Understanding the New Law on Hurricane Protections for Homeowners’ Associations

Michael Toback
June 17, 2024

Hurricane Shutters

In late May, Florida’s Governor signed House Bill 293 into law, which addresses hurricane protections for homeowners’ associations.  Association directors, committee members, and property managers should review and, if necessary, revise their current approval policies to ensure compliance.

House Bill 293: Hurricane Protections for Homeowners’ Associations

Specifically, the new law states that all Florida homeowners associations, regardless of when they were first established, must adopt hurricane protection specifications for all of the structures and types of improvements located on a parcel within their community.  The law details that “hurricane protection” includes, but is not limited to, roof systems that comply with the Florida Building Code and meet ASCE 7-22 standards, permanent fixed storm shutters, roll-down track storm shutters, impact-resistant windows and doors, polycarbonate panels, reinforced garage doors, erosion controls, exterior fixed generators, fuel storage tanks, and other hurricane-protection products.

The hurricane protection standards that an association board (or applicable committee) must adopt may cover the color, style and other factors deemed relevant by the board, which adopted standards must comply with all applicable building codes.

With such approved specifications in place and notwithstanding any other provision(s) in an association’s governing documents, HOA boards and architectural review committees are barred from denying owners’ applications for the installation, enhancement or replacement of hurricane protections that conform to their community specifications.

“The board or committee may require a parcel owner to adhere to an existing unified building scheme regarding the external appearance of the structure or other improvement on the parcel,” reads the new legislation.

Considerations for Homeowners’ Associations

Given that this law has already gone into effect upon its gubernatorial approval, homeowners’ associations that require prior review for owners’ storm-hardening property improvements should immediately review and address their policies and standards.  Questions regarding the adoption of such specifications and how they will be enforced via an application and review process should be referred to highly qualified and experienced association legal counsel.

This new law is aimed at protecting the health, safety and welfare of the people of the state of Florida, while also enabling associations to help ensure uniformity and consistency in the hurricane protections installed by owners in their communities.  Given its plain language, HOAs and their boards of directors would be well advised to develop and utilize clear specifications for all such improvements focusing only on their aesthetic qualities to maintain uniformity. Please contact us with any questions on this new law.