As we welcome the new year, we’re greeted with a slate of proposed legislation that, if passed, can significantly impact the community association industry. The House and Senate have filed over 20 bills, including companion bills, that will be discussed during the 2024 regular legislative session beginning on January 9, 2024. The session is scheduled to end on March 8, 2024. Among the issues for lawmakers to decide on are structural safety and insurance reforms, transparency requirements, pilot programs, etc. Here are some of the major bills to track, paired with their companion bill, if applicable:
*Please note that the list below is limited and does not include all proposed bills. Additionally, the descriptions below are not comprehensive; we encourage readers to read the full version of each bill.
House Bill 1021 is 117 pages long and would enact significant changes for Florida condominiums. Some of these include requiring community association managers/firms to return association official records within 20 business days after termination, mandatory conflicts of interest disclosures from management firms and certain management firm employees, and disciplinary penalties for those violating the disclosure requirement. Additionally, both bills look to provide more clarity to owners on who is responsible for certain hurricane protections, make changes to the official records list by adding a few items, and, most significantly, allow associations to fulfill their obligations for official records requests if the requested records are posted on the association’s website. The House Bill also changes the association website requirement from condominiums with 150 or more units to those with 25+ units. Both bills add teeth to the penalties for those who willfully refuse to produce association records and change board meeting requirements, requiring that they meet at least four times a year, among other changes to this section.
Interestingly, the bills require newly elected/appointed board members to fulfill the board certification requirement by completing a division-approved board certification course and certifying in writing that they have read and will uphold the association’s documents/policies. This requirement can be met within one year before being elected/appointed or 90 days after the election/appointment, and the validation period for such certification is changed to 7 years after the date of issuance. It also changes the reserve requirements for condo buildings/units deemed unsafe/uninhabitable by the local agency until they are declared safe. Additional changes are proposed to the “structural integrity reserve” section, including changing the term “deferred maintenance” to “planned maintenance” and adding approved methods for funding reserves for milestone inspections such as lines of credit.
The Senate Bill, which is 105 pages long, adds an entire section to the statute, allowing condominiums to create investment committees and enable such associations to invest reserve funds in a combination of depository accounts. Other changes included in both bills are stricter penalties for fraudulent voting activities, changes to the expenditures of association funds, and more. If passed, these changes would become effective on July 1, 2024.
This bill establishes the “Condominium Fraud Investigation Pilot Program,” which creates a department responsible for investigating condominium-related fraud and corruption. The department has the power to contract with a private entity that employs retired law enforcement officers with subject matter experience or hire a suitable number of financial investigators, investigators with previous law enforcement experience, and clerical staff to execute the program. If a complaint is filed with the department and deemed valid after review, the department can conduct audits and issue subpoenas to investigate a claim further. The department must refer the case to the state attorney for prosecution if criminal activity is found.
Additionally, the bill creates a section mandating condominiums to submit specific information, including contact information of officers/directors/management company and copies of the association’s governing documents/budgets/reserve studies, to a searchable cloud-based database by July 1, 2026. If passed, the act would take effect on July 1, 2024.
These bills remove an association’s ability to charge for preparing an estoppel certificate. If passed, associations will be prohibited from charging a fee for the preparation/delivery of an estoppel certificate starting on July 1, 2024.
Other Bills to Track Include:
We will continue monitoring the proposed legislation and update readers on any changes. Please subscribe to our mailing list by clicking here to receive alerts and stay informed.