This week continues our annual review of the legislative changes which affect community associations, and continue with the main bill, Senate Bill 630, which took effect July 1, 2021. For the first edition, see Community Associations Affected by the 2021 Legislative Session, published on August 1, 2021.
Transfer Approval Fees
Section 718.112(2)(d)3 of the Condominium Act has been amended to increase the maximum transfer fee that can be charged in connection with the review of a sale or lease application. The association must have the authority to approve sales or leases in order for the feel to be charged and the fee must be authorized by the declaration of condominium, articles of incorporation, or bylaws. The maximum has been raised from $100 to $150. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation must adjust the fee every 5 years based upon the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers, U.S. city average, and publish the amount on its website.
Recall of Board Members
Section 718.112(2)(j) of the Condominium Act has been amended to provided recall disputes may be filed either in court or as a petition for arbitration with the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes. In other words, the petitioner may now choose to go directly to court. The previous law only authorized Division arbitration.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Section 718.112(2)(k) of the Condominium Act has been amended to permit condominium unit owners and associations to choose to initially attempt to resolve disputes through either Division arbitration or private mediation. The previous law only authorized arbitration.
Service Providers; Conflicts of Interest
Section 718.112(2)(p) of the Condominium Act, which prohibited contracts with a service provider that is owned or operated by a board member (or certain relatives with a financial relationship to a board member) was remove from the statute.
There are still other conflict of interest statutes that would apply if an association enters into a contract with a board member or relative of a board member.
Natural Gas and Electric Vehicles
New Sections 718.113(8) and (9) of the Condominium Act expand upon changes from a few years ago that required associations to allow individual owners to install electric vehicle charging stations in their parking spaces. The law now also allows condominium owners to install natural gas fueling stations. The amendments provide that the board may not prohibit the installation of a natural gas fuel station and unit owners installing such stations must pay all costs associated with such installations, and comply with certain standards and practices, including compliance with all federal, state, and local laws.
Under the amended statute, the board may make available, install, or operate an electric vehicle charging station or a natural gas fuel station on the common elements or association property and establish the charges or the manner of payments by the unit owners, residents, or guests who use such stations. The installation, repair, or maintenance of such stations by the board will not constitute a material alteration or substantial addition to the common elements or association property. The association’s ability to install a centralized station for electricity or natural gas does not mean that the association refuse proper individual owner installations.
Termination of Condominiums
Section 718.117(16) of the Condominium Act was amended to provide that a unit owner or lienor may file a petition to challenge to a plan of termination under the arbitration statute.
This has been the subject of much attention and debate over the past year and a half in light of the COVID-19 crisis. We will continue with our review of the legislative changes next week with a look at these changes.