In early March, we posted a blog regarding a Grand Jury decision that held Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation (“DBPR”) and condo boards liable for condo association misconduct. Well, it didn’t take long to heed the calls for further action. The Florida legislature has now passed a bill with bipartisan support (yes, you read that right) to impose criminal penalties for unethical behavior committed by condo board members. The bill is now headed to Governor Rick Scott which, if signed, will become law July 1.
Sweeping Changes for all-too-common Issues Related to Many South Florida Condos
With several South Florida condos under investigation for election fraud, financial mismanagement and lack of transparency, the proposed bill would now classify these offenses as criminal components under Florida state law. Several other proposed changes include:
– Directors will be term-limited to eight years on the board of the HOA.
–The practice of Directors or their relatives receiving payment from the association for services will be discontinued.
–Requires condo associations with at least 150 units to publish their financial reports on the web.
–Any officer or director engaging in self-dealing, whether directly or indirectly, would constitute a violation of criminal law.
–Officers, directors and/or employees of the condo board may no longer use a debit card issued in the name of the association for association expenses.
– Prohibits charging excessive fees for rush estoppels.
Thankfully, changes would also be implemented for the DBPR which has been deemed “ill-suited” to uphold its responsibilities by a Miami-Dade grand jury. There is a provision in the bill that would assign state funds, specifically for Miami-Dade County, to deal with condo complaints exclusively.
If you or someone you know is experiencing issues with an association’s board, please feel free to contact us to see if we can provide you with any legal assistance.
From the trenches,