Amendments to the 2013 Florida Statutes Affecting Condo and HOA Official Records Keeping and Maintenance
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Several legislative changes to the Florida Statutes, occurring during 2013, have impacted the operation of Florida’s Condominium Associations and HOAs. This blog focuses on those changes applicable to the maintaining of official records. For Condo Associations, the laws governing official records are codified in Section 718.111(12)(c), Florida Statutes; for HOAs, those laws are found in Section 720.303, Florida Statutes.
The Florida Legislature passed House Bill 73 earlier this year, which amended the Florida Statutes and became effective July 1, 2013. One of the changes under the new law is that condo associations shall now allow a member to use portable devices such as smartphones, tablets, or other technology that can scan or take photographs, for the purposes of making electronic copies of the official records in lieu of the association providing paper copies. Under the amended statute, the association cannot charge a member for making these electronic scans and copies. Fla. Stat. § 718.111(12)(c).
Another change to the law, affecting condo associations, involves the distribution of the community directory. As always, a condo association may distribute to all unit owners a directory containing the name, address and telephone number of each unit owner. However, the amended law now allows a unit owner to make a written request to the association that his or her telephone number be excluded from the directory. If such a written request is made, the association must comply. Fla. Stat. § 718.111(12)(c)(5).
Regarding Florida’s HOAs, the changes to the Florida Statutes concerning the maintaining of official records were intended to more closely align the HOA requirements with those of condo associations. For example, under the amended law, HOA official records must now be maintained for 7 years, similar to the requirement for condo associations. HOA official records must also be stored within 45 miles of the community or within the county in which the association is located. Fla. Stat. § 720.303(5). Additionally, in lieu of storing paper copies, Florida law now allows HOAs to maintain their official records electronically, with printouts available upon request. Id.
The amended statutes also reduced the amount that associations may charge for copying records for its members. The allowable charge has been reduced from 50 cents per page to 25 cents per page. Also, an association may not charge more than $20 per hour for personnel costs for retrieving and copying records, and that hourly charge can only be assessed if the time to retrieve and copy records is greater than 30 minutes. See Fla. Stat § 720.303(5).
As a result of these 2013 statutory amendments, Florida’s associations should revise their internal policies and procedures, and if needed, amend their declarations. Such proactive measures will ensure that the association is compliant with Florida law and will avoid any fines and/or damages assessed against the association for unknowingly violating the law.