Association Specific Considerations, Rights & Requirements
Reading Time: 10 minutes
Q: Is the association required to maintain official records?
A: The official records of the association must be maintained within the state for at least 7 years. As of January 1, 2019, an association managing a condominium with 150 or more units shall post digital copies of many of the official records on its website. The official records of the association are open to inspection by any association member or the authorized representative of such member at all reasonable times.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.111(12)(b).
Q: What items are considered official records of the association?
A: A copy of the plans, permits, warranties, and other items provided by the developer pursuant to Fla. Stat. § 718.301(4); a photocopy of the recorded declaration and each amendment; a photocopy of the recorded bylaws and each amendment; a certified copy of the articles of incorporation and any amendments; a copy of the current rules of the association; minutes of all meetings of the association, the board, and the unit owners; a current roster of all unit owners, including their mailing addresses, unit identifications, voting certifications, telephone numbers if known, and email addresses of unit owners consenting to receive notice by electronic transmission; current insurance policies of the association; current copy of any management agreements, leases or other contracts; bills of sale for all property owned by the association; accounting records for the association and separate accounting records for each condominium that the association operates including records of all receipts and expenditures, a current statement of account for each unit, all financial reporting statements and, all bids and contracts for work to be performed; ballots, sign-in sheets, and voting proxies for only one year; all rental records; a copy of the current question and answer sheet according to Fla. Stat. § 718.504; a copy of the inspection report; and, all other records relating to the operation of the association.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.111(12)(a).
Q: Are there any records of the Association that should not be accessible to unit owners?
A: Unit owners shall not have access to a record that was: 1) prepared by an association attorney or prepared at the attorney’s express direction which reflects a mental impression, conclusion, litigation strategy or legal theory that was prepared exclusively for civil or criminal litigation until the conclusion of the case, as this correspondence is protected by the attorney-client privilege; 2) information obtained in connection with the approval of the lease, sale, or other transfer of a unit; 3) personal records of association or management company employees, such as disciplinary, payroll, health, and insurance records, but does not include written employment agreements that indicate compensation paid to an association employee; 4) medical records of unit owners; 5) Personal information of the unit owner, excluding the owner’s name, contact information and, unit designation; 6) electronic security data; and (7) the software and operating system used by the association.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.111(12)(c).
Q: Who are members of the Association?
A: All unit owners are members of the association as an appurtenance to their ownership of a condominium unit, but no owner may act for the association simply by being a member.
Source: Fla. Stat. § Section 718.111(1).
Q: Does the Association have a right to access condominium units?
A: Yes, in some circumstances. The association has the irrevocable right of access to each unit when necessary for maintenance, repair, or replacement of any common element or of any portion of a unit to be maintained by the association pursuant to the declaration. Furthermore, the association may access a unit as necessary to prevent damage to common elements or to another unit. Access must occur during reasonable hours.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.111(5).
Q: Can an association self-manage or do they need to hire a manager?
A: An association cannot delegate its responsibility to operate and maintain the condominium, but it can delegate the authority to carry out the board’s policy. To that end, many associations choose to contract with an outside individual or managing entity, however the Condominium Act does not require any condominium association to do so. The association may be self-managed if it so chooses, with implementation of the board’s policy being carried out by volunteers and/or committees. If an association decides to hire an independent management company to manage the condominium, there must be a written contract that complies with the requirements of Section 718.3025, Florida Statutes. Furthermore, if the condominium contains more than 10 units or has an annual budget in excess of $100,000, then the manager is required to be licensed as a Community Association Manager (CAM) under Section 468, Florida Statutes.
Source: Fla. Stat. §§ 468.431, 718.111(3), and 718.3025.
Q: May the association pay a board member for his or her services as a board member?
A: Not usually. The Florida Condominium Act provides that board members are not entitled to compensation for their services unless the bylaws specifically provide that compensation be paid. This applies to board members as well as directors and officers of the association. If compensation is allowed by the bylaws, the conditions for compensation should be strictly followed. The compensated individuals should not be allowed to select or increase their compensation unless expressly authorized to do so by the bylaws. Although compensation may not be allowed to most officers, they may be entitled to be reimbursement for reasonable expenses incurred in their duty. The board should require a specific accounting before reimbursement is made.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.112(2)(a)(1).
Q: Can the association fine a unit owner for a condominium rule violation?
A: Yes. The Condominium Act gives the association limited fining power to enforce the condominium documents. The association may levy reasonable fines for the failure of the owner of a unit, or its tenant or guest, to comply with any provision of the condominium documents. A fine or suspension may not be imposed unless the association first provides at least 14 days’ written notice and an opportunity for a hearing to the unit owner and, if applicable, its occupant, licensee, or invitee. The hearing must be held before a committee of other unit owners who are neither board members nor persons residing in a board member’s household. If the committee does not agree, the fine or suspension may not be imposed. Likewise, an association may suspend, for a reasonable period of time, the right of a unit owner, or a unit owner’s tenant, guest, or invitee, to use the common elements, common facilities, or any other association property for failure to comply with any provision of the condominium documents. However, no fine can become a lien against the unit.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.303(3).
Q: How much can the association fine a unit owner for a condominium rule violation?
A: The association may fine a unit owner up to $100 per violation. For continuing violations, the fine may be levied for each day of violation, up to a maximum aggregate of $1,000.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.303(3).
Q: Can a condominium association restrict the sale or rental of a condo unit?
A: Generally, yes. The Condominium Act expressly permits a declaration of condominium to “include covenants and restrictions concerning . . . transfer of the units.” Thus, an association may restrict the sale or rental of a condo unit. Typically, the declaration of condominium will require a unit owner to submit an application for approval to the association that discloses the particulars of the prospective resident. However, issues arise when the association makes amendments to the declaration of condominium concerning such restrictions. An amendment prohibiting unit owners from renting their units or altering the duration of the rental term or specifying or limiting the number of times unit owners are entitled to rent their units during a specified period applies only to unit owners who consent to the amendment and unit owners who acquire title to their units after the effective date of that amendment. If an association’s declaration does not contain any provision granting the association the authority to restrict or approve the transfer, lease or sale of a unit then the association is unable to restrict a transfer.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.104(5); Fla. Stat. § 718.110(13).
Q: Must the association pay for and insure its officers and directors?
A: In some cases. A unit owner controlled association may obtain liability insurance for its officers and directors. Further, the association must obtain and maintain adequate insurance or fidelity bonding of all persons who control or disburse funds of the association. The “persons who control and disburse funds of the association” include, but are not limited to, the individuals authorized to sign checks on behalf of the association and the president, secretary and treasurer of the association. The association assumes the responsibility for the costs of the insurance or fidelity bonding as a common expense of the association. The insurance policy or fidelity bond must cover the maximum funds that will be in the custody of the association or its management agent at any one time. As used in this paragraph, the term “persons who control or disburse funds of the association” includes, but is not limited to, those individuals authorized to sign checks on behalf of the association, and the president, secretary, and treasurer of the association. The association shall bear the cost of any such bonding.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.111(11)(e); Fla. Stat. § 718.111(11)(h).
Q: Does an association have to carry insurance on the condominium property?
A: An association is required to use its best efforts to obtain and maintain adequate insurance to protect the association, the association property and the common elements. The insurance must be based on the replacement cost of the property to be insured as determined by an independent insurance appraisal or update of a prior appraisal. The replacement cost must be determined at least once every 36 months. Alternatively, an association may provide adequate property insurance through a self-insurance fund that complies with the requirements of Sections 624.460-624.488, Florida Statutes. The coverage must exclude all personal property within the unit or limited common elements, and floor, wall, and ceiling coverings, electrical fixtures, appliances, water heaters, water filters, built-in cabinets and countertops, and window treatments, including curtains, drapes, blinds, hardware, and similar window treatment components, or replacements of any of the foregoing which are located within the boundaries of the unit and serve only such unit. Such property and any insurance thereupon is the responsibility of the unit owner.
Failure to obtain and maintain adequate property insurance may constitute a breach of fiduciary responsibility by the members of the board of directors of the association, unless the members can show that despite such failure, they have made their best efforts to maintain the required coverage.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.111(11).
Q: Can an association purchase a unit in the condominium that has been foreclosed?
A: Yes. There shall be no limitation on the association’s right to purchase a unit at a foreclosure sale resulting from the association’s foreclosure of its lien for unpaid assessments. The association’s board has the power, unless prohibited by the declaration, articles of incorporation or bylaws, to purchase units in the condominium and to acquire and hold, lease, mortgage and convey them.
Source: Fla. Stat. § 718.111(9).