Hurricane Shutters and Florida Condominiums

Sep 13, 2016 | Associations, Community, Florida, Q&A, Residents

Question: I am preparing to return to my northern home for the summer and intend to deploy the hurricane shutters on my condominium unit. However, the association is advising me that I cannot deploy my hurricane shutters unless there is a storm warning. Is this permissible? (B.M. via e-mail)

Answer: Since hurricane season began on June 1, this is a timely question. Section 718.113(5) of the Florida Condominium Act provides that each board of directors of a residential condominium must adopt hurricane shutter specifications for each building within each condominium operated by the association which shall include “color, style, and other factors deemed relevant by the board.” The statute does not speak to the issue you have raised.

The courts have not addressed this issue either.

However, there is at least one DBPR arbitration decision (which, technically, does not have the binding force of “law”) that found that a rule that prohibiting the deployment of hurricane shutters except when a storm was “imminent” was unreasonable. However, the arbitrator seemed to indicate that a rule that provided that the association would undertake to deploy the hurricane shutters in the event of a storm might be enforceable.

Some feel that a building being “shuttered up” for extended periods is aesthetically displeasing and may invite those with criminal intent to view the building as an opportunity. On the other hand, it is not necessarily feasible for an absentee owner to be able to assure that his or her shutters are deployed when a major storm is approaching, as things tend to get chaotic during emergency preparations.

Originally posted on Florida Condo HOA Law Blog