Legislative Update of New Community Association Laws

By July 1, 2020 Condo & HOA Law

Numerical Index Summary of Laws Amended in the 2020 Legislative Session

The following is our post-Session report on residential housing law changes from the 2020 Legislative Session. The Governor has taken final action on the measures. The full text of each bill, as well as applicable legislative staff reports, are available on the legislative web sites (www.flsenate.gov; www.myfloridahouse.com; and www.leg.state.fl.us.). Note: F.S. = Florida Statute. HB = House Bill. SB=Senate Bill. All changes are effective as of July 1, 2020 or as noted.

NOT FOR PROFIT CORPORATIONS (F.S. Chapter 617) (Applicable to condominium, homeowner and cooperative associations)

No changes.

CONDOMINIUMS – (F.S. Chapter 718).

1. Law Enforcement Vehicles – F.S.718.129 / SB 476.

An association may not prohibit a law enforcement officer who is a Unit owner or a tenant, guest or invitee of a Unit owner from parking his or her assigned law enforcement vehicle in an area where the Unit owner, tenant, guest or invitee otherwise has a right to park. Note: A law enforcement officer is defined in F.S. 943.10(1) as a person “vested with the authority to bear arms and make arrests; and whose primary responsibility is the prevention and detection of crime.” So, this law does not apply to firefighters, EMS or similar government employees.

2. Residential Condominium Loss Assessments – F.S. 627.714(1)-(2) / SB 1606.

Loss assessment coverage is insurance coverage for condominium unit owners that provides protection for situations where the owner of a condominium unit, as the owner of shared property, is held financially responsible for: (a) Deductibles owed when a claim is made under a condominium association’s property insurance policy; (b) damage that occurs to the condominium building or the common areas of a condominium property; or (c) injuries that occur in the common areas of a condominium property.

Florida law requires that property insurance policies held by condominium unit owners include a minimum property loss assessment coverage of $2,000 for all assessments made as a result of the same direct loss to the condominium property.

The bill provides that the amount of loss assessment coverage that can be assessed against a unit owner is based upon the coverage limit for loss assessment that was in effect in the unit owner’s policy one day before the date of an occurrence that resulted in a loss for which the unit owner is being assessed. Further, the bill establishes that the coverage in place at that time applies regardless of the date on which the condominium association assesses the unit owner.

COOPERATIVES (F.S. Chapter 719).

1. Law Enforcement Vehicles – F.S.719.131 / SB 476.

An association may not prohibit a law enforcement officer who is a parcel owner or a tenant, guest or invitee of a parcel owner from parking his or her assigned law enforcement vehicle in an area where the Unit owner, tenant, guest or invitee otherwise has a right to park. Note: A law enforcement officer is defined in F.S. 943.10(1) as a person “vested with the authority to bear arms and make arrests; and whose primary responsibility is the prevention and detection of crime.” So, this law does not apply to firefighters, EMS or similar government employees.

HOMEOWNER ASSOCIATIONS (F.S. Chapter 720).

1. Law Enforcement Vehicles – F.S.720.131 / SB 476.

An association may not prohibit a law enforcement officer who is a Unit owner or a tenant, guest or invitee of a Unit owner from parking his or her assigned law enforcement vehicle in an area where the Unit owner, tenant, guest or invitee otherwise has a right to park. Note: A law enforcement officer is defined in F.S. 943.10(1) as a person “vested with the authority to bear arms and make arrests; and whose primary responsibility is the prevention and detection of crime.” So, this law does not apply to firefighters, EMS or similar government employees.

TIMESHARES (F.S. Chapter 721).

No Changes.

MOBILE HOME PARKS (F.S. Chapter 723).

1. Developer Owned Mobile Home Parks and Mobile Home Homeowner Associations – F.S. 723 / HB 1339

Requires a mobile home park owner to increase a park’s facilities and amenities and amend the prospectus when expanding the park. Provides that a mobile home owner may be required to install improvements as disclosed in the prospectus and allows the purchaser of a mobile home to assume the seller’s prospectus. Permits a park owner to issue a rental increase notice to multiple tenants. Permits a mobile home park damaged or destroyed by natural forces to be rebuilt on the same site with the same density as was approved or built before being damaged or destroyed. Requires mobile home owners to receive written approval from the mobile home park owner before making any exterior modification or addition to the home, when vacating the premises, remove any debris and other property of any kind that is left on the mobile home lot. Provides the following grounds for termination of a rental agreement: (a) Nonpayment of rent; (b) conviction of a violation of a federal or state law or local ordinance, if the violation is detrimental to the health, safety, or welfare of other residents of the mobile home park; (c) a violation of the park rules or of the rental agreement; (d) a change in land use; or (e) failure to qualify as, and to obtain approval to become, a tenant or occupant of the home, if such approval is required by a properly promulgated rule.

Revises mobile home homeowner association rules related to notifications, bylaws, powers, elections, recalls and disputes. Particularly, (a) proxies cannot be used in the election of directors; (b) sets the quorum for members meetings at a maximum of 30%; (c) requires Board meetings to be open to members with exceptions; (d) mandates floor nominations; (e) allows election to occur without a quorum if 20% of members vote in election; (f) imposes 718 and 720 official records rules with similar but not identical penalties; and (g) adopts recall requirements.

2. Transient Recreational Vehicle Parks – F.S. 83, 513 and 715 / HB 343

The bill creates a rebuttable presumption that a guest is a transient guest. Specifically, the bill provides if the guest registry indicates that the intended length of stay is under 6 months, the guest is presumed to be transient. Unless rebutted by the guest, this will allow an RV park operator to eject a transient guest in accordance with the requirements for RV parks in s. 513.13, F.S., instead of potentially having to go through the lengthy eviction process. The bill adds a posted park rules and regulations violation to the list of reasons for which a park operator may eject a transient guest from park premises. The bill also requires that the notice must state: “You are hereby notified that this recreational vehicle park no longer desires to entertain you as its guest, and you are requested to leave at once. To remain after receipt of this notice is a misdemeanor under the laws of this state”. Additionally, the bill gives a law enforcement officer called by a park owner to help with a person illegally on RV park premises the option to remove the person from the premises or arrest the person if the park operator requests such action and indicates that such a person: (a) illegally possessed or dealt in a controlled substance; (b) disturbed the peace and comfort of other persons; (c) caused harm to the physical park; (d) failed to pay rent at the agreed-upon rental rate by the agreed-upon time; or (e) remained in the park after being asked to leave. Thus, the law enforcement officer no longer must witness an offense before taking the person into custody and may remove the offending person from the premises in lieu of making an arrest.

The bill authorizes an RV park operator to refuse access to the premises to any transient guest or visitor who: (a) Displays intoxication, profanity, lewdness, or brawling; (b) indulges in language or conduct that disturbs the peace, quiet enjoyment, or comfort of other guests; or (c) engages in illegal or disorderly conduct or conduct constituting a nuisance or safety hazard.

MISCELLANEOUS.

1. Emotional Support Animals – F.S. 413.08, 760.27 and 817.265 / SB 1084.

Defines an emotional support animal as an animal that does not require training to do work, perform tasks, provide assistance or provide therapeutic emotional support by virtue of its presence which alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of the person’s disability. If the persons disability is not readily apparent the Association may request reliable information supporting the disability including: (a) determination of disability by a governmental entity; (b) information from a health care practitioner, a telehealth provider or; (c) any other similarly licensed or certified practitioner or provider in good standing in another State but only if such out-of-state practitioner has provided in person care or services to the person on at least one occasion. If the person’s disability related need is not readily apparent the Association may request reliable information supporting the person’s need for the animal including information identifying the “particular” assistance or therapeutic emotional support provided by the “specific animal”. If the person is seeking more than one ESA, they must identify the specific need for each animal. The Association cannot deny the request because the person did not use the Association’s form or follow its exact protocol. However, an emotional support animal registration of any kind, including but not limited to an I.D. card, patch, certificate or similar documentation obtained from the internet is not by itself sufficient to establish the disability or the need for the ESA. Providing information indicating a person is qualified for an ESA without personal knowledge of the persons disability or need for the ESA is a violation of the law. F.S. 817.265 makes it a criminal second-degree misdemeanor to provide false or fraudulent documentation of the need for an ESA or to willfully misrepresent oneself as having a disability or need for an ESA.

The Association may also deny the ESA “if such animal poses a direct threat to the safety or health of others or poses a direct threat of physical damage to the property of others, which threat cannot be reduced or eliminated by another reasonable accommodation.”

Note: If an Association intends to deny an ESA for any reason it is imperative that it consult legal counsel before doing so.

2. Florida Insurance Guaranty Association (FIGA) – F.S. 637.57 / HB 529.

Florida law provides for guaranty associations to ensure policyholders of insolvent insurers are protected with respect to insurance premiums paid and settlement of outstanding claims. FIGA issues guaranty fund payments for all lines of property and casualty insurance, including policies written to condominium associations. Florida law provides that FIGA is only obligated to pay the portions of claims, made to insolvent property and casualty insurers, which are in excess of $100, and less than $300,000. For policies providing homeowner’s insurance coverage, FIGA provides for up to an additional $200,000 for the portion of a covered claim which relates to the damage to the structure and contents. However, for policies covering condominium associations FIGA’s coverage is capped at $100,000 multiplied by the number of condominium units in the condominium association. The bill changes the amount of coverage that FIGA must provide for each condominium unit within a condominium association from a maximum of $100,000 multiplied by the number of units to $200,000 multiplied by the number of units.

3. Fireworks – F.S. 791.08 / SB 140.

Fireworks may be lawfully used on December 31 (New Year’s Eve), January 1 (New Year’s Day), and July 4 (Independence Day). The law does not supersede local ordinances nor a properly recorded declaration of covenants for Chapter 720 Homeowners Associations. So, an HOA can prohibit fireworks on all days including the 3 designated days IF it is in the recorded covenants. However, the law does supersede any HOA “Board” adopted rules prohibiting the use of fireworks on the designated days. NOTE: This law does apply to Condominiums or Cooperatives regardless of recorded covenants or rules so Condominiums and Cooperative cannot prohibit fireworks on the 3 designated holidays even if it is in the recorded Declaration.

4. Discriminatory Housing Restrictions – F.S.712.065 / SB 374.

Discriminatory restrictions as to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or handicap found in recorded covenants are not enforceable and declared null and void automatically. Upon the request of any parcel owner a discriminatory provision may be removed from a recorded covenant or restriction by an amendment approved by the Board of Directors of the Association.

5. Scrivener’s Errors in Deeds – F.S. 689.041 / SB 886.

The bill states that a deed containing a “scrivener’s error” conveys title to the “intended real property” as if there had been no error, and states that each subsequent erroneous deed containing the identical scrivener’s error also conveys title as if there had been no error. The bill defines a “scrivener’s error” as a single error or omission in the legal description of the “intended real property,” i.e. the property which the grantor intended to be conveyed by the deed, that is one of the following: (a) an error or omission of one lot or block identification of a recorded platted lot; (b) an error or omission of one unit, building, or phase identifications of a condominium; or (c)
the grantor of the erroneous deed did not hold title to any other real property in the same subdivision, condominium, or cooperative development or in the same section, township, or range described in the deed containing the scrivener’s error within 5 years before the record date of that deed. The bill provides the form for a curative notice to be recorded in the public records.


PLEASE CALL 239-331-5100 WITH ANY QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS REGARDING THIS UPDATE. THANK YOU.