BLG's Monthly Newsletter - July 2015

Florida Statute Update

by Candice J. Gundel, Esq.

 

Another set of amended Florida Statutes have gone into effect on July 1, 2015.  What follows is a brief synopsis of the significant changes related to community associations.  

- Community associations no longer have to fear an unintentional accord and satisfaction.  Amended chapter 718 and 719 effectively overrule last year’s appellate decision in St. Croix Lane Trust v. St. Croix Pelican March.

 Prior statutes provided that a claim of lien secured assessments, interest, costs, and reasonable attorney fees.  A claim of lien now also secures late fees.

- The Federal Protecting Tenant at Foreclosure Act expired at the end of 2014.  Florida has now enacted a similar provision in creating Section 83.561, Florida Statute.  This new statute provides that a bona fide tenant is entitled to remain in a foreclosed property until thirty (30) days after receiving notice of termination of the lease from the new owner of the property.  The statute also provides for certain procedures and exceptions in the removal of a tenant/occupant after foreclosure.

- The Distressed Condominium Relief Act, also referred to as the “bulk buyer” statute was extended until July 1, 2018. 

 Section 718.117, Florida Statutes was amended to include additional procedures and protections for unit owners when an association is subject to a proposed or ongoing termination of condominium procedure.

 New sections were created for condominiums, cooperatives, and homeowners associations related to voting by property owners.  These new provisions permit property owners to vote electronically through an internet based online voting system. A property owner must consent to the online voting and may elect vote in person or by proxy should they desire.   In addition to establishing specific protocols for software used in online voting the statutes also clarify that a property owner who votes electronically is counted as being in attendance at a meeting for purposes of establishing a quorum.

- In a further attempt to conform to the digital age several other provisions were amended to accommodate electronic communication:

o   Clarification that email communication is a written record of the association and therefore a portion of the official documents.

o   A property owner voting by proxy may now transmit that proxy to the association by facsimile or e-mail.

o   An association may provide all required notices electronically to property owners, regardless of the provisions of the association’s governing documents.  The property owner must consent to receipt of electronic notice and can revoke that consent at any time.