2018 Legislative Update –
On July 1, 2018, the amendments to Chapter 718 (Condominium Act) and Chapter 7120 (HOA Act) signed into law by Governor Scott will be effective. Some of the changes are clarifications and modifications to the laws enacted in 2017, such as conflicts of interest, director term limits and website requirements for condominiums, and others are new additions.
Conflicts of Interest [§718.3026(3) and §718.3027]
There were significant additions to Chapter 718 in 2017 regarding director and manager conflict of interests, and associated penalties. The 2018 legislative session further amended the provisions to remove some confusion associated with the conflict provisions being in both 718.3026 (dealing with contracts), and 718.30127 (entitled “Conflicts of Interest”). Now they are contained only in 718.3027, with some further amendment.
Official Records [§718.111]
The association is not to post items not available for inspection by unit owners such as attorney-client privileged documents and communications or payroll records of employees, but the association will not be liable for doing so, unless the disclosure was made with a knowing or intentional disregard of the protected or restricted nature of the information. [§718.111(g)(3)]
The failure of the association to post the documents required under the statute does not, in and of itself, invalidate any action or decision of the board or its committees. [§718.111(g)(4)]
Meeting Notices [§718.112]
Special Assessment meetings: Replaced the prior requirement of stating in the notice the “nature, estimated cost, and description of the purpose of the assessment” with a requirement that the notice state “that assessments will be considered and provide the estimated cost and description of the purposes for such assessments.” 718.112(2)(c)(1)
Website posting of notices: In addition to posting meeting notices on the condominium property, Associations may adopt rules and procedures for noticing owner meetings and agendas on a website, so long as the time requirement for noticing such meetings is met. Any rule adopted must include a requirement that the electronic notice be sent in the same manner as a notice for a meeting of the members, and must include a hyperlink to the website where the notice is posted. This notice must be sent to all owners who have provided their e-mails as an official record. §718.112(2)(c)(1), § 718.112(2)(d)(3).
Board Member Terms [§718.112]
If a recall is determined at the conclusion of that meeting to be “facially valid”, then the recall of the member, or members, is effective immediately upon the conclusion of the board meeting. §718.112(2)(j)
A recalled board member may file a petition under 718.1255 challenging the validity of the recall
If the board determines at the conclusion of that meeting the recall is not facially valid, the recalling unit owner(s) representative may file a petition under 718.1255 challenging the board’s determination. §718.112(2)(j)4.
The arbitrator may award reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs to the respondents if they prevail, if the arbitrator makes a finding that the petitioner’s claim is frivolous. §718.112(2)(j)6.
Material Alterations and Substantial Additions [§718.113]
Fines and Use Right Suspensions [§718.303(3)]
Electric Vehicles [§ 718.113, § 718.121]
A condominium association may not prohibit a unit owner from installing an electric vehicle charging station within the boundaries of the unit owner’s limited common element parking area, however, the installation of an electric vehicle charging station is subject to a number of restrictions enumerated in the statute, such as safety, preservation of the condominium property, and the unit owner’s responsibility for associated costs. 718.113(8)
The installation of an electric vehicle charging station may not be the basis for filing a construction lien under Chapter 713, Florida Statutes, against the association, but a construction lien may be filed against the unit owner. 718.121(2), Fla. Stat.
Governing Document Amendments
Amendments to governing documents must contain the full text of the provision to be amended; proposed language to be added is to be underlined and deleted language must be stricken. §720.306(1)(e)
If the changes are so extensive that underlines and strike throughs would hinder, rather than assist the understanding of the proposed amendment, a notation must be inserted stating “Substantial rewording. See governing documents for current text.”
Amendments to governing documents are effective when recorded in the public records.
Immaterial error or omission in the amendment process doesn’t invalidate the amendment
*Notices for required for amendments must be mailed or delivered to the addresses of the owners on the property appraiser’s website, or electronically if the owner has consented in writing to receive electronic notices.
Fines and Suspensions
-The role of the committee is limited to determining whether to confirm or reject the fine or suspension levied by the board.
Fines are due 5 days after the date of the committee meeting at which the fine is approved.
The following language was added to §720.306(9)(a): “If an election is not required because there are either an equal number or fewer qualified candidates than vacancies exist, and if nominations from the floor are not required pursuant to this section or the bylaws, write-in nominations are not permitted and such qualified candidates shall commence service on the board of directors, regardless of whether a quorum is attained at the annual meeting.”
Application of Payments
This amendment clarifies that regardless of whether a unit owner places a restrictive endorsement on or accompanying their payment to the association, such as “paid in full” or the like, it does not operate as accord and satisfaction as to a greater amount owing, and the association may apply the partial payment in the order of the statute, to interest, then to any late fees, costs and attorneys’ fees and then to assessments, and continue to seek collection of the remaining balance owing. §720.3085(3)(b)
Hand Arendall Harrison Sale LLC is pleased to announce that Attorney Heather K. Hudson received her BCS, Board Certified Specialist, notification this week from the Florida Bar that she has fulfilled all of the eligibility requirements, passed the certification examination and is now a Board Certified Specialist in Education Law.
"We celebrate with Heather, we are proud of her,” said Franklin Harrison, managing lawyer of Hand Arendall Harrison Sale LLC Florida and also Board Certified in Education Law, “First is the certification screening including an outline of her experience in the field followed by a discussion with references plus an attorney review to determine if an attorney qualifies to sit for the exam. I had no doubt she would complete the certification as she continues to excel. Her experience and Heather’s natural talents and gifts in research and writing have made her one of the go-to people for education law questions in the state of Florida.”
Board Certification by the Florida Bar is the highest level recognition of competency in one or more of the 26 areas of law approved for certification by the Florida Supreme Court.
“Through working with and being mentored by Franklin Harrison, a pillar in the education law community, I could not have had a better guide during my career thus far working with and on behalf of Bay District Schools.” said Hudson. “I am grateful that the firm afforded me this opportunity to specialize in Education Law. It is an area I truly enjoy,” said Hudson.
Licensed to practice in Florida since 2011, Hudson earned her Juris Doctorate from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University, where she graduated Cum Laude.
About Hand Arendall Harrison Sale LLC
Hand Arendall Harrison Sale LLC, HAHS LLC, was the result of a merger of two law firms in January 2018. The two firms, Hand Arendall LLC and Harrison Sale McCloy Attorneys at Law, merged which resulted in one of the largest regional law practices with offices along the coast of Northwest Florida and throughout the state of Alabama. Since the start, HAHS LLC has maintained a fundamental commitment to providing quality legal services. Cases and projects are staffed with the goal of achieving success for the client with maximum efficiency. With offices in Athens, Birmingham, Mobile, and Fairhope Alabama and Florida offices in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach and Panama City, the firm is uniquely situated among the Southeast's major law firms to provide legal direction to clients throughout Alabama, Florida and Mississippi. For more information, HSMcLaw.com
Attorney Cole Davis addressed the topic of Medical Marijuana during the Bay County Chamber of Commerce Employment Law Seminar recently. He also had an opportunity to do a brief highlight during the Destin Chamber of Commerce monthly breakfast. For more information: https://www.hsmclaw.com/who-we-are/j-cole-davis
On March 28, 2018, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed into law the Alabama Data Breach Notification Act of 2018, making Alabama the fiftieth state to enact such legislation into law. Earlier in March, South Dakota enacted a similar law, making Alabama the only state in the country, until now, without a mandatory notification law following a data breach. The Alabama Data Breach Notification Act of 2018 (“the Act”) is similar to several other states’ mandatory notification laws. The Act becomes effective June 1, 2018. Some of the key provisions of the Act include the following:
Members of the Hand Arendall Harrison Sale cybersecurity practice group can advise on the implementation of “reasonable security measures” to avoid a data breach, and ensure “reasonable measures” are in place to dispose of records containing sensitive PII. We can also assist in the investigation of a suspected breach, provide legal advice on whether notification is required, and make other recommendations related to compliance with the Alabama Data Breach Notification Act of 2018.
If you have any questions about the Act, or would like information about Hand Arendall Harrison Sale’s cybersecurity flat fee packages, please contact Christopher S. Williams.
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