Proposed Legislation Seeks to treat HOAs and Condo Associations the Same
The Community Association Law “Founding Fathers” in Florida created separate, but unequal, forms of government for condominium and homeowner associations. Condo associations are regulated by the “Division” (the Division of Condominiums, Time Shares and Mobile Homes). Condo owners pay an annual fee to the Division for this oversight. HOAs have no such oversight and pay no annual fees.
F.S. Chapter 718, the condominium statute, has very detailed provisions regarding elections, board and general meetings, recalls, letting of vendor contracts and many other governance matters. However, F.S. Chapter 720, the HOA Statute, contains much less detail.
HB 653, a bill pending in the Florida House of Representatives and filed by Representative John Cortes, would eliminate these differences between condos and HOAs. Specifically, the Division would undertake regulation of HOAs and would be re-named the Division of Condominiums, Homeowner Associations, Time Shares and Mobile Homes. F.S. Chapter 720 would be extensively amended to add language found in Chapter 718 regarding the Division’s authority and concerning board governance, elections, rights of recall and similar matters. The bill is currently in committee.
While uniformity in treatment of community associations is a good idea, the expansion of duties of the Division is an expansion of government and bureaucracy and will be a major budgetary increase. Though the expense should be offset by the assessment passed on to the HOAs, it remains to be seen how such an expansion will be received by the governor who continues to pledge to trim the size of the government.
The law would go into effect July 1, 2016 if passed. HOAs should be prepared to deal with potential effects the legislation would have on their communities. Changes will have immediate impact on the way HOAs do business.