This summary outlines 2024 legal updates impacting Florida condominium, homeowner (HOAs), and townhome community associations. From the new Federal Corporate Transparency Act to state-specific fire prevention code updates, these changes address issues including safety, deferred maintenance, home/condo sales transactions, and more.
As the legal landscape continues to evolve, Florida board members and property managers should work with the association’s attorney to stay informed and adaptable to the changing regulatory requirements and responsibilities.
Federal legislative updates impacting Florida community associations
Federal Corporate Transparency Act: What is it and how does it impact your community association?
- The Federal Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) is a U.S. law that was passed in 2021. It requires certain businesses to disclose ownership information to the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).
- The Act’s broad language classifies condominium, homeowner (HOA), townhome association and co-ops as a “Reporting Company” subject to this new federal requirement. Specifically, board members would also be defined as having “substantial influence over important decisions” as “beneficial owners” within the association.
- Accordingly, board members would need to provide the required personal information and documents to the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Additionally, the Act specifies that the U.S. Department of the Treasury must be updated if there are changes to board of directors from the community association’s initial filing.
- The Act’s is effective on January 1, 2024, for existing, eligible community associations. There are significant fines and penalties for non-compliance with the Act.
- Board members cannot ignore the impact of this new federal law and will need to demonstrate a sense of urgency to comply including: confirming the community association is subject to the Corporate Transparency Act, providing proper personal identification to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and filing the correct documentation with the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
- KSN blog “Federal Corporate Transparency Act: Impact on Community Associations” https://www.ksnlaw.com/blog/federal-corporate-transparency-act-impact-community-associations/
Updated federal condominium mortgage requirements
- The Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA, otherwise known as Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC, commonly known as Freddie Mac) both created new sets of requirements impacting condominium associations after the partial collapse of the 12-story beachfront condominium building in Surfside, Florida.
- These new guidelines address several factors including: significant deferred maintenance and unsafe conditions, special assessments, reserve requirements, project eligibility waivers, documentation (ex. engineering reports, inspection reports, condo questionnaires, HOA meeting minutes).
- Fannie Mae maintains a list of “unavailable” properties that have issues involving environmental hazards, title issues, structural problems, or other issues that would affect the safety, soundness, or marketability of the property. Properties on the unavailable list are ineligible for Fannie Mae financing and lending.
- KSN blog “Is Your Condo or HOA on the Fannie Mae Unavailable List?” https://www.ksnlaw.com/blog/condo-hoa-unavailable-list/
- KSN blog “Updated Condo Mortgage Requirements: What Board Members and Property Managers Need to Know” https://www.ksnlaw.com/blog/updated-condo-mortgage-requirements-board-members-property-managers/
State legislative updates impacting Florida community associations
Florida Estoppel Fee Elimination Bill ((Senate Bill 278, House Bill 979)
- An estoppel certificate is a document often used in real estate transactions to confirm important details regarding the status of a condo or home. It’s usually requested prior to closing on a real estate sale to provide the buyer with assurance that there are no hidden fees or legal issues associated with the property.
- Recent Florida legislation titled the Florida Estoppel Fee Elimination Bill to revise the ability for community associations from charging fees for the preparation and delivery of estoppel certificates. Below is a summary of the proposed legislatives changes:
- The bill has been revised from its original language, removing the ability to add an extra charge for expedited delivery of estoppel certificates within a 3-day period.
- The bill shortens the deadline for the preparation and delivery of estoppel certificates from 10 business days to 5 business days.
- The bill also modifies the payment schedule for estoppel preparation fees. Instead of requiring payment upon order, the fee is now due at the time of property closing. The fee will be paid to the association from the closing or settlement proceeds. In cases where the closing doesn’t occur, the property owner becomes responsible for paying this fee.
- Additionally, the bill allows associations to recover outstanding fees using the same process as they would for collecting assessments.
- The effective date proposed for these changes, should the legislation be enacted, is July 1, 2024.
- The p[potential impact to board members and property managers includes increased unpaid estoppel fees, loss of association revenue, increased management costs, and more.
- KSN blog “Florida Estoppel Fee Elimination Bill: Impact on Florida Community Associations” https://www.ksnlaw.com/blog/florida-estoppel-fee-elimination-bill-impact-florida-community-associations/
Homeowners Bill of Rights (HB 919)
- New Florida law went into effect in 2023 and only applies to HOAs. It does not apply to condominiums or cooperatives.
- This new legal update outlines that all HOA notices of board meetings must now specifically identify all agenda items for the meetings.
- The legal update also addresses:
- Owner primary addresses and email addresses including consent and written notices.
- Conflicts of interest must be disclosed 14 days prior to a vote on association activity.
- Criminal charges and board officers or directors.
- Notices for fining committees including hearing and curing the violation.
- Collecting security deposits (ex. construction, lease security deposit)
Condominium and Coop Safety (SB 154)
- New Florida law went into effect in 2023 addressing Milestone Inspections.
- All applicable Florida condominiums or cooperatives that are three or more stories must conduct their milestone inspections within 30 years of the buildings certificate of occupancy (the “30 Year Mark”).
- The legal update also addresses:
- Revised deadlines for Milestone Inspections.
- Budget adoption, reserves, and reserve studies.
- Developer turnover, maintenance, inspection reports, disclosure requirements, and more.
First Responder Flags (HB 437)
- Recent Florida legislation went into effect I 2023 allowing the display of first responder flags within community associations signifies a move towards inclusivity and respect for public service.
- The law adds Patriot Day (September 11) to the list of specified days where owners may display flags.
- The legal update also addresses:
- Distinctions between condominium associations and homeowner associations.
- Expands and defines allowable “First Responder Flags” including law enforcement officers, firefighters, etc.
Authorization of Restrictions Concerning Dogs (SB 942)
- New Florida law went into effect in 2023 allowing local governments to adopt ordinances to address safety/welfare concerns, place restrictions/additional requirements on owners provided that no regulations may be breed specific.
- The legal update also addresses requirements for public housing authorities, size/weight as a prohibited characteristic, and more.
Florida Fire Prevention Code updates
- Recent updates to the fire prevention code are critical for maintaining safety standards within communities. This section outlines the new requirements and the implications for associations in terms of enforcement and compliance.
- New Florida law went into effect in January 1, 2024 and has specific implications for condominium associations, especially those with buildings over 75 feet tall.
- Condominium associations must take proactive steps to ensure compliance with these updated requirements to enhance the safety of their residents including:
- Compliance with fire safety provisions
- Maintain minimum radio communication systems
- Implement two-way radio communication enhancement systems and more
- For more, please visit: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0718/0718.html
If you are board member, property manager, or community association leader with questions about these recent legislative updates, do not hesitate to contact our law firm.
Please call 855-537-0500 or visit www.ksnlaw.com.
Since 1983, KSN has been a legal resource for condominium, homeowner, and townhome associations. Additionally, we represent clients in real estate transactions, collections, landlord/tenant issues, and property tax appeals. We represent thousands of clients and community associations throughout the US with offices in several states including Florida, Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin.
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