Election procedures for homeowners’ associations are established. The election procedures mirror those for condominiums. The procedures call for a first notice of election, notice of intent to be a candidate, candidate information sheets, and second notice together with ballots that must remain secret. Additionally, all terms expire at the time of the annual meeting. Members may stand for re- election, co-owners of a parcel may not serve on the board at the same time, and a person who has been convicted of a felony by any court of record in the United States and whose right to vote has not been restored in the jurisdiction of their residence is ineligible for board membership. The association cannot restrict parcel owners from electronically recording meetings.
Section 58. Section 718.307, F.S., relating to turnover from developer control is amended. The amendment lowers the percentage of sell-out that triggers turnover from 90 percent to 75 percent. The developer is required to convey title to common areas to the association immediately after its incorporation and any additional common areas acquired by the developer must be conveyed immediately to the association. The timeframe for turning over the association records and funds is reduced from 90 days to 30 days. The developer is required to pay for a turnover audit from inception until turnover within 30 days; this requirement applies only to those associations incorporated after December 31, 2007.
Section 59. Section 720.3071, F.S., is created requiring the division to provide mandatory training, at association expense, for newly elected board members and those already serving who have not previously attended training.
Section 60. Section 720.3075, F.S., is amended to add to the list of prohibited clauses in the governing documents language that would result in the association’s functioning in conflict with federal, state and local laws, restricting homeowners from installing hurricane shutters or other hurricane protection, or from mounting temporary or permanent shutters or other hurricane protection during any time that a hurricane warning has been declared, evacuation ordered, or for seven days after the conclusion of the watch or evacuation, or for 14 days in the case of a category 4 storm or greater.
If a local government restricts homeowners’ employing temporary or permanent shutters the local government may also authorize associations to adopt and enforce equal or lesser restrictions. The association may adopt restrictions governing the color or form of shutters or other permanent exterior window coverings. Associations may not restrict the time or duration for shutters or other hurricane protection to be open or closed during any period.
Section 61. Section 720.3086, F.S., is amended to provide that the developer or other owner of common areas or recreational facilities serving the parcel owners must mail a copy of the annual financial report to the parcel owners upon written request from a parcel owner. The owner may go to circuit court if the financial report is not made available, and the court may award attorney fees and costs to such parcel owner. Any restrictions within the covenants that allow guests of the developer or facility owner the right to use facilities that are reserved for the exclusive use of the parcel owners are void.
Section 62. Section 720.401, F.S., is amended to require full disclosure of covenants and restrictions to prospective purchasers. If the developer or the association willfully and knowingly fail to disclose material facts that negatively affect the value of the parcel purchased by an association member, the individual board members or developer are held liable under applicable federal and state civil and criminal laws. The exemption for subdividers registered under Chapter 498, is removed.
Section 63. Section 720.501, F.S., is created to provide the same authority to the Division of Florida Land Sales, Condominiums, Homeowners’ Associations, and Mobile Homes, in order to enforce and ensure compliance with chapter 720, F.S., as is currently provided under the Condominium Act. Generally, the division may impose a fine of up to $5,000 per violation, and may bring an action in circuit court on behalf of a class of lot owners, lessees or purchasers for declaratory or injunctive relief or restitution, shall provide notice of declaratory statements, maintain a toll-free number, provide