Florida Legislature Cracks Down on “Totalitarian” Condo Boards

I represent a condo homeowners association and also many people who are unhappy with the way their condo is run, so I always stay up to date on the latest in Condo/HOA law. Previously, you either had to attempt a hostile takeover by getting the votes or suing civilly with an administrative state board. If Governor Scott signs the bill passed by the Florida Legislature, condo boards will have more regulations to follow and those unhappy with the way their condo is run can call the police if their board is violating the law.

If the law is changed, condo associations with 150 or more units will be required to publish password-protected financial reports, bylaws, and the articles of incorporation online. Directors will no longer be able to receive money from their associations for services like property management. Directors would also no longer be able to hire their relatives. There would also be term limits for board directors of 8 years unless the director receives a super-majority or there is a lack of candidates to fill the position, which in my experience is actually an incredibly common experience. A renter of a unit also would have the right to copy and inspect the association’s bylaws and rules.

Previously even if there was wrongdoing, police were very hesitant to arrest someone for a violation of condo association law because the statute made no explicit mention of criminal penalties. If the Governor signs this bill, that will change dramatically. Forgery of a ballot envelope or voting certificate used in an election is now a third degree felony, which is punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Refusing to allow inspection or copying of an official record of a condominium association within the time periods required by law in furtherance of a crime is now a felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison. These are just two examples of a long list of illegal activity that will now be met with felony charges to combat what the author of this bill calls “totalitarian” condo boards.

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