As seems to be the trend with amendments to Chapter 720, Florida Statutes, which governs residential homeowners’ associations, the 2013 legislation increases regulation by the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares and Mobile Homes (the “Division”) of residential homeowners’ associations. Specifically, the association manager, management firm, or the association is now required to submit a report to the Division by November 22, 2013. (Note that this new law does not apply to condominium associations which are governed by Chapter 718, Florida Statutes). The report is a continuing obligation of every Association until the report is made to the Division, although there are no remedies provided if the report is not made.
Contents of the Report
The required report is to include the Association’s:
- Legal name
- Federal employer identification number
- Mailing and physical address
- Total number of parcels
- Total amount of revenues and expenses from the Association’s annual budget.
For Associations still under the control of the developer, the report is also required to include the developer’s:
- Legal name
- Mailing address
- Total number of parcels owned on the date of reporting.
The Department of Business and Professional Regulations (the “Department”) is required to create a registration system via a website to provide for the reporting requirements and is also required to prepare an annual report of the data to present to the Governor, President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives by December 1 of each year. The Division’s website indicates that the website portal is currently being worked on and is required to be in place by October 1, 2013. Check for updates at: http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/lsc/index.html.
This new section is set to expire July 1, 2016 unless reenacted by the Legislature.
Purpose of the Report
The staff analysis of the bill enacting these provisions indicates that the report is a one time requirement in order to assess the number and variety of homeowners associations in the state. Interestingly, the staff analysis also recognizes that, unlike condominiums and cooperatives, no state agency has direct oversight of homeowners’ associations, although the Division does administer the mandatory binding arbitration program for certain election disputes. Section 720.302(2), Florida Statutes, expresses the Legislature’s recognition that it is not in the best interest of homeowners’ associations or the individual association members to create or impose a bureau or other agency of state government to regulate the affairs of homeowners’ associations. Nevertheless, it appears that a shift in this policy may be coming as the report requirement may indicate further increases in the Division’s regulatory authority over homeowners’ associations is on the horizon.
We will provide a summary of additional legislative amendments affecting homeowners’ associations in future articles. However, in the meantime, community association managers should also be aware that violating any provisions of Florida Statutes Chapter 720 (Homeowners’ Associations), Chapter 718 (Condominium Act) or Chapter 719 (Cooperative Act) during the course of performing community association management now expressly constitutes grounds for disciplinary actions by the Department.