2017, unless vetoed by Florida’s Governor Scott: Senate Bill 398, House Bill
653, House Bill 1237; Senate Bill 1520, and HB 6027. Below is a summary of
the legislation which will be sent to the Governor.
Senate Bill 398: This bill changes the process and requirements
relating to issuance of estoppel letters by condominium and homeowners
associations as follows:
The time period for responding to a request for an
estoppel certificate is reduced from 15 days to 10 days, and if not
delivered within 10 days no fee can be charged for the estoppel.
The association’s website must contain the name and
street address or e-mail address of the person to whom requests for
estoppel certificates are to be sent.
Estoppel certificates must be delivered by hand, mail
or e-mail on the date the estoppel is issued.
Instead of being signed by an officer or agent of the
association, an estoppel certificate may be completed by any board
member, authorized agent or authorized representative of the
association, which specifically includes an agent or employee of the
association’s management company.
The statutes contain a statutory form of estoppel,
and all estoppel certificates must be substantially in the form provided
in the statute which includes general information, assessment
information, and other information relating to capital contributions,
required approvals to transfer a home or unit, and insurance.
An estoppel certificate is effective for 30 days (35
if delivered by regular mail).
The fee for an estoppel certificate may not exceed
$250 unless (a) the estoppel is requested on an expedited basis and is
delivered within 3 days, in which case an additional fee of up to $100
can be charged, or (b) delinquent assessments are owed in which case an
additional fee of up to $150 can be charged. The statutorily set fees
are to be adjusted every 5 years based on the CPI
The statute contains provisions regarding estoppel
certificates for multiple units owned by the same owner which are issued
House Bill 653: This bill addresses several
condominium and homeowners association matters including:
Certain condominiums that do not have a common area
sprinkler system are required to install signage approved by the Fire
Marshall warning of the lack of a common area sprinkler system.
Condominium association officers, director and
managers are specifically prohibited from accepting kickbacks, which
could result in criminal penalties.
Condominium election ballot and voting certificate
forgery, theft of condominium funds, and destruction or refusal to allow
access to official records of a condominium in furtherance of a crime
are all subject to criminal penalties.
New conflict provisions are added to the condominium
statute including (a) an association’s lawyer may not represent the
association’s management company, and (b) board members, managers, and
management companies may not purchase a unit at an association lien
Condominium official records are expanded to include
bids for materials, equipment and services.
By July 1, 2018, a condominium association with 150
or more units must have a secure website for which each owner must be
provided a login and password. The website must contain the various
condominium association official records including all condominium
documents, rules and regulations, management and other agreements to
which the association is a party, annual budget and proposed annual
budget, financial reports, board certifications, notice of any unit
owner meeting and the agenda within the statutory time periods which
must be posted in plain view on the front page of the website or a
separate subpage of the website labeled “Notices” which is conspicuously
visible and linked from the front page along with any document to be
considered and voted on by the owners during the meeting or any document
listed on the agenda, notices of board meetings and agendas within the
statutory time periods. Any information and documents which are
restricted from being accessible to unit owners may not be posted on the
website or, if posted, the protected information must be fully redacted.
Condominium associations that operate fewer than 50
units and homeowners associations of less than 50 parcels can no longer
opt to prepare a report of cash receipts and expenditures in lieu of
financial statements and must comply with the financial reporting
requirements based upon the total revenues of the association.
Annual condominium financial reports must be provided
within 5 days of request by a unit owner, and specific remedies and
enforcement by the Division are provided for failure to meet this
A condominium association, its officers, directors,
employees, and agents may not use a debit card issued in the name of the
association or billed directly to the association for payment of any
association expense. Doing so can be prosecuted as credit card fraud.
The fire sprinkler and engineered life safety systems
requirements and retrofitting of condominiums for buildings above the 75
foot threshold are clarified by the bill; buildings 75 feet or less are
exempt from such requirements.
The percentage of voting interests that can object to
and stop a plan of termination of a condominium from proceeding is
reduced from 10% to 5%, and if so objected the amount of time that
another plan of termination cannot be considered is increased from 8
months to 24 months. A plan of termination must be approved by the
Similar to condominium associations, board members of
homeowners associations may communicate via email. However, unlike
condominiums, board members may not vote by e-mail.
The automatic sunset date of July 1, 1018 for Part
VII of the Florida Condominium Act, the Distressed Condominium Relief
Act, was removed, thus continuing the protections of bulk buyers and
Board members of homeowners associations may
communicate via email, but may not vote by e-mail.
Homeowners associations may provide notice of board
meetings by posting on a website.
Delinquent members of a homeowners association cannot
escape their assessment obligation by including a restrictive
endorsement on their check, such as “paid in full”.
House Bill 1237: This bill pertains to condominium
associations and echoes many of the provisions of HB 653 and, in addition,
includes the following:
A board member of a condominium association may not
serve for more than 4 consecutive two-year terms unless approved by an
affirmative vote of two-thirds of the total voting interests of the
association, unless there are not enough eligible candidates to fill the
The recall provisions have been revised.
Condominium associations cannot employ or contract
with any service provider that is owned or operated by a board member or
with any person who has a financial relationship with a board member or
officer or a relative within the third degree of relation by blood or
marriage of a board member or officer.
A party contracting to provide maintenance or
management services to a condominium after turnover may not purchase a
unit at a foreclosure sale resulting from the association’s foreclosure
of its lien for unpaid assessments.
Directors and officers of a condominium board and the
relatives of such directors and officers must disclose to the board any
activity that may be reasonably construed to be a conflict of interest;
there are many listed occurrences which gave rise to a rebuttable
presumption of a conflict of interest if there is no prior notice of
The right of a condominium association to suspend
voting rights of an owner for non-payment of a monetary obligation to
the association is limited to a monetary obligation of more than $1000,
and proof of such non-payment must be provided to the unit owner at
least 30 days before such suspension takes effect.
Condominium associations must provide an annual
report to the Division containing the names of all of the financial
institutions with which the association maintains its financial
Senate Bill 1520: This bill amends the condominium
termination statute and echoes the provisions of HB 653 relating to Section
718.117, Florida Statutes.
House Bill 6027: This bill amends the financial reporting requires
for condominium and homeowners associations and echoes the provisions of HB
653 relating to financing reporting requirements.
These bills have not yet been sent to the Governor who, upon receipt, will
either sign the bills, veto the bills, or do nothing in which case the bills
will become law effective July 1, 2017.