As many of you know, we worked very hard this year getting House Bill 7119 passed by a vote of 134 to 4 in The House of Representatives and 37 to 0 in The Florida Senate. In order to become law, the bill simply needs to be signed by The Governor.
To refresh your memory, the highlights of the bill are:
- You can now use your cell phone or camera to get copies of association records free of charge;
- If you get arrested for stealing from an HOA you are immediately off the Board;
- HOA board members need to become certified just like condo board members;
- Full disclosure of contracts by and between the association and a company that a director has an interest in, requirement of a two thirds vote to proceed with the contract;
- Mandatory turnover of control of the HOA by the developer if the developer files for bankruptcy, gets foreclosed on or abandons the property;
- Prevents management companies from charging exorbitant hourly fees to unit owners who seek access to records;
- Prohibits board members from getting kickbacks for awarding a vendor a contract with the HOA;
- Requires the association to insure everyone handling association funds;
- Requires the association to give its members copies of amendments to the governing documents;
- Ensures that an HOA who forecloses on a property is still able to get assessment monies owed from the bank or 3rd party purchaser;
- Prohibits the developer from unilaterally making amendments to the governing documents that are arbitrary, capricious, or in bad faith, which destroy the general plan of development; prejudice the rights of existing nondeveloper members to use and enjoy the benefits of common property; or materially shift economic burdens from the developer to the existing nondeveloper members.
I think anyone that lives in a community association would agree that these are wonderful changes to the law that are long overdue in Florida homeowner associations.
Believe it or not however, there is a small amount of opposition to the bill because of the bill's requirement that HOAs must simply fill out a form (free of charge) that tells the DBPR the name of the association, how many parcels are in the community, their address, federal employer i.d. number and the amount of their budget. THAT IS ALL THE BILL REQUIRES. NOTHING MORE. NOTHING LESS.
These opposition folks are urging The Governor to veto all of the above provisions of HB 7119 and to let the bill die simply because they basically have to provide their name and address to the state. It's hard to believe that these opponents would agree to throw away all of the protections that the bill would now finally afford members in an HOA, but I'm telling you to believe it.
I am urging all of you to please IMMEDIATELY send an e-mail to Governor Rick Scott demanding that he sign HB 7119.
COPY AND PASTE THE TEXT BELOW:
Dear Governor Scott:
House Bill 7119 overwhelmingly passed The House of Representatives and The Florida Senate because it is a wonderful bill that provides much protection to the millions of Floridians who live in Florida homeowner associations. It simply provides members in a homeowner's association with much of the same rights that condominium owners already have under Florida law. It is long overdue and I urge you to sign it into law immediately.
Please take just a minute or two of your time to send the e-mail to the Governor in order to ensure the passage of legislation that will be beneficial to so many of you. Or...you can ignore this e-mail and risk the possibility that directors who steal from associations and get arrested will still serve on your Board, you will continue to pay for copies of records, your Board members won't have to get certified, developers can maintain control of your community longer and change your governing documents to suit them, and banks will owe your association nothing if they foreclose after the association has already done so.