Florida Senate Bill 630: Changes to Florida Condominium and Homeowners’ Association Laws
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On June 14, 2021, the Florida Legislature sent Senate Bill 630 to Governor DeSantis to be signed into law. Senate Bill 630 went into effect on July 1, 2021.
Senate Bill 630 contains many changes to Chapters 718 and 720, Florida Statutes, which govern condominium and homeowners’ associations, respectively. Most of the changes in Senate Bill 630 are minor, clarifying the language of the existing statutes rather than substantively changing the law.
This article will provide an overview of some of Senate Bill 630’s more substantive changes to Florida’s condominium association and homeowners’ association laws.
Changes to Florida Condominium Association Law
Many of the changes made by Senate Bill 630 that apply to condominium associations are minor. Although the substantive law mostly remains the same, there are a few changes to which condominium associations should pay attention. An overview of substantive changes to Florida’s condominium association laws are below.
Section 718.121, Florida Statutes
Senate Bill 630 has amended Section 718.121, Florida Statutes, which governs condominium association liens. Under the amended form of Section 718.121, notice of an association’s intent to file a lien against a condominium unit owner is deemed to have been delivered upon mailing, provided that the notice is in substantially the same form as the example provided in Section 718.121. The amended form also added certain dates that condominium associations must include on the notice. These dates include the due dates for maintenance, the dates during which interest accrued, and the dates of certified mail charges.
Section 718.111(12)(g), Florida Statutes
Before Senate Bill 630, condominiums with 150 or more units were required to keep certain documents available to association members on the association’s website pursuant to Section 718.111(12)(g), Florida Statutes. However, under Senate Bill 630’s amendments to Section 718.111(12)(g), condominiums with 150 or more units are now permitted to keep those required documents on mobile applications that can be downloaded to a mobile device, in lieu of or in addition to keeping them on the association’s website. This is a permissive change, so condominium associations can use their discretion in deciding whether to keep documents on a mobile app in lieu of or in addition to the association website.
Changes to Florida Homeowners’ Association Law
Senate Bill 630 made more substantial alterations to Florida homeowners’ association laws than it did to Florida’s condominium association laws. An overview of the changes to Florida’s homeowners’ association laws and how they differ from prior law is below.
Section 720.303, Florida Statutes
Senate Bill 630 has changed the process for providing members with notice of board meetings. Homeowners’ associations are now able to choose to adopt a procedure for providing notice of board meetings electronically. Section 720.303, Florida Statutes, as amended, provides (underlined portions indicate additions):
(2)(c)(1) In addition to any of the authorized means of providing notice of a meeting of the board, the association may, by rule, adopt a procedure for conspicuously posting the meeting notice and the agenda on the association’s website or an application that can be downloaded on a mobile device for at least the minimum period of time for which a notice of a meeting is also required to be physically posted on the association property. Any rule adopted must, in addition to other matters, include a requirement that the association send an electronic notice to members whose e-mail addresses are included in the association’s official records in the same manner as is required for a notice of a meeting of the members. Such notice must include a hyperlink to the website or such mobile application on which the meeting notice is posted.
The amended language of Section 720.303, Florida Statutes, permits homeowners’ associations to adopt a rule providing for electronic notice, but it does not require homeowners’ associations to do so. Associations can decide for themselves whether to provide electronic notice.
Section 720.305, Florida Statutes
Senate Bill 630 also changed the process for collecting fines imposed on members. As amended, Section 720.305, Florida Statutes, provides that payment of a fine levied by a homeowners’ association is due 5 days after notice of the approved fine is provided to the induvial upon whom the fine has been levied. The amended portion of Section 720.305 is below (underlined portions indicate additions):
(2)(b) A fine or suspension levied by the board of administration may not be imposed unless the board first provides at least 14 days’ notice to the parcel owner and, if applicable, any occupant, licensee, or invitee of the parcel owner, sought to be fined or suspended and an opportunity for a hearing before a committee of at least three members appointed by the board who are not officers, directors, or employees of the association, or the spouse, parent, child, brother, or sister of an officer, director, or employee. If the committee, by majority vote, does not approve a proposed fine or suspension, the proposed fine or suspension may not be imposed. The role of the committee is limited to determining whether to confirm or reject the fine or suspension levied by the board. If the proposed fine or suspension levied by the board is approved by the committee, the fine payment is due 5 days after notice of the approved fine is provided to the parcel owner and, if applicable, to any occupant, licensee, or invitee of the parcel owner. The association must provide written notice of such fine or suspension by mail or hand delivery to the parcel owner and, if applicable, to any occupant, licensee, or invitee of the parcel owner.
Before Senate Bill 630’s amendment of Section 720.305, Florida Statutes, fines were due 5 days after the date of the meeting at which the fine was approved. Homeowners’ associations should note that the due date for fines levied against unit owners will now be determined by the date of notice to the unit owner rather than the date of approval of the fine.
Section 720.306(1)(g), Florida Statutes
Senate Bill 630 has also amended Section 720.306(1)(g), Florida Statutes. In its amended form, Section 720.306(1)(g), Florida Statutes, requires that notice under Section 720.306 be mailed or delivered to the address identified as the parcel owner’s mailing address in the official records of the association, as required under Section 720.303(4), Florida Statutes. Before the Senate Bill 630 amendment, notice was required to be mailed or delivered to the address identified as the parcel owner’s mailing address found on the property appraiser’s website.
Although the majority of the amendments made by Senate Bill 630 are minor, some of them have the potential to impact the procedures that condominium associations and homeowners’ associations must follow under the law. Condominium associations and homeowners’ associations should take note of the permissive and mandatory changes made by Senate Bill 630 and consult a qualified attorney with any questions to determine whether they desire or are required to make certain changes in order to adhere to the amended laws.