New Florida Laws Affecting Homeowner Associations and Homesteads

CLEARWATER - The board of directors of a homeowner association is normally made up of home or condominium owners elected by the other association owner/members.  The length of their terms as directors and their authority to make decisions are dictated in the association documents and are regulated under Florida State Law.  When association documents conflict with state law, state laws and regulations prevail.  Here are some recent law changes you should be aware of - as provided by Florida Realtors®:
“TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – July 2, 2013 – The recent housing downturn created some unexpected problems within Florida's planned communities thanks to drops in home sales, developer bankruptcies and other problems. As a result, a bill (HB 7119) – which was passed by the Florida Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott – went into effect on Monday, giving the state more oversight of planned communities.

Major provisions:
• HOA directors must disclose any affiliation they have with a vendor, and approval of those contracts requires a two-thirds vote of the directors. It also gives HOA members the right to disaffirm one of these contracts at a future members' meeting with a simple majority vote.
{The Becker Poliakoff website interprets “simple majority vote” as the majority vote of the members present at the meeting as opposed to the majority vote of the total association membership.}

• HOA directors cannot personally receive goods or services from any providers working with the association.
• Once a developer sells 50 percent of the parcels, the association must add one non-developer HOA member to its Board of Directors.

• Prohibits a community's developer from making a unilateral amendment to the declaration governing an association if that amendment is arbitrary, capricious or in bad faith; or if it destroys the general plan of development, prejudices the rights of members to use common property, or materially shifts economic burdens from the developer to members.

• All Florida Homeowners Associations (HOAs) must register with the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) by Nov. 22, 2013. When registering, they must include their a) name, b) federal ID number, c) mailing and location addresses, d) total number of parcels, and e) total revenue and expenses in annual budget.

In addition to major provisions, the new law also creates rules for troubled associations, such as oversight into the way a development is turned over to members if the developer faces bankruptcy or abandons the project.

The complete bill is posted online by the Florida Legislature.
© 2013 Florida Realtors®”
“Homestead” Changes: July 2nd SB 342 was also signed into law.  You can now rent your home or condominium for up to 30 days in any calendar year without putting your Homestead status at risk on your primary residence.  This is a welcome change for those of us living on or around Florida beaches. 
Carolyn is a RE Broker Sales Associate at Sand Key Realty in their office located in “The Shoppes on Sand Key.”  She can be reached at 727.692.0503,
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