July 2014 Legislative Changes

Some new legislation addressing community associations has gone into effect as of July 1, 2014.  Here is a brief summary of some of the big changes that may directly impact your community:

Association Foreclosure Delinquencies:  Spiaggia has once and for all been laid to rest!  Following suit with the change made to Chapter 720 (HOA) last year, Chapter 718 (Condo) has now been amended to specifically state that an association does not become joint and severally liable for any past delinquency; meaning, associations can now collect the back-balance from the next titleholder even when the association took title through their own lien foreclosure.

Abandoned condominiums: Big developments for dealing with abandoned condominium units!  In addition to rights of access already in place, an association is now able to enter an abandoned unit for inspection and to make repairs, turn on utilities, remediate mold, etc.  This broadened the scope of the association’s right of access.  A unit is considered “abandoned” when it is the subject of a foreclosure and there has been no evidence of a tenant for four weeks and no written notice from the owner; or if no foreclosure has been filed, if there has been no evidence of a tenant for two months.  In both cases the association must make a reasonable effort to contact the owner and may not enter until written notice has been given.  In addition, the association may charge back any expenses related to work in the abandoned unit as an assessment to the unit/owner.

In addition, the new law provides that an association may petition the court to appoint a receiver to lease out an abandoned unit and use the rent money to offset the association’s costs and expenses of maintaining, preserving, and protecting the unit and the adjoining common elements, including the costs/legal fees associated with the court proceeding.

Resident Directories:  Chapter 720 was amended to match Chapter 718 in allowing an association to distribute a printed directory with the name, parcel address, and telephone number for each owner.  Residents may exclude their phone number by requesting such in writing; residents may also consent to other information being included such as an email address.

Board E-mails: The legislature has clarified that board members may communicate with each other by email but may not vote on issues by email.  The question is still somewhat left open as to whether emails amongst board members must be maintained as part of the “official records”; it is currently not common for associations to keep email records.

Remote-Conferencing/Meetings: The legislature has clarified that meetings may be held by telephone, video-conferencing, etc, and those attend through this means count towards a quorum.

Turnover of Official Records: The new law requires any outgoing Director to turn over the official records of the community within five (5) days of the election of the new board.  They can be subject to civil penalties for refusing to comply.

 
THERE ARE MANY MORE CHANGES INCLUDED IN SEVERAL RECENTLY ENACTED LAWS:
House Bill 807 – this is the main Bill affecting community associations;
House Bill 7037 – addresses some changes to the legal rights/obligations of community association management companies as well as providing new forms for Liens, Satisfactions, Notice of Intent to Lien letters and Notice of Intent to Foreclose letters;
Senate Bill 440 – specifies that some provisions of 718 do not apply to non-residential condominiums;
Senate Bill 356 – changes addressing vacation rentals.

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