Florida Condo Law Changes 2011

by Patricia on October 3, 2011

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Welcome back Condo and HOA boards! The season starts with some wonderful autumn weather after a very hot summer. To get you prepared for the upcoming season and your board meetings, here is a quick overview about the most important law changes and Citizens Insurance requirements:

Florida Condo Law Changes

In the 2011 Legislative Session in Tallahassee, several issues concerning HOAs, Condo Associations and Coops were clarified with HB1195, the so called “Glitch” bill. Among the changes were many measures which will help associations to collect fees:

Collection of Rents from Tenants

Past and future fees due to the association can now be collected from the tenant. The association has to notify the tenant in writing explaining the obligation to pay the rent to the association. Important to know is, that the law provides immunity for the tenant of any claim from the landlord in regard to rent paid to the association as long as the unit owner is delinquent. This provision applies to condo, coop and HOA.

Condo Foreclosure and the Association's rights

Suspension of Use of the Common Elements

If a unit owner is delinquent the use of the common elements can be suspended. This decision can be made during a normal board meeting; it does not require a formal hearing. However, suspension of use for violation still requires a hearing before a committee. This provision applies to condo, coop and HOA.

Official Records

Owners my consent in writing to have their contact information disclosed. The association is not liable for the inadvertent disclosure of information, if the information is included in an official record of the association. This passage applies to condo and HOA.

Fire Alarm Exemption

Here it was clarified that buildings with less than four stories and exterior corridors can opt out of the manual fire alarm installation. This law change applies to condo and coop.

Liability to a superior lien holder (Master Association)

An association or its successor or assignee, that acquires title to a unit through foreclosure is not liable for any unpaid assessments, late fees and such in favor of any other association which holds a superior lien (for example the master association). This provision applies to condos and HOA.

Bulk Television and Internet Services

A resident of any parcel, whether a tenant or parcel owner may not be denied access to available franchised, licensed, or certificated cable or video service providers if the resident pays the provider directly. HOAs can enter into bulk purchase agreements for Internet and television services, but they cannot deny an individual resident to chose his own provider. This provision already applies for condos and was now also established for HOAs.

Eligibility to serve as director on the HOA board

Homeowners, who are delinquent on HOA fees for more than 90 days may not serve on the board. The same is true, if the person is a convicted felon.

HOA member can now address the Board at Meetings

HOA members are now allowed to address the board at meetings on items which are on the agenda. This revises the previous requirements to have a signed petition to speak.

Director Certification

One year prior to the election or 90 days after the election elected directors can take a state approved course to become certified. The certification is valid for the entire time serving on the board. This provision applies to condos.

Elections

A candidate for a condo association board needs to be eligible to serve before the election, meaning the candidate can only appear on the ballot if he/she is eligible.

For the complete HB 1195 text, please go to http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Documents/loaddoc.aspx?FileName=h1195z.JDC.DOCX&DocumentType=Analysis&BillNumber=1195&Session=2011

Besides the changes in Tallahassee, Citizens Insurance issued several agents communications, which will change several provisions:

Effective May 2011, buildings with sprinkler systems are only eligible for sprinkler credits, if the sprinkler system is ISO approved. ISO stands for Insurance Service Office, a company specialized on risk ratings of buildings. See my blog about ISO classifications.

The reason for this new rule is Sprinkler Leakage Exclusion. Therefore, if your sprinkler system is not ISO approved, Citizen will add the Sprinkler Leakage Exclusion endorsement to the policy.

But to avoid this endorsement, here is what you can do:

-       Have a sprinkler maintenance with an approved company in place

-       Have an annual sprinkler inspection report

-       Order an ISO Automatic Sprinkler Grading Report

Have a statement prepared by a Florida Certified Fire Protection System Contractor or Fire Marshall that includes all of the information outlined below:

  • No maintenance problems exist that could lead to sprinkler leakage exposure
  • The system is operational, serviced, maintained, and able to function as intended or designed, in the event of a fire
  • The installation has evidence of flushing and hydrostatic tests of both the underground and overhead piping, in accordance with NFPA Standard 13
  • A full-flow main drain test has been witnessed within the last 48 months
  • Dry-pipe installations have evidence of a satisfactory dry-pipe test within the last 48 months
  • Fire-pump installations have evidence and results of a fire-pump test conducted within the last 48 months

Also effective May 2011 the definition of a single-building was clarified:

The new single-building definition reads as follows:

-       As one building when they communicate through unprotected openings

-       Separated when separated by space

-       Separately, if divided by an 8-inch masonry or 6-inch reinforced concrete part wall without openings, provided that, if a roof is combustible or metal, the party wall pierces the roof. In addition, if the exterior walls are not masonry, the party wall must pierce the non-masonry wall.

Effective October 1, 2011 sinkhole inspection will be required requesting a sinkhole loss coverage, if the following applies:

-       The property is located in Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco, or Pinellas counties

-       A yes response is given on any of the application’s sinkhole-related questions

The sinkhole inspection requirement change applies to the following policy types and does not impact catastrophic ground cover collapse coverage, which is included in the base policy:

-       Homeowners (HO3)

-       Dwelling (DP-1 and DP-3 with building coverage)

Once the request to add sinkhole coverage is received, Citizens will order the inspection from a Citizens-approved company. The cost will be split evenly by the applicant and Citizens.

For more detailed information go to https://www.citizensfla.com/agent/ac_techbulletins.cfm?type=atb&show=pdf&year=2011&link=/shared/ATB/ATB005-11/ATB005-11.pdf and click on Updated Sinkhole Inspection Requirements.

It is expected that Citizens rates will increase up to 10% in the coming year in general and an average of 39% for sinkhole coverage.

Though the coverage is optional, the company automatically adds sinkhole coverage to policies except in Pasco and Hernando counties. Citizens has 84,908 homeowners’ policies in South Florida with sinkhole coverage, largely because it costs very little, about $3 to $20. With the increase, the average sinkhole premium cost in mainland South Florida would be $40 to $100. The provision is intended to help Citizens collect enough premiums to pay costs associated with sinkhole claims. The insurer collected $32 million in sinkhole premiums from homeowners’ policies in 2010 and expects to pay out $245 million in claims expenses.

By the way: State law caps Citizens increases at 10%, but that does not mean that policies could increase much more if Citizens increases the buildings rebuilding cost. Therefore, it is more important than ever to get a correct and up to date insurance appraisal.

Thanks for following my blog, please contact me with questions and concerns at any time.

 

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

jim July 2, 2012 at 7:11 pm

if a wall water pipe is leaking, who is responsible for the repair ? the line runs in concrete from the back wall of the kitchen sink to the shut-off valve in a bedroom –it is totally under the floor –it is not visible to anyone -

Reply

Patricia July 4, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Hello Jim,
I wish I could provide you with a definitive answer, however, I am not an attorney, but an appraiser.
Based on what you describe, it seems the HOA should take care of the repairs. If the HOA does not respond to your request, consult an attorney familiar with condo law.
Good Luck,
Patricia

Reply

dean January 14, 2012 at 8:51 am

Who is responsible for the cost of replacing windows………..the assoc or the condo owner?

Reply

Patricia January 14, 2012 at 9:03 am

Based on Florida Statute 718 the shell of the building in general is the responsibility of the association. Wall openings like doors and windows are part of the envelope of the building and therefore the association should take care of it. However, please consult with your condo declaration papers if there is an exception to the rule. If necessary consult with an attorney who is specialized on condo law.

Reply

John nJ Flynn December 23, 2011 at 8:12 am

Our condo board wants to put up fences and gates into the common area and is using the emergency section of the law to bypass a conto unit vote.
Pray tell, what constitutes a “crime emergency”?
Thank You
J Flynn

Reply

Lida Torrence December 3, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Is the out side if our condo building considered common element ? My reason for asking is that we are a complex of four separate association. All complex build in 1979 and 1980. All complexs have been tan with dark wood trim. In Oct. of 2011 our president sent out letters to our association to choose either red rust or light green for trim and white for the building. Our past colors were not included in the chose. I have no idea how many voted for either of the three colors as we were never told. We are the only association now with white building and green trim. We have a management company but I am not sure they have the association best intrest in mind just the president.

Lida Torrence Village on the Green lll.

Reply

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