Pavilion from the Ocean

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Condo Bill HB 807 Covers Records, Video Meetings, Email

This year was a fairly busy one in Tallahassee, with several Bills of interest passing out of the Legislature.
House Bill 807 (HB 807) is this year’s main bill affecting community associations. Last week, we looked at some changes from HB 807 involving the right to enter abandoned condominium units, property insurance requirements for condominiums, and new provisions regarding the association’s publication of owner directories and release of private owner information.
Here’s a look at some of the other highlights of HB 807:
• Official Records: Under the new statute, an outgoing director or committee member must relinquish all official records and property of the association in his or her possession, or under his or her control, within 5 days after the election of new board or committee members. Apparently, there have been cases in the past where outgoing directors and committee members have refused to cooperate. Under the new statute, the state agency which enforces certain aspects of the condominium law would be empowered to impose a civil penalty against an outgoing board member or committee member who willfully and knowingly fails to turn over such records and property to the association.

• Video-Conferencing:  Under the new statute, condominium association boards are specifically permitted to “meet” via telephone, real-time video conferencing, or similar real-time electronic or video communications. Members remotely participating in such meetings count towards a quorum as though they were physically present. This is perhaps more in the nature of a clarification than a change, the not-for-profit corporation statute has for a number of years permitted directors to participate in meetings by use of any means of communication by which all directors participating may simultaneously hear each other during the meeting.

• Board E-mails: In another change that probably does not plow new ground, the condominium statute will now provide that board or committee members may use e-mail as a means of communication with each other, but may not vote on association matters through e-mail. I think this was clear before the law was changed, but there was some perceived need to add this to the statute. Of perhaps greatest note, the new law does not address whether e-mails between board members are considered “official records” of the association, a somewhere complicated issue as to which there are some case decisions on point.

• Association Assessments: For purposes of joint and several liability for unpaid assessments, the term “previous owner” now excludes a condominium association that acquires title to a delinquent unit through foreclosure or by deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. This change in the statute is intended to address previous case law, finding that if an association takes title through foreclosure of its lien, it loses the right to seek contribution from its successor in title for past due assessment owed by a previous owner. A similar change was made to Chapter 720, the law applicable to homeowners’ associations, last year.

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