HOA And Condominium Management

This article has urged readers to be active about enforcing HOA and Condominium documents. Boards of Directors have a fiduciary duty to do that, and to maintain common areas. Their legal duties also include the collection of assessments, equally, from all members.

Today’s highly leveraged market makes the process of collection of those assessments critical, and sometimes both difficult and treacherous. To assist in that we have set up our Destin office to advise Boards, and to collect assessments and liens. Colleen Coffield Sachs is a shareholder in our Destin office practicing real estate and community association law. She advises boards of directors and association managers in matters related to compliance, and in matters of collection, and operation. Colleen is extremely active in the Florida Bar in drafting and evaluating condominium legislation.

Kathy Sheffield is our Association paralegal who works as a point of contact for associations and managers to assure timely responses to their issues.

The laws regarding Condominium and HOA administration will take yet another turn beginning July 1st, because of this year’s round of legislative “improvements”. Colleen has prepared the following summary of those changes:

Condominium-related legislation includes:

  • allowing unit owners to petition to add agenda items to meetings of the board of directors
  • the installation of energy saving devices by the board without owner approval
  • limitation of terms of board members
  • a requirement that board members certify that they have read the documents governing the community
  • a requirement that communities larger than 10 units use a licensed management company if they do not self-manage
  • a requirement that buildings of three stories or more be inspected by a professional engineer once every 5 years
  • permitting the display of religious objects of a limited size on the front door area of a unit
  • limiting access to personal owner information, such as social security numbers, in the condominium records.

Significant legislation concerning homeowners’ associations (non-condominium communities) includes allowing homeowners to erect a freestanding flag pole no more than 20 feet in height on that owner’s property, and giving first mortgages of record priority when dealing with delinquent homeowners’ association assessments.

This column does not allow room to discuss all of the changes from this session, but the full text of each bill will be sent to you by email upon request to Colleen at Colleen@chesserbarr.com or Kathy at Kathy@chesserbarr.com, or by calling 654-3855, our firm’s Destin office number.