Opinion By Jan Bergemann
President, Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.
March 20, 2018
year the Florida legislature passed a bill trying to deal with the
numerous complaints by Florida Home and Condo Owners. This year they
voted in favor of a bill that destroyed many of the accomplishments.
are the low-lights of the bill that will be effective July 1, 2018 if we
can’t convince Governor Scott to veto this horrible bill.
HB 841 (CLICK
HERE TO READ THE ACTUAL BILL) is the typical anti-owner bill
filed by (soon former) State Representative Moraitis. The actual
problems can be found in the actual wording of the bill – and the vague
description of actions to take – or not to take.
major problem of this bill: It will end public board meetings as we know
it. Since it legalizes communication between board members by e-mail
(without making these e-mails public record) only final voting has to be
done in a public board meeting. All discussions prior to the final vote
can be held behind closed door . This is the crucial wording in the
(c); FS 719.106 (1)(c); FS 720.303(2)(a):
of the board of administration may use e-mail as a means of
communication but may not cast a vote on an association
matter via e-mail.
honest: The legislature made a total mess of the condo recall
provisions. Instead of improving the process – as it was the intention
last year, the made a total mess of it. This is one of the cases where
we wish they would have left it alone! The legislators added the words “facial
valid” to the provisions without explaining what it really
means. That alone will cause even more confusion. And now the Owners
Voting For Recall are the party supposed to file for arbitration if the
board “fails” to certify the recall. And the new language allows
arbitrators to award legal fees if one party is found to have acted
“frivolously.” Who decides what’s “Frivolous” in a recall?
Here is the
If the board fails to duly notice and hold the required
meeting or at the conclusion of the meeting determines that
the recall is not facially valid, the unit owner
representative may file a petition pursuant to s. 718.1255
challenging the board's failure to act or challenging the
board's determination on facial validity. The petition must
be filed within 60 days after the expiration of the
applicable 5-full-business-day period. The review of a
petition under this subparagraph is limited to the
sufficiency of service on the board and the facial validity
of the written agreement or ballots filed.
6. A board
member who has been recalled may file a petition pursuant to
s. 718.1255 challenging the validity of the recall. The
petition must be filed within 60 days after the recall. The
association and the unit owner representative shall be named
as the respondents. The petition may challenge the facial
validity of the written agreement or ballots filed or the
substantial compliance with the procedural requirements for
the recall. If the arbitrator determines the recall was
invalid, the petitioning board member shall immediately be
reinstated and the recall is null and void. A board member
who is successful in challenging a recall is entitled to
recover reasonable attorney fees and costs from the
respondents. The arbitrator may award reasonable attorney
fees and costs to the respondents if they prevail, if the
arbitrator makes a finding that the petitioner's claim is
Here is the “hidden” present made to so-called “bulk-buyers” by Moraitis:
He added the “FOREVER” clause:
Time limitation for classification as bulk assignee or bulk
buyer.—A person acquiring condominium parcels 1085 may not
be classified as a bulk assignee or bulk buyer unless the
condominium parcels were acquired on or after July 1, 2010,
but before July 1, 2018.
The date of such acquisition shall be determined by the date
of recording a deed or other instrument of conveyance for
such parcels in the public records of the county in which
the condominium is located, or by the date of issuing a
certificate of title in a foreclosure proceeding with
respect to such condominium parcels.
Moraitis didn't fail to add
language to the fining process in the statutes (Remember: The US
Constitution only allows government entities to fine its citizens!)
that strengthen board dictatorships in our communities. Remember: No
real proof required to levy such a fine! Added now is a due date for the
fine -- just to make sure that the board can levy a fine against an "obnoxious"
owner to make sure that he can't be a candidate for the next election
without paying a $1,000 fine -- or even more? Why not just allowing
boards to send unwanted owners to Siberia? You know: The owners asking
for financial records and contracts?
The new language (Example HOA):
720.305(2)(b) A fine or suspension
levied by the board of administration
may not be imposed unless the board
first provides at least 14 days' notice to the
parcel owner and, if applicable, any
occupant, licensee, or invitee of the parcel owner,
sought to be fined or suspended and an opportunity for a
hearing before a committee of at least three members
appointed by the board who are not officers, directors, or
employees of the association, or the spouse, parent, child,
brother, or sister of an officer, director, or employee. If
the committee, by majority vote, does not approve a proposed
fine or suspension, the proposed
fine or suspension may not be imposed. The role
of the committee is limited to determining whether to
confirm or reject the fine or suspension levied by the
board. If the proposed
fine or suspension levied by the
board is approved by the committee, the fine payment is due
5 days after the date of the committee meeting at which the
fine is approved. The association must provide
written notice of such fine or suspension by mail or hand
delivery to the parcel owner and, if applicable, to any
tenant, licensee, or invitee of the parcel owner.
See as well the same changes to FS
718.303(b) and FS 719.303(b)
Added to the
bill was a provision to allow owners to install “Electric Vehicle
Charging Stations.” The idea in itself isn’t bad, but it will create
most likely serious problems for older condominiums. Many of the
electrical circuits in these older buildings may not be strong enough to
allow these high-powered charging stations to be installed without
renewing the existing electrical circuits. That will get very costly.
But the bill fails to supply a solution for this very high-priced
problem. If the owner who wants a “power station” installed would have
to pay for it, it will become a very costly endeavor. It will get very
interesting – to say the least.
The Legislature finds that the use of electric vehicles
conserves and protects the state's environmental resources,
provides significant economic savings to drivers, and serves
an important public interest. The participation of
condominium associations is essential to the state's efforts
to conserve and protect the state's environmental resources
and provide economic savings to drivers. Therefore, the
installation of an electric vehicle charging station shall
be governed as follows:
declaration of condominium or restrictive covenant may not
prohibit or be enforced so as to prohibit any unit owner
from installing an electric vehicle charging station within
the boundaries of the unit owner's limited common element
parking area. The board of administration of a condominium
association may not prohibit a unit owner from installing an
electric vehicle charging station for an electric vehicle,
as defined in s. 320.01, within the boundaries of his or her
limited common element parking area. The installation of
such charging stations are subject to the provisions of this
installation may not cause irreparable damage to the
electricity for the electric vehicle charging station must
be separately metered and payable by the unit owner
installing such charging station.
(d) The unit
owner who is installing an electric vehicle charging station
is responsible for the costs of installation, operation,
maintenance, and repair, including, but not limited to,
hazard and liability insurance. The association may enforce
payment of such costs pursuant to s. 718.116.
(e) If the
unit owner or his or her successor decide there is no longer
a need for the electronic vehicle charging station, such
person is responsible for the cost of removal of the
electronic vehicle charging station. The association may
enforce payment of such costs pursuant to s. 718.116.
association may require the unit owner to:
1. Comply with
bona fide safety requirements, consistent with applicable
building codes or recognized safety standards, for the
protection of persons and property.
2. Comply with
reasonable architectural standards adopted by the
association that govern the dimensions, placement, or
external appearance of the electric vehicle charging
station, provided that such standards may not prohibit the
installation of such charging station or substantially
increase the cost thereof.
3. Engage the
services of a licensed and registered electrical contractor
or engineer familiar with the installation and core
requirements of an electric vehicle charging station.
4. Provide a
certificate of insurance naming the association as an
additional insured on the owner's insurance policy for any
claim related to the installation, maintenance, or use of
the electric vehicle charging station within 14 days after
receiving the association's approval to install such
the association for the actual cost of any increased
insurance premium amount attributable to the electric
vehicle charging station within 14 days after receiving the
association's insurance premium invoice.
association provides an implied easement across the common
elements of the condominium property to the unit owner for
purposes of the installation of the electric vehicle
charging station and the furnishing of electrical power,
including any necessary equipment, to such charging station,
subject to the requirements of this subsection.
the LOW-LIGHTS of the bill -- there is more confusing
verbiage in other provisions.
home and condo owners can only hope that Governor Scott has common sense
and vetoes this horrible bill.