October 20, 2019
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_h0115__
HB 115

1
A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to residential properties; amending s.
334.01, F.S.; correcting a cross-reference to conform to
4changes made by the act; amending s. 468.436, F.S.;
5revising a ground for disciplinary action relating to
6misconduct or negligence; requiring the Department of
7Business and Professional Regulation to enter an order
8permanently revoking the license of a community
9association manager under certain circumstances; amending
10s. 718.103, F.S.; revising the definition of the term
11"developer" to exclude a bulk assignee or bulk buyer;
12amending s. 718.111, F.S.; providing requirements for an
13association to borrow funds or commit to a line of credit,
14including a meeting of the board of administration and
15prior notice; providing requirements for association
16access to a unit, including prior notice; providing an
17exception for emergencies; amending s. 718.112, F.S.;
18revising notice requirements for board of administration
19meetings; revising requirements for the reappointment of
20certain board members; providing an exception to the
21expiration of the terms of members of certain boards;
22revising board eligibility requirements; revising notice
23requirements for board candidates; establishing
24requirements for newly elected board members; providing
25requirements for bylaw amendments by a board of
26administration; amending s. 718.115, F.S.; requiring that
27certain services obtained pursuant to a bulk contract as
28provided in the declaration be deemed a common expense;
29requiring that such contracts contain certain provisions;
30authorizing the cancellation of certain contracts;
31amending s. 718.116, F.S.; authorizing association demands
32for assessment payments from tenants of delinquent owners
33during pendency of a foreclosure action of a condominium
34unit; providing for notice; providing for credits against
35rent for assessment payments by tenants; providing for
36eviction proceedings for nonpayment; providing for effect
37of provisions on rights and duties of the tenant and
38association; amending s. 718.1265, F.S.; limiting the
39exercise of specified special powers under a declared
40state of emergency unless a certain number of units are
41rendered uninhabitable by the emergency; amending s.
42718.301, F.S.; revising conditions under which unit owners
43other than the developer may elect not less than a
44majority of the members of the board of administration of
45an association; amending s. 718.303, F.S.; revising
46provisions relating to levy of fines; providing for
47suspension of certain rights of access and voting rights
48under certain circumstances relating to nonpayment of
49assessments, fines, or other charges payable to the
50association; amending s. 718.501, F.S.; providing for
51jurisdiction of the Division of Florida Condominiums,
52Timeshares, and Mobile Homes of the department to
53investigate complaints concerning failure to maintain
54common elements; prohibiting an officer or director from
55acting as such for a specified period after having been
56found to have committed specified violations; providing
57for payment of restitution and costs of investigation and
58prosecution in certain circumstances; amending s.
59718.5012, F.S.; providing a responsibility of the
60ombudsman to prepare and adopt a "Florida Condominium
61Handbook"; requiring the publishing and updating of the
62handbook to be done in conjunction with the division;
63providing the purpose of the handbook; requiring the
64handbook to be published on the ombudsman's Internet
65website; creating part VII of ch. 718, F.S., relating to
66distressed condominium relief; creating s. 718.701, F.S.;
67providing a short title; creating s. 718.702, F.S.;
68providing legislative findings and intent; creating s.
69718.703, F.S.; defining the terms "bulk assignee" and
70"bulk buyer"; creating s. 718.704, F.S.; providing for the
71assignment of developer rights to and the assumption of
72developer rights by a bulk assignee; specifying
73liabilities of bulk assignees and bulk buyers; providing
74exceptions; providing additional responsibilities of bulk
75assignees and bulk buyers; authorizing certain entities to
76assign developer rights to a bulk assignee; limiting the
77number of bulk assignees at any given time; creating s.
78718.705, F.S.; providing for the transfer of control of a
79board of administration; providing effects of such
80transfer on parcels acquired by a bulk assignee; providing
81obligations of a bulk assignee upon the transfer of
82control of a board of administration; requiring that a
83bulk assignee certify certain information in writing;
84providing for the resolution of a conflict between
85specified provisions of state law; providing that the
86failure of a bulk assignee or bulk buyer to comply with
87specified provisions of state law results in the loss of
88certain protections and exemptions; creating s. 718.706,
89F.S.; requiring that a bulk assignee or bulk buyer file
90certain information with the division before offering any
91units for sale or lease in excess of a specified term;
92requiring that a copy of such information be provided to a
93prospective purchaser; requiring that certain contracts
94and disclosure statements contain specified statements;
95requiring that a bulk assignee or bulk buyer comply with
96certain disclosure requirements; prohibiting a bulk
97assignee from taking certain actions on behalf of an
98association while the bulk assignee is in control of the
99board of administration of the association and requiring
100that such bulk assignee comply with certain requirements;
101requiring that a bulk assignee or bulk buyer comply with
102certain requirements regarding certain contracts;
103providing unit owners with specified protections regarding
104certain contracts; requiring that a bulk buyer comply with
105certain requirements regarding the transfer of a unit;
106creating s. 718.707, F.S.; prohibiting a person from being
107classified as a bulk assignee or bulk buyer unless
108condominium parcels were acquired before a specified date;
109providing for the determination of the date of acquisition
110of a parcel; creating s. 718.708, F.S.; providing that the
111assignment of developer rights to a bulk assignee or bulk
112buyer does not release a developer from certain
113liabilities; preserving certain liabilities for certain
114parties; amending s. 720.302, F.S.; correcting a cross-
115reference to conform to changes made by the act;
116establishing legislative intent; amending s. 720.303,
117F.S.; revising provisions relating to homeowners'
118association board meetings, inspection and copying of
119records, reserve accounts of budgets, and recall of
120directors; prohibiting a salary or compensation for
121certain association personnel; providing exceptions;
122providing requirements for the borrowing of funds or
123committing to a line of credit by the board; providing
124requirements relating to transfer fees; amending s.
125720.304, F.S.; revising requirements with respect to the
126display of flags; amending s. 720.305, F.S.; authorizing
127fines assessed against members which exceed a certain
128amount to become a lien against a parcel; amending s.
129720.306, F.S.; providing requirements for secret ballots;
130requiring newly elected members of a board of directors to
131make certain certifications in writing to the association;
132providing for disqualification for failure to make such
133certifications; requiring an association to retain
134certifications for a specified time; amending s. 720.3085,
135F.S.; requiring a tenant in a unit in which the regular
136assessments are delinquent to pay future regular
137assessments to the association; requiring notice;
138providing for eviction by the association; specifying
139rights of the tenant; creating s. 720.3095, F.S.;
140providing requirements of maintenance and management
141contracts of a homeowners' association; requiring
142disclosures; providing a penalty; providing exceptions;
143creating s. 720.3096, F.S.; limiting contracts entered
144into by a homeowners' association; providing requirements
145for such contracts; repealing s. 720.311, F.S., relating
146to a procedure for dispute resolution in homeowners'
147associations; amending s. 720.401, F.S.; requiring that
148the disclosure summary to prospective parcel owners
149include additional provisions; creating part IV of ch.
150720, F.S., relating to dispute resolution; creating s.
151720.501, F.S.; providing a short title; creating s.
152720.502, F.S.; providing legislative findings; creating s.
153720.503, F.S.; specifying applicability of provisions for
154mediation and arbitration of disputes in homeowners'
155associations; providing exceptions; providing for
156injunctive relief; providing for the tolling of applicable
157statutes of limitations; creating s. 720.504, F.S.;
158requiring that the notice of dispute be delivered before
159referral to mediation or arbitration; providing notice
160requirements; creating s. 720.505, F.S.; creating a
161statutory notice form for referral to mediation; providing
162delivery requirements; requiring parties to share costs;
163requiring the selection of a mediator and times to meet;
164providing penalties for failure to mediate; creating s.
165720.506, F.S.; creating an opt-out provision and
166procedures; creating s. 720.507, F.S.; creating a
167statutory notice form for referral to arbitration;
168providing delivery requirements; requiring parties to
169share costs; requiring the selection of an arbitrator and
170times to meet; providing penalties for failure to
171arbitrate; providing subpoena powers and requirements;
172providing requirements for and repercussions of subsequent
173judicial resolution of the dispute; creating s. 720.508,
174F.S.; providing for rules of procedure; providing for
175confidentiality; providing applicability to other rules of
176procedure and provisions of law; specifying that
177arbitration awards have certain precedential value;
178creating s. 720.509, F.S.; specifying qualifications for
179mediators and arbitrators; creating s. 720.510, F.S.;
180providing for enforcement of mediation agreements and
181arbitration awards; requiring all new residential
182construction in a deed-restricted community that requires
183mandatory membership in the association under specified
184provisions of Florida law to comply with specified
185provisions of federal law; providing an effective date.
186
187Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
188
189     Section 1.  Paragraph (d) of subsection (1) of section
19034.01, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
191     34.01  Jurisdiction of county court.--
192     (1)  County courts shall have original jurisdiction:
193     (d)  Of disputes occurring in the homeowners' associations
194as described in part IV of chapter 720 s. 720.311(2)(a), which
195shall be concurrent with jurisdiction of the circuit courts.
196     Section 2.  Paragraph (b) of subsection (2) of section
197468.436, Florida Statutes, is amended, and subsection (6) is
198added to that section, to read:
199     468.436  Disciplinary proceedings.--
200     (2)  The following acts constitute grounds for which the
201disciplinary actions in subsection (4) may be taken:
202     (b)1.  Violation of any provision of this part.
203     2.  Violation of any lawful order or rule rendered or
204adopted by the department or the council.
205     3.  Being convicted of or pleading nolo contendere to a
206felony in any court in the United States.
207     4.  Obtaining a license or certification or any other
208order, ruling, or authorization by means of fraud,
209misrepresentation, or concealment of material facts.
210     5.  Committing acts of gross misconduct or gross negligence
211in connection with the profession.
212     6.  Contracting, on behalf of an association, with any
213entity in which the licensee has a financial interest that is
214not disclosed.
215     (6)  Upon the fifth or later finding that a community
216association manager is guilty of any of the grounds set forth in
217subsection (2), or upon the third or later finding that a
218community association manager is guilty of a specific ground for
219which the disciplinary actions set forth in subsection (2) may
220be taken, the department's discretion under subsection (4) shall
221not apply and the division shall enter an order permanently
222revoking the license.
223     Section 3.  Subsection (16) of section 718.103, Florida
224Statutes, is amended to read:
225     718.103  Definitions.--As used in this chapter, the term:
226     (16)  "Developer" means a person who creates a condominium
227or offers condominium parcels for sale or lease in the ordinary
228course of business, but does not include:
229     (a)  An owner or lessee of a condominium or cooperative
230unit who has acquired the unit for his or her own occupancy;,
231nor does it include
232     (b)  A cooperative association which creates a condominium
233by conversion of an existing residential cooperative after
234control of the association has been transferred to the unit
235owners if, following the conversion, the unit owners will be the
236same persons who were unit owners of the cooperative and no
237units are offered for sale or lease to the public as part of the
238plan of conversion;.
239     (c)  A bulk assignee or bulk buyer as defined in s.
240718.703; or
241     (d)  A state, county, or municipal entity is not a
242developer for any purposes under this act when it is acting as a
243lessor and not otherwise named as a developer in the declaration
244of condominium association.
245     Section 4.  Subsections (3) and (5) of section 718.111,
246Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
247     718.111  The association.--
248     (3)  POWER TO MANAGE CONDOMINIUM PROPERTY AND TO CONTRACT,
249SUE, AND BE SUED.--
250     (a)  The association may contract, sue, or be sued with
251respect to the exercise or nonexercise of its powers. For these
252purposes, the powers of the association include, but are not
253limited to, the maintenance, management, and operation of the
254condominium property.
255     (b)  After control of the association is obtained by unit
256owners other than the developer, the association may institute,
257maintain, settle, or appeal actions or hearings in its name on
258behalf of all unit owners concerning matters of common interest
259to most or all unit owners, including, but not limited to, the
260common elements; the roof and structural components of a
261building or other improvements; mechanical, electrical, and
262plumbing elements serving an improvement or a building;
263representations of the developer pertaining to any existing or
264proposed commonly used facilities; and protesting ad valorem
265taxes on commonly used facilities and on units; and may defend
266actions in eminent domain or bring inverse condemnation actions.
267     (c)  If the association has the authority to maintain a
268class action, the association may be joined in an action as
269representative of that class with reference to litigation and
270disputes involving the matters for which the association could
271bring a class action. Nothing herein limits any statutory or
272common-law right of any individual unit owner or class of unit
273owners to bring any action without participation by the
274association which may otherwise be available.
275     (d)  The borrowing of funds or committing to a line of
276credit by the board of administration shall be considered a
277special assessment, and any meeting of the board of
278administration to discuss such matters must be noticed as
279provided in s. 718.112(2)(c). The board may not borrow funds or
280enter into a line of credit for any purpose unless the specific
281use of the funds from the loan or line of credit is set forth in
282the notice of meeting with the same specificity as required for
283a special assessment or unless the borrowing or line of credit
284has received the prior approval of at least two-thirds of the
285voting interests of the association.
286     (5)  RIGHT OF ACCESS TO UNITS.--The association has the
287irrevocable right of access to each unit during reasonable
288hours, when necessary for the maintenance, repair, or
289replacement of any common elements or of any portion of a unit
290to be maintained by the association pursuant to the declaration
291or as necessary to prevent damage to the common elements or to a
292unit or units. Except in cases of emergency, the association
293must give the unit owner advance written notice of not less than
29424 hours of its intent to access the unit and such access must
295be by two persons, one of whom must be a member of the board of
296administration or a manager or employee of the association and
297one of whom must be an authorized representative of the
298association. The identity of the authorized representative
299seeking access to the unit shall be provided to the unit owner
300prior to entering the unit.
301     Section 5.  Paragraphs (b), (c), (d), and (h) of subsection
302(2) of section 718.112, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
303     718.112  Bylaws.--
304     (2)  REQUIRED PROVISIONS.--The bylaws shall provide for the
305following and, if they do not do so, shall be deemed to include
306the following:
307     (b)  Quorum; voting requirements; proxies.--
308     1.  Unless a lower number is provided in the bylaws, the
309percentage of voting interests required to constitute a quorum
310at a meeting of the members shall be a majority of the voting
311interests. Unless otherwise provided in this chapter or in the
312declaration, articles of incorporation, or bylaws, and except as
313provided in sub-subparagraph subparagraph (d)3.a., decisions
314shall be made by owners of a majority of the voting interests
315represented at a meeting at which a quorum is present.
316     2.  Except as specifically otherwise provided herein, after
317January 1, 1992, unit owners may not vote by general proxy, but
318may vote by limited proxies substantially conforming to a
319limited proxy form adopted by the division. No voting interest
320or consent right allocated to a unit owned by the association
321shall be exercised or considered for any purpose, whether for a
322quorum, an election, or otherwise. Limited proxies and general
323proxies may be used to establish a quorum. Limited proxies shall
324be used for votes taken to waive or reduce reserves in
325accordance with subparagraph (f)2.; for votes taken to waive the
326financial reporting requirements of s. 718.111(13); for votes
327taken to amend the declaration pursuant to s. 718.110; for votes
328taken to amend the articles of incorporation or bylaws pursuant
329to this section; and for any other matter for which this chapter
330requires or permits a vote of the unit owners. Except as
331provided in paragraph (d), after January 1, 1992, no proxy,
332limited or general, shall be used in the election of board
333members. General proxies may be used for other matters for which
334limited proxies are not required, and may also be used in voting
335for nonsubstantive changes to items for which a limited proxy is
336required and given. Notwithstanding the provisions of this
337subparagraph, unit owners may vote in person at unit owner
338meetings. Nothing contained herein shall limit the use of
339general proxies or require the use of limited proxies for any
340agenda item or election at any meeting of a timeshare
341condominium association.
342     3.  Any proxy given shall be effective only for the
343specific meeting for which originally given and any lawfully
344adjourned meetings thereof. In no event shall any proxy be valid
345for a period longer than 90 days after the date of the first
346meeting for which it was given. Every proxy is revocable at any
347time at the pleasure of the unit owner executing it.
348     4.  A member of the board of administration or a committee
349may submit in writing his or her agreement or disagreement with
350any action taken at a meeting that the member did not attend.
351This agreement or disagreement may not be used as a vote for or
352against the action taken and may not be used for the purposes of
353creating a quorum.
354     5.  When any of the board or committee members meet by
355telephone conference, those board or committee members attending
356by telephone conference may be counted toward obtaining a quorum
357and may vote by telephone. A telephone speaker must be used so
358that the conversation of those board or committee members
359attending by telephone may be heard by the board or committee
360members attending in person as well as by any unit owners
361present at a meeting.
362     (c)  Board of administration meetings.--Meetings of the
363board of administration at which a quorum of the members is
364present shall be open to all unit owners. Any unit owner may
365tape record or videotape meetings of the board of
366administration. The right to attend such meetings includes the
367right to speak at such meetings with reference to all designated
368agenda items. The division shall adopt reasonable rules
369governing the tape recording and videotaping of the meeting. The
370association may adopt written reasonable rules governing the
371frequency, duration, and manner of unit owner statements.
372Adequate notice of all meetings, which notice shall specifically
373incorporate an identification of agenda items, shall be posted
374conspicuously on the condominium property at least 48 continuous
375hours preceding the meeting except in an emergency. If 20
376percent of the voting interests petition the board to address an
377item of business, the board shall at its next regular board
378meeting or at a special meeting of the board, but not later than
37960 days after the receipt of the petition, place the item on the
380agenda. Any item not included on the notice may be taken up on
381an emergency basis by at least a majority plus one of the
382members of the board. Such emergency action shall be noticed and
383ratified at the next regular meeting of the board. However,
384written notice of any meeting at which nonemergency special
385assessments, or at which amendment to rules regarding unit use,
386will be considered shall be mailed, delivered, or electronically
387transmitted to the unit owners and posted conspicuously on the
388condominium property not less than 14 days prior to the meeting.
389Evidence of compliance with this 14-day notice shall be made by
390an affidavit executed by the person providing the notice and
391filed among the official records of the association. Upon notice
392to the unit owners, the board shall by duly adopted rule
393designate a specific location on the condominium property or
394association property upon which all notices of board meetings
395shall be posted. If there is no condominium property or
396association property upon which notices can be posted, notices
397of board meetings shall be mailed, delivered, or electronically
398transmitted at least 14 days before the meeting to the owner of
399each unit. In lieu of or in addition to the physical posting of
400notice of any meeting of the board of administration on the
401condominium property, the association may, by reasonable rule,
402adopt a procedure for conspicuously posting and repeatedly
403broadcasting the notice and the agenda on a closed-circuit cable
404television system serving the condominium association. However,
405if broadcast notice is used in lieu of a notice posted
406physically on the condominium property, the notice and agenda
407must be broadcast at least four times every broadcast hour of
408each day that a posted notice is otherwise required under this
409section. When broadcast notice is provided, the notice and
410agenda must be broadcast in a manner and for a sufficient
411continuous length of time so as to allow an average reader to
412observe the notice and read and comprehend the entire content of
413the notice and the agenda. Notice of any meeting in which
414regular or special assessments against unit owners are to be
415considered for any reason shall specifically state that
416assessments will be considered and the nature of, the actual
417estimated cost of, and a description of the purposes for such
418assessments. Meetings of a committee to take final action on
419behalf of the board or make recommendations to the board
420regarding the association budget are subject to the provisions
421of this paragraph. Meetings of a committee that does not take
422final action on behalf of the board or make recommendations to
423the board regarding the association budget are subject to the
424provisions of this section, unless those meetings are exempted
425from this section by the bylaws of the association.
426Notwithstanding any other law, the requirement that board
427meetings and committee meetings be open to the unit owners is
428inapplicable to meetings between the board or a committee and
429the association's attorney, with respect to proposed or pending
430litigation, when the meeting is held for the purpose of seeking
431or rendering legal advice.
432     (d)  Unit owner meetings.--
433     1.  There shall be an annual meeting of the unit owners
434held at the location provided in the association bylaws and, if
435the bylaws are silent as to the location, the meeting shall be
436held within 45 miles of the condominium property. However, such
437distance requirement does not apply to an association governing
438a timeshare condominium. Unless the bylaws provide otherwise, a
439vacancy on the board caused by the expiration of a director's
440term shall be filled by electing a new board member, and the
441election shall be by secret ballot; however, if the number of
442vacancies equals or exceeds the number of candidates, no
443election is required. Except in an association governing a
444timeshare condominium, the terms of all members of the board
445shall expire at the annual meeting and such board members may
446stand for reelection unless otherwise permitted by the bylaws.
447In the event that the bylaws permit staggered terms of no more
448than 2 years and upon approval of a majority of the total voting
449interests, the association board members may serve 2-year
450staggered terms. If the number no person is interested in or
451demonstrates an intention to run for the position of a board
452members member whose terms have term has expired according to
453the provisions of this subparagraph exceeds the number of
454eligible association members showing interest in or
455demonstrating an intention to run for the vacant positions, each
456such board member whose term has expired shall become eligible
457for reappointment be automatically reappointed to the board of
458administration and need not stand for reelection. In a
459condominium association of more than 10 units, or in a
460condominium association that does not include timeshare units,
461coowners of a unit may not serve as members of the board of
462directors at the same time unless they own more than one unit
463and are not co-occupants of a unit or unless there is an
464insufficient number of eligible association members showing
465interest in or demonstrating an intention to run for the vacant
466positions on the board. Any unit owner desiring to be a
467candidate for board membership must shall comply with sub-
468subparagraph subparagraph 3.a. A person who has been suspended
469or removed by the division under this chapter, or who is
470delinquent in the payment of any fee, fine, or special or
471regular assessment as provided in paragraph (n), is not eligible
472for board membership. A person who has been convicted of any
473felony in this state or in a United States District or
474Territorial Court, or who has been convicted of any offense in
475another jurisdiction that would be considered a felony if
476committed in this state, is not eligible for board membership
477unless such felon's civil rights have been restored for a period
478of no less than 5 years as of the date on which such person
479seeks election to the board. The validity of an action by the
480board is not affected if it is later determined that a member of
481the board is ineligible for board membership due to having been
482convicted of a felony.
483     2.  The bylaws shall provide the method of calling meetings
484of unit owners, including annual meetings. Written notice, which
485notice must include an agenda, shall be mailed, hand delivered,
486or electronically transmitted to each unit owner at least 14
487days prior to the annual meeting and shall be posted in a
488conspicuous place on the condominium property at least 14
489continuous days preceding the annual meeting. Upon notice to the
490unit owners, the board shall by duly adopted rule designate a
491specific location on the condominium property or association
492property upon which all notices of unit owner meetings shall be
493posted; however, if there is no condominium property or
494association property upon which notices can be posted, this
495requirement does not apply. In lieu of or in addition to the
496physical posting of notice of any meeting of the unit owners on
497the condominium property, the association may, by reasonable
498rule, adopt a procedure for conspicuously posting and repeatedly
499broadcasting the notice and the agenda on a closed-circuit cable
500television system serving the condominium association. However,
501if broadcast notice is used in lieu of a notice posted
502physically on the condominium property, the notice and agenda
503must be broadcast at least four times every broadcast hour of
504each day that a posted notice is otherwise required under this
505section. When broadcast notice is provided, the notice and
506agenda must be broadcast in a manner and for a sufficient
507continuous length of time so as to allow an average reader to
508observe the notice and read and comprehend the entire content of
509the notice and the agenda. Unless a unit owner waives in writing
510the right to receive notice of the annual meeting, such notice
511shall be hand delivered, mailed, or electronically transmitted
512to each unit owner. Notice for meetings and notice for all other
513purposes shall be mailed to each unit owner at the address last
514furnished to the association by the unit owner, or hand
515delivered to each unit owner. However, if a unit is owned by
516more than one person, the association shall provide notice, for
517meetings and all other purposes, to that one address which the
518developer initially identifies for that purpose and thereafter
519as one or more of the owners of the unit shall so advise the
520association in writing, or if no address is given or the owners
521of the unit do not agree, to the address provided on the deed of
522record. An officer of the association, or the manager or other
523person providing notice of the association meeting, shall
524provide an affidavit or United States Postal Service certificate
525of mailing, to be included in the official records of the
526association affirming that the notice was mailed or hand
527delivered, in accordance with this provision.
528     3.a.  The members of the board shall be elected by written
529ballot or voting machine. Proxies shall in no event be used in
530electing the board, either in general elections or elections to
531fill vacancies caused by recall, resignation, or otherwise,
532unless otherwise provided in this chapter. Not less than 60 days
533before a scheduled election, the association shall mail,
534deliver, or electronically transmit, whether by separate
535association mailing or included in another association mailing,
536delivery, or transmission, including regularly published
537newsletters, to each unit owner entitled to a vote, a first
538notice of the date of the election along with a certification
539form provided by the division attesting that he or she has read
540and understands, to the best of his or her ability, the
541governing documents of the association and the provisions of
542this chapter and any applicable rules. Any unit owner or other
543eligible person desiring to be a candidate for the board must
544give written notice of his or her intent to be a candidate to
545the association not less than 40 days before a scheduled
546election. Together with the written notice and agenda as set
547forth in subparagraph 2., the association shall mail, deliver,
548or electronically transmit a second notice of the election to
549all unit owners entitled to vote therein, together with a ballot
550which shall list all candidates. Upon request of a candidate,
551the association shall include an information sheet, no larger
552than 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches, which must be furnished by the
553candidate not less than 35 days before the election, shall along
554with the signed certification form provided for in this
555subparagraph, to be included with the mailing, delivery, or
556transmission of the ballot, with the costs of mailing, delivery,
557or electronic transmission and copying to be borne by the
558association. The association is not liable for the contents of
559the information sheets prepared by the candidates. In order to
560reduce costs, the association may print or duplicate the
561information sheets on both sides of the paper. The division
562shall by rule establish voting procedures consistent with the
563provisions contained herein, including rules establishing
564procedures for giving notice by electronic transmission and
565rules providing for the secrecy of ballots. Elections shall be
566decided by a plurality of those ballots cast. There shall be no
567quorum requirement; however, at least 20 percent of the eligible
568voters must cast a ballot in order to have a valid election of
569members of the board. No unit owner shall permit any other
570person to vote his or her ballot, and any such ballots
571improperly cast shall be deemed invalid, provided any unit owner
572who violates this provision may be fined by the association in
573accordance with s. 718.303. A unit owner who needs assistance in
574casting the ballot for the reasons stated in s. 101.051 may
575obtain assistance in casting the ballot. The regular election
576shall occur on the date of the annual meeting. The provisions of
577this sub-subparagraph subparagraph shall not apply to timeshare
578condominium associations. Notwithstanding the provisions of this
579sub-subparagraph subparagraph, an election is not required
580unless more candidates file notices of intent to run or are
581nominated than board vacancies exist.
582     b.  Within 90 days after being elected to the board, each
583newly elected director shall certify in writing to the secretary
584of the association that he or she has read the association's
585declarations of covenants and restrictions, articles of
586incorporation, bylaws, and current written policies; that he or
587she will work to uphold such documents and policies to the best
588of his or her ability; and that he or she will faithfully
589discharge his or her fiduciary responsibility to the
590association's members. In lieu of this written certification,
591the newly elected director may submit a certificate of
592satisfactory completion of the educational curriculum
593administered by a division-approved condominium education
594provider. Failure to timely file the written certification or
595educational certificate automatically disqualifies the director
596from service on the board. The secretary shall cause the
597association to retain a director's written certification or
598educational certificate for inspection by the members for 5
599years after a director's election. Failure to have such written
600certification or educational certificate on file does not affect
601the validity of any appropriate action.
602     4.  Any approval by unit owners called for by this chapter
603or the applicable declaration or bylaws, including, but not
604limited to, the approval requirement in s. 718.111(8), shall be
605made at a duly noticed meeting of unit owners and shall be
606subject to all requirements of this chapter or the applicable
607condominium documents relating to unit owner decisionmaking,
608except that unit owners may take action by written agreement,
609without meetings, on matters for which action by written
610agreement without meetings is expressly allowed by the
611applicable bylaws or declaration or any statute that provides
612for such action.
613     5.  Unit owners may waive notice of specific meetings if
614allowed by the applicable bylaws or declaration or any statute.
615If authorized by the bylaws, notice of meetings of the board of
616administration, unit owner meetings, except unit owner meetings
617called to recall board members under paragraph (j), and
618committee meetings may be given by electronic transmission to
619unit owners who consent to receive notice by electronic
620transmission.
621     6.  Unit owners shall have the right to participate in
622meetings of unit owners with reference to all designated agenda
623items. However, the association may adopt reasonable rules
624governing the frequency, duration, and manner of unit owner
625participation.
626     7.  Any unit owner may tape record or videotape a meeting
627of the unit owners subject to reasonable rules adopted by the
628division.
629     8.  Unless otherwise provided in the bylaws, any vacancy
630occurring on the board before the expiration of a term may be
631filled by the affirmative vote of the majority of the remaining
632directors, even if the remaining directors constitute less than
633a quorum, or by the sole remaining director. In the alternative,
634a board may hold an election to fill the vacancy, in which case
635the election procedures must conform to the requirements of sub-
636subparagraph subparagraph 3.a. unless the association governs 10
637units or fewer less and has opted out of the statutory election
638process, in which case the bylaws of the association control.
639Unless otherwise provided in the bylaws, a board member
640appointed or elected under this section shall fill the vacancy
641for the unexpired term of the seat being filled. Filling
642vacancies created by recall is governed by paragraph (j) and
643rules adopted by the division.
644
645Notwithstanding subparagraph subparagraphs (b)2. and sub-
646subparagraph (d)3.a., an association of 10 or fewer units may,
647by the affirmative vote of a majority of the total voting
648interests, provide for different voting and election procedures
649in its bylaws, which vote may be by a proxy specifically
650delineating the different voting and election procedures. The
651different voting and election procedures may provide for
652elections to be conducted by limited or general proxy.     
653     (h)  Amendment of bylaws.--
654     1.  The method by which the bylaws may be amended
655consistent with the provisions of this chapter shall be stated.
656If the bylaws fail to provide a method of amendment, the bylaws
657may be amended if the amendment is approved by the owners of not
658less than two-thirds of the voting interests.
659     2.  No bylaw shall be revised or amended by reference to
660its title or number only. Proposals to amend existing bylaws
661shall contain the full text of the bylaws to be amended; new
662words shall be inserted in the text underlined, and words to be
663deleted shall be lined through with hyphens. However, if the
664proposed change is so extensive that this procedure would
665hinder, rather than assist, the understanding of the proposed
666amendment, it is not necessary to use underlining and hyphens as
667indicators of words added or deleted, but, instead, a notation
668must be inserted immediately preceding the proposed amendment in
669substantially the following language: "Substantial rewording of
670bylaw. See bylaw _____ for present text."
671     3.  Nonmaterial errors or omissions in the bylaw process
672will not invalidate an otherwise properly promulgated amendment.
673     4.  If the bylaws provide for amendment by the board of
674administration, no bylaw may be amended unless it is heard and
675noticed at two consecutive meetings of the board of
676administration that are at least 1 week apart.
677     Section 6.  Paragraph (d) of subsection (1) of section
678718.115, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
679     718.115  Common expenses and common surplus.--
680     (1)
681     (d)  If so provided in the declaration, the cost of
682communications services as defined in chapter 202, information
683services, or Internet services a master antenna television
684system or duly franchised cable television service obtained
685pursuant to a bulk contract shall be deemed a common expense. If
686the declaration does not provide for the cost of communications
687services as defined in chapter 202, information services, or
688Internet services a master antenna television system or duly
689franchised cable television service obtained under a bulk
690contract as a common expense, the board may enter into such a
691contract, and the cost of the service will be a common expense
692but allocated on a per-unit basis rather than a percentage basis
693if the declaration provides for other than an equal sharing of
694common expenses, and any contract entered into before July 1,
6951998, in which the cost of the service is not equally divided
696among all unit owners, may be changed by vote of a majority of
697the voting interests present at a regular or special meeting of
698the association, to allocate the cost equally among all units.
699The contract shall be for a term of not less than 2 years.
700     1.  Any contract made by the board after the effective date
701hereof for communications services as defined in chapter 202,
702information services, or Internet services a community antenna
703system or duly franchised cable television service may be
704canceled by a majority of the voting interests present at the
705next regular or special meeting of the association. Any member
706may make a motion to cancel the said contract, but if no motion
707is made or if such motion fails to obtain the required majority
708at the next regular or special meeting, whichever occurs is
709sooner, following the making of the contract, then such contract
710shall be deemed ratified for the term therein expressed.
711     2.  Any such contract shall provide, and shall be deemed to
712provide if not expressly set forth, that any hearing-impaired or
713legally blind unit owner who does not occupy the unit with a
714non-hearing-impaired or sighted person, or any unit owner
715receiving supplemental security income under Title XVI of the
716Social Security Act or food stamps as administered by the
717Department of Children and Family Services pursuant to s.
718414.31, may discontinue the cable or video service without
719incurring disconnect fees, penalties, or subsequent service
720charges, and, as to such units, the owners shall not be required
721to pay any common expenses charge related to such service. If
722fewer less than all members of an association share the expenses
723of cable or video service television, the expense shall be
724shared equally by all participating unit owners. The association
725may use the provisions of s. 718.116 to enforce payment of the
726shares of such costs by the unit owners receiving cable or video
727service television.
728     Section 7.  Subsection (11) is added to section 718.116,
729Florida Statutes, to read:
730     718.116  Assessments; liability; lien and priority;
731interest; collection.--
732     (11)  During the pendency of any foreclosure action of a
733condominium unit, if the unit is occupied by a tenant and the
734unit owner is delinquent in the payment of regular assessments,
735the association may demand that the tenant pay to the
736association the future regular assessments related to the
737condominium unit. The demand shall be continuing in nature, and
738upon demand the tenant shall continue to pay the regular
739assessments to the association until the association releases
740the tenant or the tenant discontinues tenancy in the unit. The
741association shall mail written notice to the unit owner of the
742association's demand that the tenant pay regular assessments to
743the association. The tenant shall not be liable for increases in
744the amount of the regular assessment due unless the tenant was
745reasonably notified of the increase prior to the day that the
746rent is due. The tenant shall be given a credit against rents
747due to the unit owner in the amount of assessments paid to the
748association. The association shall, upon request, provide the
749tenant with written receipts for payments made. The association
750may issue notices under s. 83.56 and may sue for eviction under
751ss. 83.59-83.625 as if the association were a landlord under
752part II of chapter 83 should the tenant fail to pay an
753assessment. However, the association shall not otherwise be
754considered a landlord under chapter 83 and shall specifically
755not have any duty under s. 83.51. The tenant shall not, by
756virtue of payment of assessments, have any of the rights of a
757unit owner to vote in any election or to examine the books and
758records of the association. A court may supersede the effect of
759this subsection by appointing a receiver.
760     Section 8.  Subsection (2) of section 718.1265, Florida
761Statutes, is amended to read:
762     718.1265  Association emergency powers.--
763     (2)  The special powers authorized under subsection (1)
764shall be limited to that time reasonably necessary to protect
765the health, safety, and welfare of the association and the unit
766owners and the unit owners' family members, tenants, guests,
767agents, or invitees and shall be reasonably necessary to
768mitigate further damage and make emergency repairs.
769Additionally, unless 20 percent or more of the units are made
770uninhabitable by the emergency, the special powers authorized
771under subsection (1) may only be exercised during the term of
772the Governor's executive order or proclamation declaring the
773state of emergency in the locale in which the condominium is
774located.
775     Section 9.  Subsection (1) of section 718.301, Florida
776Statutes, is amended to read:
777     718.301  Transfer of association control; claims of defect
778by association.--
779     (1)  When unit owners other than the developer own 15
780percent or more of the units in a condominium that will be
781operated ultimately by an association, the unit owners other
782than the developer shall be entitled to elect no less than one-
783third of the members of the board of administration of the
784association. Unit owners other than the developer are entitled
785to elect not less than a majority of the members of the board of
786administration of an association:
787     (a)  Three years after 50 percent of the units that will be
788operated ultimately by the association have been conveyed to
789purchasers;
790     (b)  Three months after 90 percent of the units that will
791be operated ultimately by the association have been conveyed to
792purchasers;
793     (c)  When all the units that will be operated ultimately by
794the association have been completed, some of them have been
795conveyed to purchasers, and none of the others are being offered
796for sale by the developer in the ordinary course of business;
797     (d)  When some of the units have been conveyed to
798purchasers and none of the others are being constructed or
799offered for sale by the developer in the ordinary course of
800business;
801     (e)  When the developer files a petition seeking protection
802in bankruptcy;
803     (f)  When a receiver for the developer is appointed by a
804circuit court and is not discharged within 30 days after such
805appointment, unless the court determines within 30 days after
806appointment of the receiver that transfer of control would be
807detrimental to the association or its members; or
808     (g)  Seven years after recordation of the declaration of
809condominium; or, in the case of an association which may
810ultimately operate more than one condominium, 7 years after
811recordation of the declaration for the first condominium it
812operates; or, in the case of an association operating a phase
813condominium created pursuant to s. 718.403, 7 years after
814recordation of the declaration creating the initial phase,
815
816whichever occurs first. The developer is entitled to elect at
817least one member of the board of administration of an
818association as long as the developer holds for sale in the
819ordinary course of business at least 5 percent, in condominiums
820with fewer than 500 units, and 2 percent, in condominiums with
821more than 500 units, of the units in a condominium operated by
822the association. Following the time the developer relinquishes
823control of the association, the developer may exercise the right
824to vote any developer-owned units in the same manner as any
825other unit owner except for purposes of reacquiring control of
826the association or selecting the majority members of the board
827of administration.
828     Section 10.  Subsection (3) of section 718.303, Florida
829Statutes, is amended, and subsections (4) and (5) are added to
830that section, to read:
831     718.303  Obligations of owners; waiver; suspension of
832access or voting rights or levy of fine against unit by
833association.--
834     (3)  If a unit owner is delinquent for more than 90 days in
835the payment of regular or special assessments or the declaration
836or bylaws so provide, the association may suspend, for a
837reasonable time, the right of a unit owner or a unit's occupant,
838licensee, or invitee to use common elements, common facilities,
839or any other association property. This subsection does not
840apply to limited common elements intended to be used only by
841that unit, common elements that must be used to access the unit,
842utility services provided to the unit, parking spaces, or
843elevators. The association may also levy reasonable fines
844against a unit for the failure of the owner of the unit, or its
845occupant, licensee, or invitee, to comply with any provision of
846the declaration, the association bylaws, or reasonable rules of
847the association. No fine will become a lien against a unit. A No
848fine may not exceed $100 per violation. However, a fine may be
849levied on the basis of each day of a continuing violation, with
850a single notice and opportunity for hearing, provided that no
851such fine shall in the aggregate exceed $1,000. A No fine may
852not be levied and a suspension may not be imposed unless the
853association first gives except after giving reasonable notice
854and opportunity for a hearing to the unit owner and, if
855applicable, its occupant, licensee, or invitee. The hearing must
856be held before a committee of other unit owners who are neither
857board members nor persons residing in a board member's
858household. If the committee does not agree with the fine or
859suspension, the fine or suspension may not be levied or imposed.
860The provisions of this subsection do not apply to unoccupied
861units.
862     (4)  The notice and hearing requirements of subsection (3)
863do not apply to the imposition of suspensions or fines against a
864unit owner or a unit's occupant, licensee, or invitee because of
865the failure to pay any amounts due the association. If such a
866fine or suspension is imposed, the association must levy the
867fine or impose a reasonable suspension at a properly noticed
868board meeting, and after the imposition of such fine or
869suspension, the association must notify the unit owner and, if
870applicable, the unit's occupant, licensee, or invitee by mail or
871hand delivery.
872     (5)  If the declaration or bylaws so provide, an
873association may also suspend the voting rights of a member due
874to nonpayment of assessments, fines, or other charges payable to
875the association which are delinquent in excess of 90 days.
876     Section 11.  Subsection (1) of section 718.501, Florida
877Statutes, is amended to read:
878     718.501  Authority, responsibility, and duties of Division
879of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes.--
880     (1)  The Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and
881Mobile Homes of the Department of Business and Professional
882Regulation, referred to as the "division" in this part, has the
883power to enforce and ensure compliance with the provisions of
884this chapter and rules relating to the development,
885construction, sale, lease, ownership, operation, and management
886of residential condominium units. In performing its duties, the
887division has complete jurisdiction to investigate complaints and
888enforce compliance with the provisions of this chapter with
889respect to associations that are still under developer control
890and complaints against developers involving improper turnover or
891failure to turnover, pursuant to s. 718.301. However, after
892turnover has occurred, the division shall only have jurisdiction
893to investigate complaints related to financial issues, failure
894to maintain common elements, elections, and unit owner access to
895association records pursuant to s. 718.111(12).
896     (a)1.  The division may make necessary public or private
897investigations within or outside this state to determine whether
898any person has violated this chapter or any rule or order
899hereunder, to aid in the enforcement of this chapter, or to aid
900in the adoption of rules or forms hereunder.
901     2.  The division may submit any official written report,
902worksheet, or other related paper, or a duly certified copy
903thereof, compiled, prepared, drafted, or otherwise made by and
904duly authenticated by a financial examiner or analyst to be
905admitted as competent evidence in any hearing in which the
906financial examiner or analyst is available for cross-examination
907and attests under oath that such documents were prepared as a
908result of an examination or inspection conducted pursuant to
909this chapter.
910     (b)  The division may require or permit any person to file
911a statement in writing, under oath or otherwise, as the division
912determines, as to the facts and circumstances concerning a
913matter to be investigated.
914     (c)  For the purpose of any investigation under this
915chapter, the division director or any officer or employee
916designated by the division director may administer oaths or
917affirmations, subpoena witnesses and compel their attendance,
918take evidence, and require the production of any matter which is
919relevant to the investigation, including the existence,
920description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any
921books, documents, or other tangible things and the identity and
922location of persons having knowledge of relevant facts or any
923other matter reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of
924material evidence. Upon the failure by a person to obey a
925subpoena or to answer questions propounded by the investigating
926officer and upon reasonable notice to all persons affected
927thereby, the division may apply to the circuit court for an
928order compelling compliance.
929     (d)  Notwithstanding any remedies available to unit owners
930and associations, if the division has reasonable cause to
931believe that a violation of any provision of this chapter or
932related rule has occurred, the division may institute
933enforcement proceedings in its own name against any developer,
934association, officer, or member of the board of administration,
935or its assignees or agents, as follows:
936     1.  The division may permit a person whose conduct or
937actions may be under investigation to waive formal proceedings
938and enter into a consent proceeding whereby orders, rules, or
939letters of censure or warning, whether formal or informal, may
940be entered against the person.
941     2.  The division may issue an order requiring the
942developer, association, developer-designated officer, or
943developer-designated member of the board of administration,
944developer-designated assignees or agents, community association
945manager, or community association management firm to cease and
946desist from the unlawful practice and take such affirmative
947action as in the judgment of the division will carry out the
948purposes of this chapter. If the division finds that a
949developer, association, officer, or member of the board of
950administration, or its assignees or agents, is violating or is
951about to violate any provision of this chapter, any rule adopted
952or order issued by the division, or any written agreement
953entered into with the division, and presents an immediate danger
954to the public requiring an immediate final order, it may issue
955an emergency cease and desist order reciting with particularity
956the facts underlying such findings. The emergency cease and
957desist order is effective for 90 days. If the division begins
958nonemergency cease and desist proceedings, the emergency cease
959and desist order remains effective until the conclusion of the
960proceedings under ss. 120.569 and 120.57.
961     3.  If a developer fails to pay any restitution determined
962by the division to be owed, plus any accrued interest at the
963highest rate permitted by law, within 30 days after expiration
964of any appellate time period of a final order requiring payment
965of restitution or the conclusion of any appeal thereof,
966whichever is later, the division shall bring an action in
967circuit or county court on behalf of any association, class of
968unit owners, lessees, or purchasers for restitution, declaratory
969relief, injunctive relief, or any other available remedy. The
970division may also temporarily revoke its acceptance of the
971filing for the developer to which the restitution relates until
972payment of restitution is made.
973     4.  The division may petition the court for the appointment
974of a receiver or conservator. If appointed, the receiver or
975conservator may take action to implement the court order to
976ensure the performance of the order and to remedy any breach
977thereof. In addition to all other means provided by law for the
978enforcement of an injunction or temporary restraining order, the
979circuit court may impound or sequester the property of a party
980defendant, including books, papers, documents, and related
981records, and allow the examination and use of the property by
982the division and a court-appointed receiver or conservator.
983     5.  The division may apply to the circuit court for an
984order of restitution whereby the defendant in an action brought
985pursuant to subparagraph 4. shall be ordered to make restitution
986of those sums shown by the division to have been obtained by the
987defendant in violation of this chapter. Such restitution shall,
988at the option of the court, be payable to the conservator or
989receiver appointed pursuant to subparagraph 4. or directly to
990the persons whose funds or assets were obtained in violation of
991this chapter.
992     6.  The division may impose a civil penalty against a
993developer or association, or its assignee or agent, for any
994violation of this chapter or a rule adopted under this chapter.
995The division may impose a civil penalty individually against any
996officer or board member who willfully and knowingly violates a
997provision of this chapter, adopted rule, or a final order of the
998division; may order the removal of such individual as an officer
999or from the board of administration or as an officer of the
1000association; and may prohibit such individual from serving as an
1001officer or on the board of a community association for a period
1002of time. The term "willfully and knowingly" means that the
1003division informed the officer or board member that his or her
1004action or intended action violates this chapter, a rule adopted
1005under this chapter, or a final order of the division and that
1006the officer or board member refused to comply with the
1007requirements of this chapter, a rule adopted under this chapter,
1008or a final order of the division. The division, prior to
1009initiating formal agency action under chapter 120, shall afford
1010the officer or board member an opportunity to voluntarily comply
1011with this chapter, a rule adopted under this chapter, or a final
1012order of the division. An officer or board member who complies
1013within 10 days is not subject to a civil penalty. A penalty may
1014be imposed on the basis of each day of continuing violation, but
1015in no event shall the penalty for any offense exceed $5,000. By
1016January 1, 1998, the division shall adopt, by rule, penalty
1017guidelines applicable to possible violations or to categories of
1018violations of this chapter or rules adopted by the division. The
1019guidelines must specify a meaningful range of civil penalties
1020for each such violation of the statute and rules and must be
1021based upon the harm caused by the violation, the repetition of
1022the violation, and upon such other factors deemed relevant by
1023the division. For example, the division may consider whether the
1024violations were committed by a developer or owner-controlled
1025association, the size of the association, and other factors. The
1026guidelines must designate the possible mitigating or aggravating
1027circumstances that justify a departure from the range of
1028penalties provided by the rules. It is the legislative intent
1029that minor violations be distinguished from those which endanger
1030the health, safety, or welfare of the condominium residents or
1031other persons and that such guidelines provide reasonable and
1032meaningful notice to the public of likely penalties that may be
1033imposed for proscribed conduct. This subsection does not limit
1034the ability of the division to informally dispose of
1035administrative actions or complaints by stipulation, agreed
1036settlement, or consent order. All amounts collected shall be
1037deposited with the Chief Financial Officer to the credit of the
1038Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes
1039Trust Fund. If a developer fails to pay the civil penalty and
1040the amount deemed to be owed to the association, the division
1041shall issue an order directing that such developer cease and
1042desist from further operation until such time as the civil
1043penalty is paid or may pursue enforcement of the penalty in a
1044court of competent jurisdiction. If an association fails to pay
1045the civil penalty, the division shall pursue enforcement in a
1046court of competent jurisdiction, and the order imposing the
1047civil penalty or the cease and desist order will not become
1048effective until 20 days after the date of such order. Any action
1049commenced by the division shall be brought in the county in
1050which the division has its executive offices or in the county
1051where the violation occurred.
1052     7.  If a unit owner presents the division with proof that
1053the unit owner has requested access to official records in
1054writing by certified mail, and that after 10 days the unit owner
1055again made the same request for access to official records in
1056writing by certified mail, and that more than 10 days has
1057elapsed since the second request and the association has still
1058failed or refused to provide access to official records as
1059required by this chapter, the division shall issue a subpoena
1060requiring production of the requested records where the records
1061are kept pursuant to s. 718.112.
1062     8.  In addition to subparagraph 6., the division may seek
1063the imposition of a civil penalty through the circuit court for
1064any violation for which the division may issue a notice to show
1065cause under paragraph (r). The civil penalty shall be at least
1066$500 but no more than $5,000 for each violation. The court may
1067also award to the prevailing party court costs and reasonable
1068attorney's fees and, if the division prevails, may also award
1069reasonable costs of investigation.
1070     9.  Notwithstanding subparagraph 6., when the division
1071finds that an officer or director has intentionally falsified
1072association records with the intent to conceal material facts
1073from the division, the board, or unit owners, the division shall
1074prohibit the officer or director from acting as an officer or
1075director of any condominium, cooperative, or homeowners'
1076association for at least 1 year.
1077     10.  When the division finds that any person has derived an
1078improper personal benefit from a condominium association, the
1079division shall order the person to pay restitution to the
1080association and shall order the person to pay to the division
1081the costs of investigation and prosecution.
1082     (e)  The division may prepare and disseminate a prospectus
1083and other information to assist prospective owners, purchasers,
1084lessees, and developers of residential condominiums in assessing
1085the rights, privileges, and duties pertaining thereto.
1086     (f)  The division has authority to adopt rules pursuant to
1087ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement and enforce the
1088provisions of this chapter.
1089     (g)  The division shall establish procedures for providing
1090notice to an association and the developer during the period
1091where the developer controls the association when the division
1092is considering the issuance of a declaratory statement with
1093respect to the declaration of condominium or any related
1094document governing in such condominium community.
1095     (h)  The division shall furnish each association which pays
1096the fees required by paragraph (2)(a) a copy of this act,
1097subsequent changes to this act on an annual basis, an amended
1098version of this act as it becomes available from the Secretary
1099of State's office on a biennial basis, and the rules adopted
1100thereto on an annual basis.
1101     (i)  The division shall annually provide each association
1102with a summary of declaratory statements and formal legal
1103opinions relating to the operations of condominiums which were
1104rendered by the division during the previous year.
1105     (j)  The division shall provide training and educational
1106programs for condominium association board members and unit
1107owners. The training may, in the division's discretion, include
1108web-based electronic media, and live training and seminars in
1109various locations throughout the state. The division shall have
1110the authority to review and approve education and training
1111programs for board members and unit owners offered by providers
1112and shall maintain a current list of approved programs and
1113providers and shall make such list available to board members
1114and unit owners in a reasonable and cost-effective manner.
1115     (k)  The division shall maintain a toll-free telephone
1116number accessible to condominium unit owners.
1117     (l)  The division shall develop a program to certify both
1118volunteer and paid mediators to provide mediation of condominium
1119disputes. The division shall provide, upon request, a list of
1120such mediators to any association, unit owner, or other
1121participant in arbitration proceedings under s. 718.1255
1122requesting a copy of the list. The division shall include on the
1123list of volunteer mediators only the names of persons who have
1124received at least 20 hours of training in mediation techniques
1125or who have mediated at least 20 disputes. In order to become
1126initially certified by the division, paid mediators must be
1127certified by the Supreme Court to mediate court cases in county
1128or circuit courts. However, the division may adopt, by rule,
1129additional factors for the certification of paid mediators,
1130which factors must be related to experience, education, or
1131background. Any person initially certified as a paid mediator by
1132the division must, in order to continue to be certified, comply
1133with the factors or requirements imposed by rules adopted by the
1134division.
1135     (m)  When a complaint is made, the division shall conduct
1136its inquiry with due regard to the interests of the affected
1137parties. Within 30 days after receipt of a complaint, the
1138division shall acknowledge the complaint in writing and notify
1139the complainant whether the complaint is within the jurisdiction
1140of the division and whether additional information is needed by
1141the division from the complainant. The division shall conduct
1142its investigation and shall, within 90 days after receipt of the
1143original complaint or of timely requested additional
1144information, take action upon the complaint. However, the
1145failure to complete the investigation within 90 days does not
1146prevent the division from continuing the investigation,
1147accepting or considering evidence obtained or received after 90
1148days, or taking administrative action if reasonable cause exists
1149to believe that a violation of this chapter or a rule of the
1150division has occurred. If an investigation is not completed
1151within the time limits established in this paragraph, the
1152division shall, on a monthly basis, notify the complainant in
1153writing of the status of the investigation. When reporting its
1154action to the complainant, the division shall inform the
1155complainant of any right to a hearing pursuant to ss. 120.569
1156and 120.57.
1157     (n)  Condominium association directors, officers, and
1158employees; condominium developers; community association
1159managers; and community association management firms have an
1160ongoing duty to reasonably cooperate with the division in any
1161investigation pursuant to this section. The division shall refer
1162to local law enforcement authorities any person whom the
1163division believes has altered, destroyed, concealed, or removed
1164any record, document, or thing required to be kept or maintained
1165by this chapter with the purpose to impair its verity or
1166availability in the department's investigation.
1167     (o)  The division may:
1168     1.  Contract with agencies in this state or other
1169jurisdictions to perform investigative functions; or
1170     2.  Accept grants-in-aid from any source.
1171     (p)  The division shall cooperate with similar agencies in
1172other jurisdictions to establish uniform filing procedures and
1173forms, public offering statements, advertising standards, and
1174rules and common administrative practices.
1175     (q)  The division shall consider notice to a developer to
1176be complete when it is delivered to the developer's address
1177currently on file with the division.
1178     (r)  In addition to its enforcement authority, the division
1179may issue a notice to show cause, which shall provide for a
1180hearing, upon written request, in accordance with chapter 120.
1181     (s)  The division shall submit to the Governor, the
1182President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of
1183Representatives, and the chairs of the legislative
1184appropriations committees an annual report that includes, but
1185need not be limited to, the number of training programs provided
1186for condominium association board members and unit owners, the
1187number of complaints received by type, the number and percent of
1188complaints acknowledged in writing within 30 days and the number
1189and percent of investigations acted upon within 90 days in
1190accordance with paragraph (m), and the number of investigations
1191exceeding the 90-day requirement. The annual report shall also
1192include an evaluation of the division's core business processes
1193and make recommendations for improvements, including statutory
1194changes. The report shall be submitted by September 30 following
1195the end of the fiscal year.
1196     Section 12.  Subsection (4) of section 718.5012, Florida
1197Statutes, is amended to read:
1198     718.5012  Ombudsman; powers and duties.--The ombudsman
1199shall have the powers that are necessary to carry out the duties
1200of his or her office, including the following specific powers:
1201     (4)  To act as liaison between the division, unit owners,
1202boards of directors, board members, community association
1203managers, and other affected parties. The ombudsman shall
1204develop policies and procedures to assist unit owners, boards of
1205directors, board members, community association managers, and
1206other affected parties to understand their rights and
1207responsibilities as set forth in this chapter and the
1208condominium documents governing their respective association.
1209The ombudsman shall coordinate and assist in the preparation and
1210adoption of educational and reference material, and shall
1211endeavor to coordinate with private or volunteer providers of
1212these services, so that the availability of these resources is
1213made known to the largest possible audience. In conjunction with
1214the division, included in the preparation and adoption of
1215educational and reference materials shall be the publishing and
1216updating of a "Florida Condominium Handbook" to facilitate
1217understanding of this chapter, the contents of which are stated
1218in a clear, conspicuous, and easily understandable manner. The
1219handbook shall be made publicly available on the ombudsman's
1220Internet website.
1221     Section 13.  Part VII of chapter 718, Florida Statutes,
1222consisting of sections 718.701, 718.702, 718.703, 718.704,
1223718.705, 718.706, 718.707, and 718.708, is created to read:
1224
PART VII
1225
DISTRESSED CONDOMINIUM RELIEF
1226     718.701  Short title.--This part may be cited as the
1227"Distressed Condominium Relief Act."
1228     718.702  Legislative intent.--
1229     (1)  The Legislature acknowledges the massive downturn in
1230the condominium market which has transpired throughout the state
1231and the impact of such downturn on developers, lenders, unit
1232owners, and condominium associations. Numerous condominium
1233projects have either failed or are in the process of failing,
1234whereby the condominium has a small percentage of third-party
1235unit owners as compared to the unsold inventory of units. As a
1236result of the inability to find purchasers for this inventory of
1237units, which results in part from the devaluing of real estate
1238in this state, developers are unable to satisfy the requirements
1239of their lenders, leading to defaults on mortgages.
1240Consequently, lenders are faced with the task of finding a
1241solution to the problem in order to be paid for their
1242investments.
1243     (2)  The Legislature recognizes that all of the factors
1244listed in this section lead to condominiums becoming distressed,
1245resulting in detriment to the unit owners and the condominium
1246association on account of the resulting shortage of assessment
1247moneys available to support the financial requirements for
1248proper maintenance of the condominium. Such shortage and the
1249resulting lack of proper maintenance further erode property
1250values. The Legislature finds that individuals and entities
1251within Florida and in other states have expressed interest in
1252purchasing unsold inventory in one or more condominium projects,
1253but are reticent to do so because of accompanying liabilities
1254inherited from the original developer, which are by definition
1255imputed to the successor purchaser, including a foreclosing
1256mortgagee. This results in the potential purchaser having
1257unknown and unquantifiable risks, and potential successor
1258purchasers are unwilling to accept such risks. The result is
1259that condominium projects stagnate, leaving all parties involved
1260at an impasse without the ability to find a solution.
1261     (3)  The Legislature finds and declares that it is the
1262public policy of this state to protect the interests of
1263developers, lenders, unit owners, and condominium associations
1264with regard to distressed condominiums, and that there is a need
1265for relief from certain provisions of the Florida Condominium
1266Act geared toward enabling economic opportunities within these
1267condominiums for successor purchasers, including foreclosing
1268mortgagees. Such relief would benefit existing unit owners and
1269condominium associations. The Legislature further finds and
1270declares that this situation cannot be open-ended without
1271potentially prejudicing the rights of unit owners and
1272condominium associations, and thereby declares that the
1273provisions of this part shall be used by purchasers of
1274condominium inventory for a specific and defined period.
1275     718.703  Definitions.--As used in this part, the term:
1276     (1)  "Bulk assignee" means a person who:
1277     (a)  Acquires more than seven condominium parcels as set
1278forth in s. 718.707; and
1279     (b)  Receives an assignment of some or all of the rights of
1280the developer as are set forth in the declaration of condominium
1281or in this chapter by a written instrument recorded as an
1282exhibit to the deed or as a separate instrument in the public
1283records of the county in which the condominium is located.
1284     (2)  "Bulk buyer" means a person who acquires more than
1285seven condominium parcels as set forth in s. 718.707 but who
1286does not receive an assignment of any developer rights other
1287than the right to conduct sales, leasing, and marketing
1288activities within the condominium.
1289     718.704  Assignment of developer rights to and assumption
1290of developer rights by bulk assignee; bulk buyer.--
1291     (1)  A bulk assignee shall be deemed to have assumed and is
1292liable for all duties and responsibilities of the developer
1293under the declaration and this chapter, except:
1294     (a)  Warranties of the developer under s. 718.203(1) or s.
1295718.618, except for design, construction, development, or repair
1296work performed by or on behalf of such bulk assignee.
1297     (b)  The obligation to:
1298     1.  Fund converter reserves under s. 718.618 for a unit
1299which was not acquired by the bulk assignee; or
1300     2.  Provide converter warranties on any portion of the
1301condominium property except as may be expressly provided by the
1302bulk assignee in the contract for purchase and sale executed
1303with a purchaser and pertaining to any design, construction,
1304development, or repair work performed by or on behalf of the
1305bulk assignee.
1306     (c)  The requirement to provide the association with a
1307cumulative audit of the association's finances from the date of
1308formation of the condominium association as required by s.
1309718.301. However, the bulk assignee shall provide an audit for
1310the period for which the bulk assignee elects a majority of the
1311members of the board of administration.
1312     (d)  Any liability arising out of or in connection with
1313actions taken by the board of administration or the developer-
1314appointed directors before the bulk assignee elects a majority
1315of the members of the board of administration.
1316     (e)  Any liability for or arising out of the developer's
1317failure to fund previous assessments or to resolve budgetary
1318deficits in relation to a developer's right to guarantee
1319assessments, except as otherwise provided in subsection (2).
1320
1321Further, the bulk assignee is responsible for delivering
1322documents and materials in accordance with s. 718.705(3). A bulk
1323assignee may expressly assume some or all of the obligations of
1324the developer described in paragraphs (a)-(e).
1325     (2)  A bulk assignee receiving the assignment of the rights
1326of the developer to guarantee the level of assessments and fund
1327budgetary deficits pursuant to s. 718.116 shall be deemed to
1328have assumed and is liable for all obligations of the developer
1329with respect to such guarantee, including any applicable funding
1330of reserves to the extent required by law, for as long as the
1331guarantee remains in effect. A bulk assignee not receiving an
1332assignment of the right of the developer to guarantee the level
1333of assessments and fund budgetary deficits pursuant to s.
1334718.116 or a bulk buyer is not deemed to have assumed and is not
1335liable for the obligations of the developer with respect to such
1336guarantee, but is responsible for payment of assessments in the
1337same manner as all other owners of condominium parcels.
1338     (3)  A bulk buyer is liable for the duties and
1339responsibilities of the developer under the declaration and this
1340chapter only to the extent provided in this part, together with
1341any other duties or responsibilities of the developer expressly
1342assumed in writing by the bulk buyer.
1343     (4)  An acquirer of condominium parcels is not considered a
1344bulk assignee or a bulk buyer if the transfer to such acquirer
1345was made with the intent to hinder, delay, or defraud any
1346purchaser, unit owner, or the association, or if the acquirer is
1347a person who would constitute an insider under s. 726.102(7).
1348     (5)  An assignment of developer rights to a bulk assignee
1349may be made by the developer, a previous bulk assignee, or a
1350court of competent jurisdiction acting on behalf of the
1351developer or the previous bulk assignee. At any particular time,
1352there may be no more than one bulk assignee within a
1353condominium, but there may be more than one bulk buyer. If more
1354than one acquirer of condominium parcels receives an assignment
1355of developer rights from the same person, the bulk assignee is
1356the acquirer whose instrument of assignment is recorded first in
1357applicable public records.
1358     718.705  Board of administration; transfer of control.--
1359     (1)  For purposes of determining the timing for transfer of
1360control of the board of administration of the association to
1361unit owners other than the developer under s. 718.301(1)(a) or
1362(b), if a bulk assignee is entitled to elect a majority of the
1363members of the board, a condominium parcel acquired by the bulk
1364assignee shall not be deemed to be conveyed to a purchaser, or
1365to be owned by an owner other than the developer, until such
1366condominium parcel is conveyed to an owner who is not a bulk
1367assignee.
1368     (2)  Unless control of the board of administration of the
1369association has already been relinquished pursuant to s.
1370718.301(1), the bulk assignee is obligated to relinquish control
1371of the association in accordance with s. 718.301 and this part.
1372     (3)  When a bulk assignee relinquishes control of the board
1373of administration as set forth in s. 718.301, the bulk assignee
1374shall deliver all of those items required by s. 718.301(4).
1375However, the bulk assignee is not required to deliver items and
1376documents not in the possession of the bulk assignee during the
1377period during which the bulk assignee was the owner of
1378condominium parcels. In conjunction with the acquisition of
1379condominium parcels, a bulk assignee shall undertake a good
1380faith effort to obtain the documents and materials required to
1381be provided to the association pursuant to s. 718.301(4). To the
1382extent the bulk assignee is not able to obtain all of such
1383documents and materials, the bulk assignee shall certify in
1384writing to the association the names or descriptions of the
1385documents and materials that were not obtainable by the bulk
1386assignee. Delivery of the certificate relieves the bulk assignee
1387of responsibility for the delivery of the documents and
1388materials referenced in the certificate as otherwise required
1389under ss. 718.112 and 718.301 and this part. The responsibility
1390of the bulk assignee for the audit required by s. 718.301(4)
1391shall commence as of the date on which the bulk assignee elected
1392a majority of the members of the board of administration.
1393     (4)  If a conflict arises between the provisions or
1394application of this section and s. 718.301, this section shall
1395prevail.
1396     (5)  Failure of a bulk assignee or bulk buyer to comply
1397with all the requirements contained in this part shall result in
1398the loss of any and all protections or exemptions provided under
1399this part.
1400     718.706  Specific provisions pertaining to offering of
1401units by a bulk assignee or bulk buyer.--
1402     (1)  Before offering any units for sale or for lease for a
1403term exceeding 5 years, a bulk assignee or bulk buyer must file
1404the following documents with the division and provide such
1405documents to a prospective purchaser:
1406     (a)  An updated prospectus or offering circular, or a
1407supplement to the prospectus or offering circular, filed by the
1408creating developer prepared in accordance with s. 718.504, which
1409shall include the form of contract for purchase and sale in
1410compliance with s. 718.503(2).
1411     (b)  An updated Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
1412sheet.
1413     (c)  The executed escrow agreement if required under s.
1414718.202.
1415     (d)  The financial information required by s. 718.111(13).
1416However, if a financial information report does not exist for
1417the fiscal year before acquisition of title by the bulk assignee
1418or bulk buyer, or accounting records cannot be obtained in good
1419faith by the bulk assignee or bulk buyer which would permit
1420preparation of the required financial information report, the
1421bulk assignee or bulk buyer is excused from the requirement of
1422this paragraph. However, the bulk assignee or bulk buyer must
1423include in the purchase contract the following statement in
1424conspicuous type:
1425
1426THE FINANCIAL INFORMATION REPORT REQUIRED UNDER
1427SECTION 718.111(13), FLORIDA STATUTES, FOR THE
1428IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING FISCAL YEAR OF THE ASSOCIATION
1429IS NOT AVAILABLE OR CANNOT BE CREATED BY THE SELLER AS
1430A RESULT OF INSUFFICIENT ACCOUNTING RECORDS OF THE
1431ASSOCIATION.
1432
1433     (2)  Before offering any units for sale or for lease for a
1434term exceeding 5 years, a bulk assignee must file with the
1435division and provide to a prospective purchaser a disclosure
1436statement that must include, but is not limited to:
1437     (a)  A description to the purchaser of any rights of the
1438developer which have been assigned to the bulk assignee.
1439     (b)  The following statement in conspicuous type:
1440
1441SELLER IS NOT OBLIGATED FOR ANY WARRANTIES OF THE
1442DEVELOPER UNDER SECTION 718.203(1) OR SECTION 718.618,
1443FLORIDA STATUTES, AS APPLICABLE, EXCEPT FOR DESIGN,
1444CONSTRUCTION, DEVELOPMENT, OR REPAIR WORK PERFORMED BY
1445OR ON BEHALF OF SELLER.
1446
1447     (c)  If the condominium is a conversion subject to part VI,
1448the following statement in conspicuous type:
1449
1450SELLER HAS NO OBLIGATION TO FUND CONVERTER RESERVES OR
1451TO PROVIDE CONVERTER WARRANTIES UNDER SECTION 718.618,
1452FLORIDA STATUTES, ON ANY PORTION OF THE CONDOMINIUM
1453PROPERTY EXCEPT AS MAY BE EXPRESSLY REQUIRED OF THE
1454SELLER IN THE CONTRACT FOR PURCHASE AND SALE EXECUTED
1455BY THE SELLER AND THE PREVIOUS DEVELOPER AND
1456PERTAINING TO ANY DESIGN, CONSTRUCTION, DEVELOPMENT,
1457OR REPAIR WORK PERFORMED BY OR ON BEHALF OF THE
1458SELLER.
1459
1460     (3)  In addition to the requirements set forth in
1461subsection (1), a bulk assignee or bulk buyer must comply with
1462the nondeveloper disclosure requirements set forth in s.
1463718.503(2) before offering any units for sale or for lease for a
1464term exceeding 5 years.
1465     (4)  A bulk assignee, while in control of the board of
1466administration of the association, may not authorize, on behalf
1467of the association:
1468     (a)  The waiver of reserves or the reduction of funding of
1469the reserves in accordance with s. 718.112(2)(f)2., unless
1470approved by a majority of the voting interests not controlled by
1471the developer, bulk assignee, or bulk buyer; or
1472     (b)  The use of reserve expenditures for other purposes in
1473accordance with s. 718.112(2)(f)3., unless approved by a
1474majority of the voting interests not controlled by the
1475developer, bulk assignee, or bulk buyer.
1476     (5)  A bulk assignee, while in control of the board of
1477administration of the association, must comply with the
1478requirements imposed upon developers to transfer control of the
1479association to the unit owners in accordance with s. 718.301.
1480     (6)  A bulk assignee or bulk buyer must comply with all the
1481requirements of s. 718.302 regarding any contracts entered into
1482by the association during the period the bulk assignee or bulk
1483buyer maintains control of the board of administration. Unit
1484owners shall be afforded all the protections contained in s.
1485718.302 regarding agreements entered into by the association
1486before unit owners other than the developer, bulk assignee, or
1487bulk buyer elected a majority of the board of administration.
1488     (7)  A bulk buyer must comply with the requirements
1489contained in the declaration regarding any transfer of a unit,
1490including sales, leases, and subleases. A bulk buyer is not
1491entitled to any exemptions afforded a developer or successor
1492developer under this chapter regarding any transfer of a unit,
1493including sales, leases, or subleases.
1494     718.707  Time limitation for classification as bulk
1495assignee or bulk buyer.--A person acquiring condominium parcels
1496may not be classified as a bulk assignee or bulk buyer unless
1497the condominium parcels were acquired before July 1, 2012. The
1498date of such acquisition shall be determined by the date of
1499recording of a deed or other instrument of conveyance for such
1500parcels in the public records of the county in which the
1501condominium is located or by the date of issuance of a
1502certificate of title in a foreclosure proceeding with respect to
1503such condominium parcels.
1504     718.708  Liability of developers and others.--An assignment
1505of developer rights to a bulk assignee or bulk buyer does not
1506release the developer from any liabilities under the declaration
1507or this chapter. This part does not limit the liability of the
1508developer for claims brought by unit owners, bulk assignees, or
1509bulk buyers for violations of this chapter by the developer,
1510unless specifically excluded in this part. Nothing contained
1511within this part waives, releases, compromises, or limits the
1512liability of contractors, subcontractors, materialmen,
1513manufacturers, architects, engineers, or any participant in the
1514design or construction of a condominium for any claim brought by
1515an association, unit owners, bulk assignees, or bulk buyers
1516arising from the design of the condominium, construction
1517defects, misrepresentations associated with condominium
1518property, or violations of this chapter, unless specifically
1519excluded in this part.
1520     Section 14.  Subsection (2) of section 720.302, Florida
1521Statutes, is amended to read:
1522     720.302  Purposes, scope, and application.--
1523     (2)  The Legislature recognizes that it is not in the best
1524interest of homeowners' associations or the individual
1525association members thereof to create or impose a bureau or
1526other agency of state government to regulate the affairs of
1527homeowners' associations. However, in accordance with part IV of
1528this chapter s. 720.311, the Legislature finds that homeowners'
1529associations and their individual members will benefit from an
1530expedited alternative process for resolution of election and
1531recall disputes and presuit mediation of other disputes
1532involving covenant enforcement in homeowners' associations and
1533deed-restricted communities using the procedures provided in
1534part IV of and authorizes the department to hear, administer,
1535and determine these disputes as more fully set forth in this
1536chapter. Further, the Legislature recognizes that certain
1537contract rights have been created for the benefit of homeowners'
1538associations and members thereof as well as deed-restricted
1539communities before the effective date of this act and that part
1540IV of this chapter is ss. 720.301-720.407 are not intended to
1541impair such contract rights, including, but not limited to, the
1542rights of the developer to complete the community as initially
1543contemplated.
1544     Section 15.  Paragraph (b) of subsection (2), paragraphs
1545(a) and (c) of subsection (5), paragraphs (b), (c), (d), (f),
1546and (g) of subsection (6), and paragraphs (c) and (d) of
1547subsection (10) of section 720.303, Florida Statutes, are
1548amended, and subsections (12), (13), and (14) are added to that
1549section, to read:
1550     720.303  Association powers and duties; meetings of board;
1551official records; budgets; financial reporting; association
1552funds; recalls; prohibited compensation; borrowing; transfer
1553fees.--
1554     (2)  BOARD MEETINGS.--
1555     (b)  Members have the right to attend all meetings of the
1556board and to speak on any matter placed on the agenda by
1557petition of the voting interests for at least 3 minutes. The
1558association may adopt written reasonable rules expanding the
1559right of members to speak and governing the frequency, duration,
1560and other manner of member statements, which rules must be
1561consistent with this paragraph and may include a sign-up sheet
1562for members wishing to speak. Notwithstanding any other law, the
1563requirement that board meetings and committee meetings be open
1564to the members is inapplicable to meetings between the board or
1565a committee and the association's attorney to discuss proposed
1566or pending litigation, or with respect to meetings of the board
1567held for the purpose of discussing personnel matters are not
1568required to be open to the members.
1569     (5)  INSPECTION AND COPYING OF RECORDS.--The official
1570records shall be maintained within the state and must be open to
1571inspection and available for photocopying by members or their
1572authorized agents at reasonable times and places within 10
1573business days after receipt of a written request for access.
1574This subsection may be complied with by having a copy of the
1575official records available for inspection or copying in the
1576community. If the association has a photocopy machine available
1577where the records are maintained, it must provide parcel owners
1578with copies on request during the inspection if the entire
1579request is limited to no more than 25 pages.
1580     (a)  The failure of an association to provide access to the
1581records within 10 business days after receipt of a written
1582request submitted by certified mail, return receipt requested,
1583creates a rebuttable presumption that the association willfully
1584failed to comply with this subsection.
1585     (c)  The association may adopt reasonable written rules
1586governing the frequency, time, location, notice, records to be
1587inspected, and manner of inspections, but may not require impose
1588a requirement that a parcel owner to demonstrate any proper
1589purpose for the inspection, state any reason for the inspection,
1590or limit a parcel owner's right to inspect records to less than
1591one 8-hour business day per month. The association may impose
1592fees to cover the costs of providing copies of the official
1593records, including, without limitation, the costs of copying.
1594The association may charge up to 50 cents per page for copies
1595made on the association's photocopier. If the association does
1596not have a photocopy machine available where the records are
1597kept, or if the records requested to be copied exceed 25 pages
1598in length, the association may have copies made by an outside
1599vendor or association management company personnel and may
1600charge the actual cost of copying, including any reasonable
1601costs involving personnel fees and charges at an hourly rate for
1602employee time to cover administrative costs to the association.
1603The association shall maintain an adequate number of copies of
1604the recorded governing documents, to ensure their availability
1605to members and prospective members. Notwithstanding the
1606provisions of this paragraph, the following records are shall
1607not be accessible to members or parcel owners:
1608     1.  Any record protected by the lawyer-client privilege as
1609described in s. 90.502 and any record protected by the work-
1610product privilege, including, but not limited to, any record
1611prepared by an association attorney or prepared at the
1612attorney's express direction which reflects a mental impression,
1613conclusion, litigation strategy, or legal theory of the attorney
1614or the association and which was prepared exclusively for civil
1615or criminal litigation or for adversarial administrative
1616proceedings or which was prepared in anticipation of imminent
1617civil or criminal litigation or imminent adversarial
1618administrative proceedings until the conclusion of the
1619litigation or adversarial administrative proceedings.
1620     2.  Information obtained by an association in connection
1621with the approval of the lease, sale, or other transfer of a
1622parcel.
1623     3.  Disciplinary, health, insurance, and personnel records
1624of the association's employees.
1625     4.  Medical records of parcel owners or community
1626residents.
1627     (6)  BUDGETS.--
1628     (b)  In addition to annual operating expenses, the budget
1629may include reserve accounts for capital expenditures and
1630deferred maintenance for which the association is responsible.
1631If reserve accounts are not established pursuant to paragraph
1632(d), funding of such reserves shall be limited to the extent
1633that the governing documents do not limit increases in
1634assessments, including reserves. If the budget of the
1635association includes reserve accounts established pursuant to
1636paragraph (d), such reserves shall be determined, maintained,
1637and waived in the manner provided in this subsection. Once an
1638association provides for reserve accounts pursuant to paragraph
1639(d) in the budget, the association shall thereafter determine,
1640maintain, and waive reserves in compliance with this subsection.
1641This section does not preclude the termination of a reserve
1642account established pursuant to this paragraph upon approval of
1643a majority of the voting interests of the association. Upon such
1644approval, the terminating reserve account shall be removed from
1645the budget.
1646     (c)1.  If the budget of the association does not provide
1647for reserve accounts pursuant to paragraph (d) governed by this
1648subsection and the association is responsible for the repair and
1649maintenance of capital improvements that may result in a special
1650assessment if reserves are not provided, each financial report
1651for the preceding fiscal year required under by subsection (7)
1652shall contain the following statement in conspicuous type:
1653
1654THE BUDGET OF THE ASSOCIATION DOES NOT PROVIDE FOR
1655RESERVE ACCOUNTS FOR CAPITAL EXPENDITURES AND DEFERRED
1656MAINTENANCE THAT MAY RESULT IN SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS.
1657OWNERS MAY ELECT TO PROVIDE FOR RESERVE ACCOUNTS
1658PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 720.303(6),
1659FLORIDA STATUTES, UPON OBTAINING THE APPROVAL OF NOT
1660LESS THAN A MAJORITY OF THE TOTAL VOTING INTERESTS OF
1661THE ASSOCIATION BY VOTE OF THE MEMBERS AT A MEETING OR
1662BY WRITTEN CONSENT.
1663
1664     2.  If the budget of the association does provide for
1665funding accounts for deferred expenditures, including, but not
1666limited to, funds for capital expenditures and deferred
1667maintenance, but such accounts are not created or established
1668pursuant to paragraph (d), each financial report for the
1669preceding fiscal year required under subsection (7) must also
1670contain the following statement in conspicuous type:
1671
1672THE BUDGET OF THE ASSOCIATION DOES PROVIDE FOR LIMITED
1673VOLUNTARY DEFERRED EXPENDITURE ACCOUNTS, INCLUDING
1674CAPITAL EXPENDITURES AND DEFERRED MAINTENANCE, SUBJECT
1675TO LIMITS ON FUNDING CONTAINED IN OUR GOVERNING
1676DOCUMENTS. BECAUSE THE OWNERS HAVE NOT ELECTED TO
1677PROVIDE FOR RESERVE ACCOUNTS PURSUANT TO SECTION
1678720.303(6), FLORIDA STATUTES, THESE FUNDS ARE NOT
1679SUBJECT TO THE RESTRICTIONS ON USE OF SUCH FUNDS SET
1680FORTH IN THAT STATUTE, NOR ARE RESERVES CALCULATED IN
1681ACCORDANCE WITH THAT STATUTE.
1682
1683     (d)  An association shall be deemed to have provided for
1684reserve accounts if when reserve accounts have been initially
1685established by the developer or if when the membership of the
1686association affirmatively elects to provide for reserves. If
1687reserve accounts are not initially provided for by the
1688developer, the membership of the association may elect to do so
1689upon the affirmative approval of not less than a majority of the
1690total voting interests of the association. Such approval may be
1691obtained attained by vote of the members at a duly called
1692meeting of the membership or by the upon a written consent of
1693executed by not less than a majority of the total voting
1694interests in the community. The approval action of the
1695membership shall state that reserve accounts shall be provided
1696for in the budget and shall designate the components for which
1697the reserve accounts are to be established. Upon approval by the
1698membership, the board of directors shall include provide for the
1699required reserve accounts for inclusion in the budget in the
1700next fiscal year following the approval and in each year
1701thereafter. Once established as provided in this subsection, the
1702reserve accounts shall be funded or maintained or shall have
1703their funding waived in the manner provided in paragraph (f).
1704     (f)  After one or more Once a reserve account or reserve
1705accounts are established, the membership of the association,
1706upon a majority vote at a meeting at which a quorum is present,
1707may provide for no reserves or less reserves than required by
1708this section. If a meeting of the unit owners has been called to
1709determine whether to waive or reduce the funding of reserves and
1710no such result is achieved or a quorum is not present, the
1711reserves as included in the budget shall go into effect. After
1712the turnover, the developer may vote its voting interest to
1713waive or reduce the funding of reserves. Any vote taken pursuant
1714to this subsection to waive or reduce reserves is shall be
1715applicable only to one budget year.
1716     (g)  Funding formulas for reserves authorized by this
1717section shall be based on either a separate analysis of each of
1718the required assets or a pooled analysis of two or more of the
1719required assets.
1720     1.  If the association maintains separate reserve accounts
1721for each of the required assets, the amount of the contribution
1722to each reserve account is shall be the sum of the following two
1723calculations:
1724     a.  The total amount necessary, if any, to bring a negative
1725component balance to zero.
1726     b.  The total estimated deferred maintenance expense or
1727estimated replacement cost of the reserve component less the
1728estimated balance of the reserve component as of the beginning
1729of the period for which the budget will be in effect. The
1730remainder, if greater than zero, shall be divided by the
1731estimated remaining useful life of the component.
1732
1733The formula may be adjusted each year for changes in estimates
1734and deferred maintenance performed during the year and may
1735include factors such as inflation and earnings on invested
1736funds.
1737     2.  If the association maintains a pooled account of two or
1738more of the required reserve assets, the amount of the
1739contribution to the pooled reserve account as disclosed on the
1740proposed budget may shall not be less than that required to
1741ensure that the balance on hand at the beginning of the period
1742for which the budget will go into effect plus the projected
1743annual cash inflows over the remaining estimated useful life of
1744all of the assets that make up the reserve pool are equal to or
1745greater than the projected annual cash outflows over the
1746remaining estimated useful lives of all of the assets that make
1747up the reserve pool, based on the current reserve analysis. The
1748projected annual cash inflows may include estimated earnings
1749from investment of principal and accounts receivable minus the
1750allowance for doubtful accounts. The reserve funding formula may
1751shall not include any type of balloon payments.
1752     (10)  RECALL OF DIRECTORS.--
1753     (c)1.  If the declaration, articles of incorporation, or
1754bylaws specifically provide, the members may also recall and
1755remove a board director or directors by a vote taken at a
1756meeting. If so provided in the governing documents, a special
1757meeting of the members to recall a director or directors of the
1758board of administration may be called by 10 percent of the
1759voting interests giving notice of the meeting as required for a
1760meeting of members, and the notice shall state the purpose of
1761the meeting. Electronic transmission may not be used as a method
1762of giving notice of a meeting called in whole or in part for
1763this purpose.
1764     2.  The board shall duly notice and hold a board meeting
1765within 5 full business days after the adjournment of the member
1766meeting to recall one or more directors. At the meeting, the
1767board shall certify the recall, in which case such member or
1768members shall be recalled effective immediately and shall turn
1769over to the board within 5 full business days any and all
1770records and property of the association in their possession, or
1771shall proceed as set forth in paragraph subparagraph (d).
1772     (d)  If the board determines not to certify the written
1773agreement or written ballots to recall a director or directors
1774of the board or does not certify the recall by a vote at a
1775meeting, the board shall, within 5 full business days after the
1776meeting, initiate file with the department a petition for
1777binding arbitration pursuant to the applicable procedures in s.
1778720.507 ss. 718.112(2)(j) and 718.1255 and the rules adopted
1779thereunder. For the purposes of this section, the members who
1780voted at the meeting or who executed the agreement in writing
1781shall constitute one party under the petition for arbitration.
1782If the arbitrator certifies the recall as to any director or
1783directors of the board, the recall will be effective upon
1784mailing of the final order of arbitration to the association.
1785The director or directors so recalled shall deliver to the board
1786any and all records of the association in their possession
1787within 5 full business days after the effective date of the
1788recall.
1789     (12)  COMPENSATION PROHIBITED.--A director, officer, or
1790committee member of the association may not receive, directly or
1791indirectly, any salary or compensation from the association for
1792the performance of duties as a director, officer, or committee
1793member and may not in any other way benefit financially from
1794service to the association. This subsection does not preclude:
1795     (a)  Participation by such person in a financial benefit
1796accruing to all or a significant number of members as a result
1797of actions lawfully taken by the board or a committee of which
1798he or she is a member, including, but not limited to, routine
1799maintenance, repair, or replacement of community assets.
1800     (b)  Reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses incurred by
1801such person on behalf of the association, subject to approval in
1802accordance with procedures established by the association's
1803governing documents or, in the absence of such procedures, in
1804accordance with an approval process established by the board.
1805     (c)  Any recovery of insurance proceeds derived from a
1806policy of insurance maintained by the association for the
1807benefit of its members.
1808     (d)  Any fee or compensation authorized in the governing
1809documents.
1810     (e)  Any fee or compensation authorized in advance by a
1811vote of a majority of the voting interests voting in person or
1812by proxy at a meeting of the members.
1813     (f)  A developer or its representative from serving as a
1814director, officer, or committee member of the association and
1815benefiting financially from service to the association.
1816     (13)  BORROWING.--The borrowing of funds or committing to a
1817line of credit by the board of administration shall be
1818considered a special assessment, and any meeting of the board of
1819administration to discuss such matters must be noticed as
1820provided in paragraph (2)(c). The board may not borrow funds or
1821enter into a line of credit for any purpose unless the specific
1822use of the funds from the loan or line of credit is set forth in
1823the notice of meeting with the same specificity as required for
1824a special assessment or unless the borrowing or line of credit
1825has received the prior approval of at least two-thirds of the
1826voting interests of the association.
1827     (14)  TRANSFER FEES.--No charge may be made by the
1828association or anyone on its behalf in connection with the sale,
1829mortgage, lease, sublease, or other transfer of a parcel.
1830Nothing in this subsection may be construed to prohibit an
1831association from requiring as a condition to permitting the
1832letting or renting of a parcel, when the association has such
1833authority in the documents, the depositing into an escrow
1834account maintained by the association of a security deposit in
1835an amount not to exceed the equivalent of 1 month's rent. The
1836security deposit shall protect against damages to the common
1837areas or association property. Within 15 days after a tenant
1838vacates the premises, the association shall refund the full
1839security deposit or give written notice to the tenant of any
1840claim made against the security. Disputes under this subsection
1841shall be handled in the same fashion as disputes concerning
1842security deposits under s. 83.49.
1843     Section 16.  Paragraph (a) of subsection (2) of section
1844720.304, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
1845     720.304  Right of owners to peaceably assemble; display of
1846flag; SLAPP suits prohibited.--
1847     (2)(a)  Any homeowner may display within the boundaries of
1848the homeowner's parcel one portable, removable United States
1849flag or official flag of the State of Florida in a respectful
1850manner, and one portable, removable official flag, in a
1851respectful way and, on Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day,
1852Independence Day, and Veterans' Day, may display in a respectful
1853way portable, removable official flags manner, not larger than 4
18541/2 feet by 6 feet, that represent which represents the United
1855States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard, or a
1856POW-MIA flag, regardless of any declaration covenants,
1857restrictions, bylaws, rules, or requirements dealing with flags
1858or decorations of the association.
1859     Section 17.  Subsection (2) of section 720.305, Florida
1860Statutes, is amended to read:
1861     720.305  Obligations of members; remedies at law or in
1862equity; levy of fines and suspension of use rights.--
1863     (2)  If the governing documents so provide, an association
1864may suspend, for a reasonable period of time, the rights of a
1865member or a member's tenants, guests, or invitees, or both, to
1866use common areas and facilities and may levy reasonable fines of
1867up to, not to exceed $100 per violation, against any member or
1868any tenant, guest, or invitee. A fine may be levied on the basis
1869of each day of a continuing violation, with a single notice and
1870opportunity for hearing, except that no such fine may shall
1871exceed $1,000 in the aggregate unless otherwise provided in the
1872governing documents. A fine of less than $1,000 may shall not
1873become a lien against a parcel. In any action to recover a fine,
1874the prevailing party is entitled to collect its reasonable
1875attorney's fees and costs from the nonprevailing party as
1876determined by the court.
1877     (a)  A fine or suspension may not be imposed without notice
1878of at least 14 days' notice days to the person sought to be
1879fined or suspended and an opportunity for a hearing before a
1880committee of at least three members appointed by the board who
1881are not officers, directors, or employees of the association, or
1882the spouse, parent, child, brother, or sister of an officer,
1883director, or employee. If the committee, by majority vote, does
1884not approve a proposed fine or suspension, it may not be
1885imposed.
1886     (b)  The requirements of this subsection do not apply to
1887the imposition of suspensions or fines upon any member because
1888of the failure of the member to pay assessments or other charges
1889when due if such action is authorized by the governing
1890documents.
1891     (c)  Suspension of common-area-use rights do shall not
1892impair the right of an owner or tenant of a parcel to have
1893vehicular and pedestrian ingress to and egress from the parcel,
1894including, but not limited to, the right to park.
1895     Section 18.  Subsections (8) and (9) of section 720.306,
1896Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
1897     720.306  Meetings of members; voting and election
1898procedures; amendments.--
1899     (8)  PROXY VOTING.--The members have the right, unless
1900otherwise provided in this subsection or in the governing
1901documents, to vote in person or by proxy.
1902     (a)  To be valid, a proxy must be dated, must state the
1903date, time, and place of the meeting for which it was given, and
1904must be signed by the authorized person who executed the proxy.
1905A proxy is effective only for the specific meeting for which it
1906was originally given, as the meeting may lawfully be adjourned
1907and reconvened from time to time, and automatically expires 90
1908days after the date of the meeting for which it was originally
1909given. A proxy is revocable at any time at the pleasure of the
1910person who executes it. If the proxy form expressly so provides,
1911any proxy holder may appoint, in writing, a substitute to act in
1912his or her place.
1913     (b)  If the governing documents permit voting by secret
1914ballot by members who are not in attendance at a meeting of the
1915members for the election of directors, such ballots shall be
1916placed in an inner envelope with no identifying markings and
1917mailed or delivered to the association in an outer envelope
1918bearing identifying information reflecting the name of the
1919member, the lot or parcel for which the vote is being cast, and
1920the signature of the lot or parcel owner casting that ballot.
1921After the eligibility of the member to vote and confirmation
1922that no other ballot has been submitted for that lot or parcel,
1923the inner envelope shall be removed from the outer envelope
1924bearing the identification information, placed with the ballots
1925which were personally cast, and opened when the ballots are
1926counted. If more than one ballot is submitted for a lot or
1927parcel, the ballots for that lot or parcel shall be
1928disqualified. Any vote by ballot received after the closing of
1929the balloting may not be considered.
1930     (9)  ELECTIONS; BOARD MEMBER CERTIFICATION.--
1931     (a)  Elections of directors must be conducted in accordance
1932with the procedures set forth in the governing documents of the
1933association. All members of the association are shall be
1934eligible to serve on the board of directors, and a member may
1935nominate himself or herself as a candidate for the board at a
1936meeting where the election is to be held or, if the election
1937process allows voting by absentee ballot, in advance of the
1938balloting. Except as otherwise provided in the governing
1939documents, boards of directors must be elected by a plurality of
1940the votes cast by eligible voters. Any election dispute between
1941a member and an association must be submitted to mandatory
1942binding arbitration with the division. Such proceedings shall be
1943conducted in the manner provided by s. 720.507 718.1255 and the
1944procedural rules adopted by the division.
1945     (b)  Within 30 days after being elected to the board of
1946directors, a new director shall certify in writing to the
1947secretary of the association that he or she has read the
1948association's declarations of covenants and restrictions,
1949articles of incorporation, bylaws, and current written policies
1950and that he or she will work to uphold each to the best of his
1951or her ability and will faithfully discharge his or her
1952fiduciary responsibility to the association's members. Failure
1953to timely file such statement shall automatically disqualify the
1954director from service on the association's board of directors.
1955The secretary shall cause the association to retain a director's
1956certification for inspection by the members for 5 years after a
1957director's election. Failure to have such certification on file
1958does not affect the validity of any appropriate action.
1959     Section 19.  Section (8) is added to section 720.3085,
1960Florida Statutes, to read:
1961     720.3085  Payment for assessments; lien claims.--
1962     (8)  During the pendency of any foreclosure action of a
1963parcel within a homeowners' association, if the home is occupied
1964by a tenant and the parcel owner is delinquent in the payment of
1965regular assessments, the association may demand that the tenant
1966pay to the association the future regular assessments related to
1967the parcel. The demand shall be continuing in nature, and upon
1968demand the tenant shall continue to pay the regular assessments
1969to the association until the association releases the tenant or
1970the tenant discontinues tenancy in the unit. The association
1971shall mail written notice to the parcel owner of the
1972association's demand that the tenant pay regular assessments to
1973the association. The tenant shall not be liable for increases in
1974the amount of the regular assessment due unless the tenant was
1975reasonably notified of the increase prior to the day that the
1976rent is due. The tenant shall be given a credit against rents
1977due to the parcel owner in the amount of assessments paid to the
1978association. The association shall, upon request, provide the
1979tenant with written receipts for payments made. The association
1980may issue notices under s. 83.56 and may sue for eviction under
1981ss. 83.59-83.625 as if the association were a landlord under
1982part II of chapter 83 should the tenant fail to pay an
1983assessment. However, the association shall not otherwise be
1984considered a landlord under chapter 83 and shall specifically
1985not have any duty under s. 83.51. The tenant shall not, by
1986virtue of payment of assessments, have any of the rights of a
1987unit owner to vote in any election or to examine the books and
1988records of the association. A court may supersede the effect of
1989this subsection by appointing a receiver.
1990     Section 20.  Section 720.3095, Florida Statutes, is created
1991to read:
1992     720.3095  Management and maintenance agreements entered
1993into by the association.--
1994     (1)  A written contract between a party contracting to
1995provide maintenance or management services and an association
1996which provides for operation, maintenance, or management of a
1997homeowners' association is not valid or enforceable unless the
1998contract:
1999     (a)  Specifies the services, obligations, and
2000responsibilities of the party contracting to provide maintenance
2001or management services to the unit owners.
2002     (b)  Specifies those costs incurred in the performance of
2003those services, obligations, or responsibilities which are to be
2004reimbursed by the association to the party contracting to
2005provide maintenance or management services.
2006     (c)  Provides an indication of how often each service,
2007obligation, or responsibility is to be performed, whether stated
2008for each service, obligation, or responsibility or in categories
2009thereof.
2010     (d)  Specifies a minimum number of personnel to be employed
2011by the party contracting to provide maintenance or management
2012services for the purpose of providing service to the
2013association.
2014     (e)  Discloses any financial or ownership interest which
2015the developer, if the developer is in control of the
2016association, holds with regard to the party contracting to
2017provide maintenance or management services.
2018     (f)  Discloses any financial or ownership interest a board
2019member or any party providing maintenance or management services
2020to the association holds with the contracting party.
2021     (2)  In any case in which the party contracting to provide
2022maintenance or management services fails to provide such
2023services in accordance with the contract, the association is
2024authorized to procure such services from some other party and
2025shall be entitled to collect any fees or charges paid for
2026services performed by another party from the party contracting
2027to provide maintenance or management services.
2028     (3)  Any services or obligations not stated on the face of
2029the contract shall be unenforceable.
2030     (4)  Notwithstanding the fact that certain vendors contract
2031with associations to maintain equipment or property which is
2032made available to serve unit owners, it is the intent of the
2033Legislature that this section applies to contracts for
2034maintenance or management services for which the association
2035pays compensation. This section does not apply to contracts for
2036services or property made available for the convenience of unit
2037owners by lessees or licensees of the association, such as coin-
2038operated laundry, food, soft drink, or telephone vendors; cable
2039television operators; retail store operators; businesses;
2040restaurants; or similar vendors.
2041     Section 21.  Section 720.3096, Florida Statutes, is created
2042to read:
2043     720.3096  Limitation on agreements entered into by the
2044association.--As to any contract or other transaction between an
2045association and one or more of its directors or any other
2046corporation, firm, association, or entity in which one or more
2047of its directors are directors or officers or are financially
2048interested:
2049     (1)  The association must comply with the requirements of
2050s. 617.0832.
2051     (2)  The disclosures required by s. 617.0832 must be
2052entered into the written minutes of the meeting.
2053     (3)  Approval of the contract or other transaction requires
2054an affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of the directors
2055present.
2056     (4)  At the next regular or special meeting of the members,
2057the existence of the contract or other transaction must be
2058disclosed to the members. Upon motion of any member, the
2059contract or transaction shall be brought up for a vote and may
2060be canceled by a majority vote of the members present. If the
2061members cancel the contract, the association is liable for only
2062the reasonable value of goods and services provided up to the
2063time of cancellation and is not liable for any termination fee,
2064liquidated damages, or other form of penalty for such
2065cancellation.
2066     Section 22.  Section 720.311, Florida Statutes, is
2067repealed.
2068     Section 23.  Paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of section
2069720.401, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
2070     720.401  Prospective purchasers subject to association
2071membership requirement; disclosure required; covenants;
2072assessments; contract cancellation.--
2073     (1)(a)  A prospective parcel owner in a community must be
2074presented a disclosure summary before executing the contract for
2075sale. The disclosure summary must be in a form substantially
2076similar to the following form:
2077
2078
DISCLOSURE SUMMARY
2079
FOR
2080
(NAME OF COMMUNITY)
2081
2082     1.  AS A PURCHASER OF PROPERTY IN THIS COMMUNITY, YOU WILL
2083BE OBLIGATED TO BE A MEMBER OF A HOMEOWNERS' ASSOCIATION.
2084     2.  THERE HAVE BEEN OR WILL BE RECORDED RESTRICTIVE
2085COVENANTS GOVERNING THE USE AND OCCUPANCY OF PROPERTIES IN THIS
2086COMMUNITY.
2087     3.  YOU WILL BE OBLIGATED TO PAY ASSESSMENTS TO THE
2088ASSOCIATION. ASSESSMENTS MAY BE SUBJECT TO PERIODIC CHANGE. IF
2089APPLICABLE, THE CURRENT AMOUNT IS $_____ PER _____. YOU WILL
2090ALSO BE OBLIGATED TO PAY ANY SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS IMPOSED BY THE
2091ASSOCIATION. SUCH SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS MAY BE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
2092IF APPLICABLE, THE CURRENT AMOUNT IS $_____ PER _____.
2093     4.  YOU MAY BE OBLIGATED TO PAY SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS TO THE
2094RESPECTIVE MUNICIPALITY, COUNTY, OR SPECIAL DISTRICT. ALL
2095ASSESSMENTS ARE SUBJECT TO PERIODIC CHANGE.
2096     5.  YOUR FAILURE TO PAY SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS OR ASSESSMENTS
2097LEVIED BY A MANDATORY HOMEOWNERS' ASSOCIATION MAY COULD RESULT
2098IN A LIEN ON YOUR PROPERTY.
2099     6.  THERE MAY BE AN OBLIGATION TO PAY RENT OR LAND USE FEES
2100FOR RECREATIONAL OR OTHER COMMONLY USED FACILITIES AS AN
2101OBLIGATION OF MEMBERSHIP IN THE HOMEOWNERS' ASSOCIATION. IF
2102APPLICABLE, THE CURRENT AMOUNT IS $_____ PER _____.
2103     7.  IF THE ASSOCIATION IS STILL UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE
2104DEVELOPER, THE DEVELOPER MAY HAVE THE RIGHT TO AMEND THE
2105RESTRICTIVE COVENANTS WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE ASSOCIATION
2106MEMBERSHIP OR THE APPROVAL OF THE PARCEL OWNERS.
2107     8.  THE STATEMENTS CONTAINED IN THIS DISCLOSURE FORM ARE
2108ONLY SUMMARY IN NATURE, AND, AS A PROSPECTIVE PURCHASER, YOU
2109SHOULD REFER TO THE COVENANTS AND THE ASSOCIATION GOVERNING
2110DOCUMENTS BEFORE PURCHASING PROPERTY.
2111     9.  THESE DOCUMENTS ARE EITHER MATTERS OF PUBLIC RECORD AND
2112CAN BE OBTAINED FROM THE RECORD OFFICE IN THE COUNTY WHERE THE
2113PROPERTY IS LOCATED, OR, IF ARE NOT RECORDED, AND CAN BE
2114OBTAINED FROM THE DEVELOPER.
2115     10.  THERE MAY BE AN OBLIGATION TO PAY ASSESSMENTS (TAXES
2116OR FEES) TO A RESIDENTIAL COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT FOR THE
2117PURPOSE OF RETIRING BOND OBLIGATIONS USED TO CONSTRUCT
2118INFRASTRUCTURE OR OTHER IMPROVEMENTS.
2119     11.  YOU ARE JOINTLY AND SEVERALLY LIABLE WITH THE PREVIOUS
2120OWNER OF YOUR PROPERTY FOR ALL UNPAID ASSESSMENTS THAT CAME DUE
2121UP TO THE TIME OF TRANSFER OF TITLE.
2122
2123DATE:     PURCHASER:
2124     PURCHASER:
2125
2126The disclosure must be supplied by the developer, or by the
2127parcel owner if the sale is by an owner that is not the
2128developer. Any contract or agreement for sale shall refer to and
2129incorporate the disclosure summary and shall include, in
2130prominent language, a statement that the potential buyer should
2131not execute the contract or agreement until he or she has they
2132have received and read the disclosure summary required by this
2133section.
2134     Section 24.  Part IV of chapter 720, Florida Statutes,
2135consisting of sections 720.501, 720.502, 720.503, 720.504,
2136720.505, 720.506, 720.507, 720.508, 720.509, and 720.510, is
2137created to read:
2138
PART IV
2139
DISPUTE RESOLUTION
2140     720.501  Short title.--This part may be cited as the "Home
2141Court Advantage Dispute Resolution Act."
2142     720.502  Legislative findings.--The Legislature finds that
2143alternative dispute resolution has made progress in reducing
2144court dockets and trials and in offering a more efficient, cost-
2145effective option to litigation.
2146     720.503  Applicability of this part.--
2147     (1)  Unless otherwise provided in this part, before a
2148dispute described in this part between a homeowners' association
2149and a parcel owner or owners, or a dispute between parcel owners
2150within the same homeowners' association, may be filed in court,
2151the dispute is subject to presuit mediation pursuant to s.
2152720.505 or presuit arbitration pursuant to s. 720.507, at the
2153option of the aggrieved party who initiates the first formal
2154action of alternative dispute resolution under this part. The
2155parties may mutually agree to participate in both presuit
2156mediation and presuit arbitration prior to suit being filed by
2157either party.
2158     (2)  Unless otherwise provided in this part, the mediation
2159and arbitration provisions of this part are limited to disputes
2160between an association and a parcel owner or owners or between
2161parcel owners regarding the use of or changes to the parcel or
2162the common areas under the governing documents and other
2163disputes involving violations of the recorded declaration of
2164covenants or other governing documents, disputes arising
2165concerning enforcement of the governing documents or any
2166amendments thereto, and disputes involving access to the
2167official records of the association. A dispute concerning title
2168to any parcel or common area, interpretation or enforcement of
2169any warranty, the levy of a fee or assessment, the collection of
2170an assessment levied against a party, the eviction or other
2171removal of a tenant from a parcel, alleged breaches of fiduciary
2172duty by one or more directors, or any action to collect mortgage
2173indebtedness or to foreclosure a mortgage shall not be subject
2174to the provisions of this part.
2175     (3)  A dispute arising after the effective date of this
2176part involving the election of the board of directors for an
2177association or the recall of any member of the board or officer
2178of the association is ineligible for presuit mediation under s.
2179720.505 and subject to presuit arbitration under s. 720.507.
2180     (4)  In any dispute subject to presuit mediation or presuit
2181arbitration under this part for which emergency relief is
2182required, a motion for temporary injunctive relief may be filed
2183with the court without first complying with the presuit
2184mediation or presuit arbitration requirements of this part.
2185After any issues regarding emergency or temporary relief are
2186resolved, the court may refer the parties to a mediation program
2187administered by the courts or require mediation or arbitration
2188under this part.
2189     (5)  The mailing of a statutory notice of presuit mediation
2190or presuit arbitration as provided in this part shall toll the
2191applicable statute of limitations during the pendency of the
2192mediation or arbitration and for a period of 30 days following
2193the conclusion of either proceeding. The 30-day period shall
2194start upon the filing of the mediator's notice of impasse or the
2195arbitrator's written arbitration award. If the parties mutually
2196agree to participate in both presuit mediation and presuit
2197arbitration under this part, the tolling of the applicable
2198statute of limitations for each such alternative dispute
2199resolution proceeding shall be consecutive.
2200     720.504  Notice of dispute.--Prior to giving the statutory
2201notice to proceed under presuit mediation or presuit arbitration
2202under this part, the aggrieved association or parcel owner must
2203first provide written notice of the dispute to the responding
2204party in the manner provided by this section.
2205     (1)  The notice of dispute shall be delivered to the
2206responding party by certified mail, return receipt requested, or
2207in person, and the person making delivery shall file with the
2208notice of mediation either the proof of receipt of mailing or an
2209affidavit stating the date and time of the delivery of the
2210notice of dispute. If the notice is delivered by certified mail,
2211return receipt requested, and the responding party fails or
2212refuses to accept delivery, notice shall be considered properly
2213delivered for purposes of this section on the date of the first
2214attempted delivery.
2215     (2)  The notice of dispute shall state with specificity the
2216nature of the dispute, including the date, time, and location of
2217each event that is the subject of the dispute and the action
2218requested to resolve the dispute. The notice shall also include
2219the text of any provision in the governing documents, including
2220the rules and regulations, of the association which form the
2221basis of the dispute.
2222     (3)  Unless the parties otherwise agree in writing to a
2223longer time period, the party receiving the notice of dispute
2224shall have 10 days following the date of receipt of notice to
2225resolve the dispute. If the alleged dispute has not been
2226resolved within the 10-day period, the aggrieved party may
2227proceed under this part at any time thereafter within the
2228applicable statute of limitations.
2229     (4)  A copy of the notice and the text of the provision in
2230the governing documents, or the rules and regulations, of the
2231association which are the basis of the dispute, along with proof
2232of service of the notice of dispute and a copy of any written
2233responses received from the responding party, shall be included
2234as an exhibit to any demand for mediation or arbitration under
2235this part.
2236     720.505  Presuit mediation.--
2237     (1)  Disputes between an association and a parcel owner or
2238owners or between parcel owners must be submitted to presuit
2239mediation before the dispute may be filed in court; or, at the
2240election of the party initiating the presuit procedures, such
2241dispute may be submitted to presuit arbitration pursuant to s.
2242720.507 before the dispute may be filed in court. An aggrieved
2243party who elects to use the presuit mediation procedure under
2244this section shall serve on the responding party a written
2245notice of presuit mediation in substantially the following form:
2246
2247
STATUTORY NOTICE OF PRESUIT MEDIATION
2248
2249THE ALLEGED AGGRIEVED PARTY, ____________________,
2250HEREBY DEMANDS THAT ____________________, AS THE
2251RESPONDING PARTY, ENGAGE IN MANDATORY PRESUIT
2252MEDIATION IN CONNECTION WITH THE FOLLOWING DISPUTE(S)
2253WITH YOU, WHICH BY STATUTE ARE OF A TYPE THAT ARE
2254SUBJECT TO PRESUIT MEDIATION:
2255
2256ATTACHED IS A COPY OF THE PRIOR NOTICE OF VIOLATION
2257WHICH DETAILS THE SPECIFIC NATURE OF THE DISPUTE(S) TO
2258BE MEDIATED AND THE AUTHORITY SUPPORTING A FINDING OF
2259A VIOLATION AS TO EACH DISPUTE, INCLUDING, BUT NOT
2260LIMITED TO, THE APPLICABLE PROVISIONS OF THE GOVERNING
2261DOCUMENTS OF THE ASSOCIATION BELIEVED TO APPLY TO THE
2262DISPUTE BETWEEN THE PARTIES, AND A COPY OF THE NOTICE
2263YOU RECEIVED OR REFUSED AND COPIES OF ANY WRITTEN
2264RESPONSE(S) RECEIVED FROM YOU ABOUT THIS DISPUTE.
2265
2266PURSUANT TO PART IV OF CHAPTER 720, FLORIDA STATUTES,
2267THIS DEMAND TO RESOLVE THE DISPUTE THROUGH PRESUIT
2268MEDIATION IS REQUIRED BEFORE A LAWSUIT CAN BE FILED
2269CONCERNING THE DISPUTE. PURSUANT TO FLORIDA STATUTES,
2270THE PARTIES ARE REQUIRED TO ENGAGE IN PRESUIT
2271MEDIATION WITH A NEUTRAL THIRD-PARTY MEDIATOR IN ORDER
2272TO ATTEMPT TO RESOLVE THIS DISPUTE WITHOUT COURT
2273ACTION, AND THE AGGRIEVED PARTY DEMANDS THAT YOU
2274PARTICIPATE IN THIS PROCESS. UNLESS YOU RESPOND TO
2275THIS NOTICE BY FILING WITH THE AGGRIEVED PARTY A
2276NOTICE OF OPTING OUT AND DEMAND FOR ARBITRATION UNDER
2277SECTION 720.506, FLORIDA STATUTES, YOUR FAILURE TO
2278PARTICIPATE IN THE MEDIATION PROCESS MAY RESULT IN A
2279LAWSUIT BEING FILED IN COURT AGAINST YOU WITHOUT
2280FURTHER NOTICE.
2281
2282THE PROCESS OF MEDIATION INVOLVES A SUPERVISED
2283NEGOTIATION PROCESS IN WHICH A TRAINED, NEUTRAL THIRD-
2284PARTY MEDIATOR MEETS WITH BOTH PARTIES AND ASSISTS
2285THEM IN EXPLORING POSSIBLE OPPORTUNITIES FOR RESOLVING
2286PART OR ALL OF THE DISPUTE. BY AGREEING TO PARTICIPATE
2287IN PRESUIT MEDIATION, YOU ARE NOT BOUND IN ANY WAY TO
2288CHANGE YOUR POSITION. FURTHERMORE, THE MEDIATOR HAS NO
2289AUTHORITY TO MAKE ANY DECISIONS IN THIS MATTER OR TO
2290DETERMINE WHO IS RIGHT OR WRONG AND MERELY ACTS AS A
2291FACILITATOR TO ENSURE THAT EACH PARTY UNDERSTANDS THE
2292POSITION OF THE OTHER PARTY AND THAT ALL OPTIONS FOR
2293REASONABLE SETTLEMENT ARE FULLY EXPLORED.
2294
2295IF AN AGREEMENT IS REACHED, IT SHALL BE REDUCED TO
2296WRITING AND BECOME A BINDING AND ENFORCEABLE CONTRACT
2297BETWEEN THE PARTIES. A RESOLUTION OF ONE OR MORE
2298DISPUTES IN THIS FASHION AVOIDS THE NEED TO LITIGATE
2299THESE ISSUES IN COURT. THE FAILURE TO REACH AN
2300AGREEMENT, OR THE FAILURE OF A PARTY TO PARTICIPATE IN
2301THE PROCESS, RESULTS IN THE MEDIATOR DECLARING AN
2302IMPASSE IN THE MEDIATION, AFTER WHICH THE AGGRIEVED
2303PARTY MAY PROCEED TO FILE A LAWSUIT ON ALL
2304OUTSTANDING, UNSETTLED DISPUTES. IF YOU HAVE FAILED OR
2305REFUSED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE ENTIRE MEDIATION
2306PROCESS, YOU WILL NOT BE ENTITLED TO RECOVER
2307ATTORNEY'S FEES IF YOU PREVAIL IN A SUBSEQUENT COURT
2308PROCEEDING INVOLVING THE SAME DISPUTE.
2309
2310THE AGGRIEVED PARTY HAS SELECTED FROM A LIST OF
2311ELIGIBLE, QUALIFIED MEDIATORS AT LEAST FIVE CERTIFIED
2312MEDIATORS WHO THE AGGRIEVED PARTY BELIEVES TO BE
2313NEUTRAL AND QUALIFIED TO MEDIATE THE DISPUTE. YOU HAVE
2314THE RIGHT TO SELECT ANY ONE OF THESE MEDIATORS. THE
2315FACT THAT ONE PARTY MAY BE FAMILIAR WITH ONE OR MORE
2316OF THE LISTED MEDIATORS DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE
2317MEDIATOR CANNOT ACT AS A NEUTRAL AND IMPARTIAL
2318FACILITATOR. THE NAMES OF THE MEDIATORS THAT THE
2319AGGRIEVED PARTY HEREBY SUBMITS TO YOU FROM WHOM YOU
2320MAY CHOOSE ONE, AND THEIR CURRENT ADDRESSES, TELEPHONE
2321NUMBERS, AND HOURLY RATES ARE AS FOLLOWS:
2322
2323(LIST THE NAMES, ADDRESSES, TELEPHONE NUMBERS, AND
2324HOURLY RATES OF THE MEDIATORS. OTHER PERTINENT
2325INFORMATION ABOUT THE BACKGROUND OF THE MEDIATORS MAY
2326BE INCLUDED AS AN ATTACHMENT.)
2327
2328YOU MAY CONTACT THE OFFICES OF THESE MEDIATORS TO
2329CONFIRM THAT EACH OF THE ABOVE-LISTED MEDIATORS WILL
2330BE NEUTRAL AND WILL NOT SHOW ANY FAVORITISM TOWARD
2331EITHER PARTY. UNLESS OTHERWISE AGREED TO BY THE
2332PARTIES, PART IV OF CHAPTER 720, FLORIDA STATUTES,
2333REQUIRES THAT THE PARTIES SHARE THE COSTS OF PRESUIT
2334MEDIATION EQUALLY, INCLUDING THE FEE CHARGED BY THE
2335MEDIATOR. AN AVERAGE MEDIATION MAY REQUIRE 3 TO 4
2336HOURS OF THE MEDIATOR'S TIME, INCLUDING SOME
2337PREPARATION TIME, AND THE PARTIES WOULD NEED TO
2338EQUALLY SHARE THE MEDIATOR'S FEES AS WELL AS BE
2339RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL OF THEIR OWN ATTORNEY'S FEES IF
2340THEY CHOOSE TO EMPLOY AN ATTORNEY IN CONNECTION WITH
2341THE MEDIATION. HOWEVER, USE OF AN ATTORNEY IS NOT
2342REQUIRED AND IS AT THE OPTION OF EACH PARTY. THE
2343MEDIATORS MAY REQUIRE THE ADVANCE PAYMENT OF SOME OR
2344ALL OF THE ANTICIPATED FEES. THE AGGRIEVED PARTY
2345HEREBY AGREES TO PAY OR PREPAY ONE-HALF OF THE
2346SELECTED MEDIATOR'S ESTIMATED FEES AND TO FORWARD THIS
2347AMOUNT OR SUCH OTHER REASONABLE ADVANCE DEPOSITS AS
2348THE MEDIATOR REQUIRES FOR THIS PURPOSE UPON THE
2349SELECTION OF THE MEDIATOR. ANY FUNDS DEPOSITED WILL BE
2350RETURNED TO YOU IF THESE FUNDS ARE IN EXCESS OF YOUR
2351SHARE OF THE MEDIATOR FEES INCURRED.
2352
2353TO BEGIN YOUR PARTICIPATION IN PRESUIT MEDIATION TO
2354TRY TO RESOLVE THE DISPUTE WITH YOU AND AVOID FURTHER
2355LEGAL ACTION, PLEASE SIGN BELOW AND CLEARLY INDICATE
2356WHICH MEDIATOR IS ACCEPTABLE TO YOU FROM THE FIVE
2357MEDIATORS LISTED BY THE AGGRIEVED PARTY ABOVE.
2358
2359YOU MUST RESPOND IN WRITING TO THIS STATUTORY NOTICE
2360OF PRESUIT MEDIATION WITHIN 20 DAYS. IN YOUR RESPONSE
2361YOU MUST PROVIDE A LISTING OF AT LEAST THREE DATES AND
2362TIMES IN WHICH YOU ARE AVAILABLE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE
2363MEDIATION THAT ARE WITHIN 90 DAYS AFTER THE POSTMARKED
2364DATE OF THE MAILING OF THIS NOTICE OF PRESUIT
2365MEDIATION OR WITHIN 90 DAYS AFTER THE DATE YOU WERE
2366SERVED WITH A COPY OF THIS NOTICE. THE AGGRIEVED PARTY
2367WILL THEN ASK THE MEDIATOR TO SCHEDULE A MUTUALLY
2368CONVENIENT TIME AND PLACE FOR THE MEDIATION CONFERENCE
2369TO BE HELD. IF YOU DO NOT PROVIDE A LIST OF AVAILABLE
2370DATES AND TIMES, THE MEDIATOR IS AUTHORIZED TO
2371SCHEDULE A MEDIATION CONFERENCE WITHOUT TAKING YOUR
2372SCHEDULE AND CONVENIENCE INTO CONSIDERATION. IN NO
2373EVENT SHALL THE MEDIATION CONFERENCE BE LATER THAN 90
2374DAYS AFTER THE NOTICE OF PRESUIT MEDIATION WAS FIRST
2375SERVED UNLESS ALL PARTIES MUTUALLY AGREE OTHERWISE. IN
2376THE EVENT THAT YOU FAIL TO RESPOND WITHIN 20 DAYS
2377AFTER THE DATE OF THIS NOTICE, FAIL TO PROVIDE THE
2378MEDIATOR WITH DATES AND TIMES IN WHICH YOU ARE
2379AVAILABLE FOR THE MEDIATION CONFERENCE, FAIL TO AGREE
2380TO ONE OF THE MEDIATORS THAT THE AGGRIEVED PARTY HAS
2381LISTED, FAIL TO PAY OR PREPAY TO THE MEDIATOR ONE-HALF
2382OF THE COSTS INVOLVED, OR FAIL TO APPEAR AND
2383PARTICIPATE AT THE SCHEDULED MEDIATION, THE AGGRIEVED
2384PARTY WILL BE AUTHORIZED TO PROCEED WITH THE FILING OF
2385A LAWSUIT AGAINST YOU WITHOUT FURTHER NOTICE. IN ANY
2386SUBSEQUENT COURT ACTION, THE AGGRIEVED PARTY MAY SEEK
2387AN AWARD OF REASONABLE ATTORNEY'S FEES AND COSTS
2388INCURRED IN ATTEMPTING TO OBTAIN MEDIATION.
2389
2390PLEASE GIVE THIS MATTER YOUR IMMEDIATE ATTENTION. BY
2391LAW, YOUR RESPONSE MUST BE MAILED BY CERTIFIED, FIRST-
2392CLASS MAIL, RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED, TO THE AGGRIEVED
2393PARTY LISTED ABOVE AT THE ADDRESS SHOWN ON THIS NOTICE
2394AND POSTMARKED NO MORE THAN 20 DAYS AFTER THE DATE OF
2395THE POSTMARKED DATE FOR THIS NOTICE OR WITHIN 20 DAYS
2396AFTER THE DATE UPON WHICH YOU WERE SERVED WITH A COPY
2397OF THIS NOTICE.
2398
2399________________________
2400SIGNATURE OF AGGRIEVED PARTY
2401
2402______________________
2403PRINTED NAME OF AGGRIEVED PARTY
2404
2405RESPONDING PARTY: YOUR SIGNATURE BELOW INDICATES YOUR
2406ACCEPTANCE OF THE AGREEMENT TO MEDIATE.
2407
2408
AGREEMENT TO MEDIATE
2409
2410THE UNDERSIGNED HEREBY AGREES TO PARTICIPATE IN
2411PRESUIT MEDIATION AND AGREES TO ATTEND A MEDIATION
2412CONDUCTED BY THE MEDIATOR LISTED BELOW AS ACCEPTABLE
2413TO MEDIATE THIS DISPUTE:
2414
2415(LIST ONE ACCEPTABLE MEDIATOR FROM THOSE LISTED BY THE
2416AGGRIEVED PARTY.)
2417
2418THE UNDERSIGNED HEREBY REPRESENTS THAT HE OR SHE CAN
2419ATTEND AND PARTICIPATE IN THE PRESUIT MEDIATION AT THE
2420FOLLOWING DATES AND TIMES:
2421
2422(LIST AT LEAST THREE AVAILABLE DATES AND TIMES WITHIN
2423THE 90-DAY TIME LIMIT DESCRIBED ABOVE.)
2424
2425I/WE FURTHER AGREE TO PAY OR PREPAY ONE-HALF OF THE
2426MEDIATOR'S FEES AND TO FORWARD SUCH ADVANCE DEPOSITS
2427AS THE MEDIATOR MAY REQUIRE FOR THIS PURPOSE.
2428
2429______________________________
2430SIGNATURE OF RESPONDING PARTY #1
2431______________________________
2432TELEPHONE CONTACT INFORMATION
2433
2434______________________________
2435SIGNATURE AND TELEPHONE CONTACT INFORMATION OF
2436RESPONDING PARTY #2, IF APPLICABLE. IF THE PROPERTY IS
2437OWNED BY MORE THAN ONE PERSON, ALL OWNERS MUST SIGN,
2438OR A PERSON MAY SIGN WHO IS ACTING UNDER AUTHORITY OF
2439A VALID POWER OF ATTORNEY GRANTED BY AN OWNER.
2440
2441     (2)(a)  Service of the notice of presuit mediation shall be
2442effected either by personal service, as provided in chapter 48,
2443or by certified mail, return receipt requested, in a letter in
2444substantial conformity with the form provided in subsection (1),
2445with an additional copy being sent by regular first-class mail,
2446to the address of the responding party as it last appears on the
2447books and records of the association or, if not available, then
2448as it last appears in the official records of the county
2449property appraiser where the parcel in dispute is located. The
2450responding party has 20 days after the postmarked date of the
2451mailing of the statutory notice or the date the responding party
2452is served with a copy of the notice to serve a written response
2453to the aggrieved party. The response shall be served by
2454certified mail, return receipt requested, with an additional
2455copy being sent by regular first-class mail, to the address
2456shown on the statutory notice. The date of the postmark on the
2457envelope for the response shall constitute the date that the
2458response is served. Once the parties have agreed on a mediator,
2459the mediator may schedule or reschedule the mediation for a date
2460and time mutually convenient to the parties within 90 days after
2461the date of service of the statutory notice. After such 90-day
2462period, the mediator may reschedule the mediation only upon the
2463mutual written agreement of all the parties.
2464     (b)  The parties shall share the costs of presuit mediation
2465equally, including the fee charged by the mediator, if any,
2466unless the parties agree otherwise, and the mediator may require
2467advance payment of his or her reasonable fees and costs. Each
2468party shall be responsible for that party's own attorney's fees
2469if a party chooses to be represented by an attorney at the
2470mediation.
2471     (c)  The party responding to the aggrieved party may
2472provide a notice of opting out under s. 720.506 and demand
2473arbitration or may sign the agreement to mediate included in the
2474notice of presuit mediation. A responding party signing the
2475agreement to mediate must clearly indicate the name of the
2476mediator who is acceptable from the five names provided by the
2477aggrieved party and must provide a list of dates and times in
2478which the responding party is available to participate in the
2479mediation within 90 days after the date the responding party was
2480served, either by process server or by certified mail, with the
2481statutory notice of presuit mediation.
2482     (d)  The mediator who has been selected and agreed to
2483mediate must schedule the mediation conference at a mutually
2484convenient time and place within that 90-day period; but, if the
2485responding party does not provide a list of available dates and
2486times, the mediator is authorized to schedule a mediation
2487conference without taking the responding party's schedule and
2488convenience into consideration. Within 10 days after the
2489designation of the mediator, the mediator shall coordinate with
2490the parties and notify the parties in writing of the date, time,
2491and place of the mediation conference.
2492     (e)  The mediation conference must be held on the scheduled
2493date and may be rescheduled if a rescheduled date is approved by
2494the mediator. However, in no event shall the mediation be held
2495later than 90 days after the notice of presuit mediation was
2496first served, unless all parties mutually agree in writing
2497otherwise. If the presuit mediation is not completed within the
2498required time limits, the mediator shall declare an impasse
2499unless the mediation date is extended by mutual written
2500agreement by all parties and approved by the mediator.
2501     (f)  If the responding party fails to respond within 20
2502days after the date of service of the statutory notice of
2503presuit mediation, fails to agree to at least one of the
2504mediators listed by the aggrieved party in the notice, fails to
2505pay or prepay to the mediator one-half of the costs of the
2506mediator, or fails to appear and participate at the scheduled
2507mediation, the aggrieved party shall be authorized to proceed
2508with the filing of a lawsuit without further notice.
2509     (g)1.  The failure of any party to respond to the statutory
2510notice of presuit mediation within 20 days, the failure to agree
2511upon a mediator, the failure to provide a listing of dates and
2512times in which the responding party is available to participate
2513in the mediation within 90 days after the date the responding
2514party was served with the statutory notice of presuit mediation,
2515the failure to make payment of fees and costs within the time
2516established by the mediator, or the failure to appear for a
2517scheduled mediation session without the approval of the mediator
2518shall in each instance constitute a failure or refusal to
2519participate in the mediation process and shall operate as an
2520impasse in the presuit mediation by such party, entitling the
2521other party to file a lawsuit in court and to seek an award of
2522the costs and attorney's fees associated with the mediation.
2523     2.  Persons who fail or refuse to participate in the entire
2524mediation process may not recover attorney's fees and costs in
2525subsequent litigation relating to the same dispute between the
2526same parties. If any presuit mediation session cannot be
2527scheduled and conducted within 90 days after the offer to
2528participate in mediation was filed, through no fault of either
2529party, then an impasse shall be deemed to have occurred unless
2530the parties mutually agree in writing to extend this deadline.
2531In the event of such impasse, each party shall be responsible
2532for its own costs and attorney's fees and one-half of any
2533mediator fees and filing fees, and either party may file a
2534lawsuit in court regarding the dispute.
2535     720.506  Opt-out of presuit mediation.--A party served with
2536a notice of presuit mediation under s. 720.505 may opt out of
2537presuit mediation and demand that the dispute proceed under
2538nonbinding arbitration as follows:
2539     (1)  In lieu of a response to the notice of presuit
2540mediation as required under s. 720.505, the responding party may
2541serve upon the aggrieved party, in the same manner as the
2542response to a notice for presuit mediation under s. 720.505, a
2543notice of opting out of mediation and demand that the dispute
2544instead proceed to presuit arbitration under s. 720.507.
2545     (2)  The aggrieved party shall be relieved from having to
2546satisfy the requirements of s. 720.504 as a condition precedent
2547to filing the demand for presuit arbitration.
2548     (3)  Except as otherwise provided in this part, the choice
2549of which presuit alternative dispute resolution procedure is
2550used shall be at the election of the aggrieved party who first
2551initiated such proceeding after complying with the provisions of
2552s. 720.504.
2553     720.507  Presuit arbitration.--
2554     (1)  Disputes between an association and a parcel owner or
2555owners or between parcel owners are subject to a demand for
2556presuit arbitration pursuant to this section before the dispute
2557may be filed in court. A party who elects to use the presuit
2558arbitration procedure under this part shall serve on the
2559responding party a written notice of presuit arbitration in
2560substantially the following form:
2561
2562
STATUTORY NOTICE OF PRESUIT ARBITRATION
2563
2564THE ALLEGED AGGRIEVED PARTY, ____________________,
2565HEREBY DEMANDS THAT ____________________, AS THE
2566RESPONDING PARTY, ENGAGE IN MANDATORY PRESUIT
2567ARBITRATION IN CONNECTION WITH THE FOLLOWING
2568DISPUTE(S) WITH YOU, WHICH BY STATUTE ARE OF A TYPE
2569THAT ARE SUBJECT TO PRESUIT ARBITRATION:
2570
2571(LIST SPECIFIC NATURE OF THE DISPUTE OR DISPUTES TO BE
2572ARBITRATED AND THE AUTHORITY SUPPORTING A FINDING OF A
2573VIOLATION AS TO EACH DISPUTE, INCLUDING, BUT NOT
2574LIMITED TO, ALL APPLICABLE PROVISIONS OF THE GOVERNING
2575DOCUMENTS BELIEVED TO APPLY TO THE DISPUTE BETWEEN THE
2576PARTIES.)
2577
2578PURSUANT TO PART IV OF CHAPTER 720, FLORIDA STATUTES,
2579THIS DEMAND TO RESOLVE THE DISPUTE THROUGH PRESUIT
2580ARBITRATION IS REQUIRED BEFORE A LAWSUIT CAN BE FILED
2581CONCERNING THE DISPUTE. PURSUANT TO FLORIDA STATUTES,
2582THE PARTIES ARE REQUIRED TO ENGAGE IN PRESUIT
2583ARBITRATION WITH A NEUTRAL THIRD-PARTY ARBITRATOR IN
2584ORDER TO ATTEMPT TO RESOLVE THIS DISPUTE WITHOUT COURT
2585ACTION, AND THE AGGRIEVED PARTY DEMANDS THAT YOU
2586PARTICIPATE IN THIS PROCESS. IF YOU FAIL TO
2587PARTICIPATE IN THE ARBITRATION PROCESS, A LAWSUIT MAY
2588BE BROUGHT AGAINST YOU IN COURT WITHOUT FURTHER
2589WARNING.
2590
2591THE PROCESS OF ARBITRATION INVOLVES A NEUTRAL THIRD
2592PERSON WHO CONSIDERS THE LAW AND FACTS PRESENTED BY
2593THE PARTIES AND RENDERS A WRITTEN DECISION CALLED AN
2594"ARBITRATION AWARD." PURSUANT TO SECTION 720.507,
2595FLORIDA STATUTES, THE ARBITRATION AWARD SHALL BE FINAL
2596UNLESS A LAWSUIT IS FILED IN A COURT OF COMPETENT
2597JURISDICTION FOR THE JUDICIAL CIRCUIT IN WHICH THE
2598PARCEL(S) GOVERNED BY THE HOMEOWNERS' ASSOCIATION
2599IS/ARE LOCATED WITHIN 30 DAYS AFTER THE DATE OF THE
2600ARBITRATION AWARD.
2601
2602IF A SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT IS REACHED BEFORE THE
2603ARBITRATION AWARD, IT SHALL BE REDUCED TO WRITING AND
2604BECOME A BINDING AND ENFORCEABLE CONTRACT OF THE
2605PARTIES. A RESOLUTION OF ONE OR MORE DISPUTES IN THIS
2606FASHION AVOIDS THE NEED TO ARBITRATE THESE ISSUES OR
2607TO LITIGATE THESE ISSUES IN COURT AND SHALL BE THE
2608SAME AS A SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT REACHED BETWEEN THE
2609PARTIES UNDER SECTION 720.505, FLORIDA STATUTES. THE
2610FAILURE OF A PARTY TO PARTICIPATE IN THE ARBITRATION
2611PROCESS MAY RESULT IN THE ARBITRATOR ISSUING AN
2612ARBITRATION AWARD BY DEFAULT IN THE ARBITRATION. IF
2613YOU HAVE FAILED OR REFUSED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE
2614ENTIRE ARBITRATION PROCESS, YOU WILL NOT BE ENTITLED
2615TO RECOVER ATTORNEY'S FEES IF YOU PREVAIL IN A
2616SUBSEQUENT COURT PROCEEDING INVOLVING THE SAME
2617DISPUTE.
2618
2619THE AGGRIEVED PARTY HAS SELECTED AT LEAST FIVE
2620ARBITRATORS WHO THE AGGRIEVED PARTY BELIEVES TO BE
2621NEUTRAL AND QUALIFIED TO ARBITRATE THE DISPUTE. YOU
2622HAVE THE RIGHT TO SELECT ANY ONE OF THE ARBITRATORS.
2623THE FACT THAT ONE PARTY MAY BE FAMILIAR WITH ONE OR
2624MORE OF THE LISTED ARBITRATORS DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE
2625ARBITRATOR CANNOT ACT AS A NEUTRAL AND IMPARTIAL
2626ARBITRATOR. ANY ARBITRATOR WHO CANNOT ACT IN THIS
2627CAPACITY IS REQUIRED ETHICALLY TO DECLINE TO ACCEPT
2628ENGAGEMENT. THE NAMES OF THE FIVE ARBITRATORS THAT THE
2629AGGRIEVED PARTY HAS CHOSEN FROM WHICH YOU MAY SELECT
2630ONE, AND THEIR CURRENT ADDRESSES, TELEPHONE NUMBERS,
2631AND HOURLY RATES, ARE AS FOLLOWS:
2632
2633(LIST THE NAMES, ADDRESSES, TELEPHONE NUMBERS, AND
2634HOURLY RATES OF AT LEAST FIVE ARBITRATORS.)
2635
2636YOU MAY CONTACT THE OFFICES OF THESE ARBITRATORS TO
2637CONFIRM THAT THE LISTED ARBITRATORS WILL BE NEUTRAL
2638AND WILL NOT SHOW ANY FAVORITISM TOWARD EITHER PARTY.
2639
2640UNLESS OTHERWISE AGREED TO BY THE PARTIES, PART IV OF
2641CHAPTER 720, FLORIDA STATUTES, REQUIRES THAT THE
2642PARTIES SHARE THE COSTS OF PRESUIT ARBITRATION
2643EQUALLY, INCLUDING THE FEE CHARGED BY THE ARBITRATOR.
2644THE PARTIES SHALL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR OWN
2645ATTORNEY'S FEES IF THEY CHOOSE TO EMPLOY AN ATTORNEY
2646IN CONNECTION WITH THE ARBITRATION. HOWEVER, USE OF AN
2647ATTORNEY TO REPRESENT YOU FOR THE ARBITRATION IS NOT
2648REQUIRED. THE ARBITRATOR SELECTED MAY REQUIRE THE
2649ADVANCE PAYMENT OF SOME OR ALL OF THE ANTICIPATED
2650FEES. THE AGGRIEVED PARTY HEREBY AGREES TO PAY OR
2651PREPAY ONE-HALF OF THE SELECTED ARBITRATOR'S ESTIMATED
2652FEES AND TO FORWARD THIS AMOUNT OR SUCH OTHER
2653REASONABLE ADVANCE DEPOSITS AS THE ARBITRATOR WHO IS
2654SELECTED REQUIRES FOR THIS PURPOSE. ANY FUNDS
2655DEPOSITED WILL BE RETURNED TO YOU IF THESE FUNDS ARE
2656IN EXCESS OF YOUR SHARE OF THE FEES INCURRED.
2657
2658PLEASE SIGN THE AGREEMENT TO ARBITRATE BELOW AND
2659CLEARLY INDICATE THE NAME OF THE ARBITRATOR WHO IS
2660ACCEPTABLE TO YOU FROM THE NAMES LISTED BY THE
2661AGGRIEVED PARTY.
2662
2663YOU MUST RESPOND IN WRITING TO THIS STATUTORY NOTICE
2664WITHIN 20 DAYS AFTER THE DATE THAT THE NOTICE OF
2665PRESUIT ARBITRATION WAS PERSONALLY SERVED ON YOU OR
2666THE POSTMARKED DATE THAT THIS NOTICE OF PRESUIT
2667ARBITRATION WAS SENT TO YOU BY CERTIFIED MAIL. YOU
2668MUST ALSO PROVIDE A LIST OF AT LEAST THREE DATES AND
2669TIMES IN WHICH YOU ARE AVAILABLE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE
2670ARBITRATION THAT ARE WITHIN 90 DAYS AFTER THE DATE YOU
2671WERE PERSONALLY SERVED OR WITHIN 90 DAYS AFTER THE
2672POSTMARKED DATE OF THE CERTIFIED MAILING OF THIS
2673STATUTORY NOTICE OF PRESUIT ARBITRATION. A COPY OF
2674THIS NOTICE AND YOUR RESPONSE WILL BE PROVIDED BY THE
2675AGGRIEVED PARTY TO THE ARBITRATOR SELECTED, AND THE
2676ARBITRATOR WILL SCHEDULE A MUTUALLY CONVENIENT TIME
2677AND PLACE FOR THE ARBITRATION CONFERENCE TO BE HELD.
2678IF YOU DO NOT PROVIDE A LIST OF AVAILABLE DATES AND
2679TIMES, THE ARBITRATOR IS AUTHORIZED TO SCHEDULE AN
2680ARBITRATION CONFERENCE WITHOUT TAKING YOUR SCHEDULE
2681AND CONVENIENCE INTO CONSIDERATION. THE ARBITRATION
2682CONFERENCE MUST BE HELD ON THE SCHEDULED DATE, OR ANY
2683RESCHEDULED DATE APPROVED BY THE ARBITRATOR. IN NO
2684EVENT SHALL THE ARBITRATION CONFERENCE BE LATER THAN
268590 DAYS AFTER NOTICE OF THE PRESUIT ARBITRATION WAS
2686FIRST SERVED, UNLESS ALL PARTIES MUTUALLY AGREE IN
2687WRITING OTHERWISE. IF THE ARBITRATION IS NOT COMPLETED
2688WITHIN THE REQUIRED TIME LIMITS, THE ARBITRATOR SHALL
2689ISSUE AN ARBITRATION AWARD, UNLESS THE HEARING IS
2690EXTENDED BY MUTUAL WRITTEN AGREEMENT OF THE PARTIES
2691AND APPROVED BY THE ARBITRATOR. IN THE EVENT THAT YOU
2692FAIL TO RESPOND WITHIN 20 DAYS AFTER THE DATE YOU WERE
2693SERVED WITH A COPY OF THIS NOTICE, FAIL TO PROVIDE THE
2694ARBITRATOR WITH DATES AND TIMES IN WHICH YOU ARE
2695AVAILABLE FOR THE ARBITRATION CONFERENCE, FAIL TO
2696AGREE TO ONE OF THE ARBITRATORS THAT THE AGGRIEVED
2697PARTY HAS NAMED, FAIL TO PAY OR PREPAY TO THE
2698ARBITRATOR ONE-HALF OF THE COSTS INVOLVED AS REQUIRED,
2699OR FAIL TO APPEAR AND PARTICIPATE AT THE SCHEDULED
2700ARBITRATION CONFERENCE, THE AGGRIEVED PARTY MAY
2701REQUEST THE ARBITRATOR TO ISSUE AN ARBITRATION AWARD.
2702IN ANY SUBSEQUENT COURT ACTION, THE AGGRIEVED PARTY
2703SHALL BE ENTITLED TO RECOVER AN AWARD OF REASONABLE
2704ATTORNEY'S FEES AND COSTS, INCLUDING ANY FEES PAID TO
2705THE ARBITRATOR, INCURRED IN OBTAINING AN ARBITRATION
2706AWARD PURSUANT TO SECTION 720.507, FLORIDA STATUTES.
2707
2708PLEASE GIVE THIS MATTER YOUR IMMEDIATE ATTENTION. BY
2709LAW, YOUR RESPONSE MUST BE POSTMARKED AND MAILED BY
2710CERTIFIED, FIRST-CLASS MAIL, RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED,
2711TO THE ADDRESS SHOWN ON THIS NOTICE OF PRESUIT
2712ARBITRATION.
2713
2714_________________________
2715SIGNATURE OF AGGRIEVED PARTY
2716
2717______________________
2718PRINTED NAME OF AGGRIEVED PARTY
2719
2720RESPONDING PARTY: YOUR SIGNATURE BELOW INDICATES YOUR
2721ACCEPTANCE OF THE AGREEMENT TO ARBITRATE.
2722
2723
AGREEMENT TO ARBITRATE
2724
2725THE UNDERSIGNED HEREBY AGREES TO PARTICIPATE IN
2726PRESUIT ARBITRATION AND AGREES TO ATTEND AN
2727ARBITRATION CONDUCTED BY THE FOLLOWING ARBITRATOR
2728LISTED BELOW AS SOMEONE WHO WOULD BE ACCEPTABLE TO
2729ARBITRATE THIS DISPUTE:
2730
2731(IN YOUR RESPONSE, SELECT THE NAME OF ONE ARBITRATOR
2732THAT IS ACCEPTABLE TO YOU FROM THOSE ARBITRATORS
2733LISTED BY THE AGGRIEVED PARTY.)
2734
2735THE UNDERSIGNED HEREBY REPRESENTS THAT HE OR SHE IS
2736AVAILABLE AND ABLE TO ATTEND AND PARTICIPATE IN THE
2737PRESUIT ARBITRATION CONFERENCE AT THE FOLLOWING DATES
2738AND TIMES:
2739
2740(LIST ALL AVAILABLE DATES AND TIMES, OF WHICH THERE
2741MUST BE AT LEAST THREE, WITHIN 90 DAYS AFTER THE DATE
2742ON WHICH YOU WERE SERVED, EITHER BY PROCESS SERVER OR
2743BY CERTIFIED MAIL, WITH THE NOTICE OF PRESUIT
2744ARBITRATION.)
2745
2746I/WE FURTHER AGREE TO PAY OR PREPAY ONE-HALF OF THE
2747ARBITRATOR'S FEES AND TO FORWARD SUCH ADVANCE DEPOSITS
2748AS THE ARBITRATOR MAY REQUIRE FOR THIS PURPOSE.
2749
2750______________________________
2751SIGNATURE OF RESPONDING PARTY #1
2752______________________________
2753TELEPHONE CONTACT INFORMATION
2754
2755______________________________
2756SIGNATURE AND TELEPHONE CONTACT INFORMATION OF
2757RESPONDING PARTY #2, IF APPLICABLE. IF THE PROPERTY IS
2758OWNED BY MORE THAN ONE PERSON, ALL OWNERS MUST SIGN,
2759OR A PERSON MAY SIGN WHO IS ACTING UNDER AUTHORITY OF
2760A VALID POWER OF ATTORNEY GRANTED BY AN OWNER.
2761
2762     (2)(a)  Service of the notice of presuit arbitration shall
2763be effected either by personal service, as provided in chapter
276448, or by certified mail, return receipt requested, in a letter
2765in substantial conformity with the form provided in subsection
2766(1), with an additional copy being sent by regular first-class
2767mail, to the address of the responding party as it last appears
2768on the books and records of the association or, if not
2769available, the last address as it appears on the official
2770records of the county property appraiser for the county in which
2771the property is situated that is subject to the association
2772documents. The responding party has 20 days after the postmarked
2773date of the certified mailing of the statutory notice of presuit
2774arbitration or the date the responding party is personally
2775served with the statutory notice of presuit arbitration to serve
2776a written response to the aggrieved party. The response shall be
2777served by certified mail, return receipt requested, with an
2778additional copy being sent by regular first-class mail, to the
2779address shown on the statutory notice of presuit arbitration.
2780The postmarked date on the envelope of the response shall
2781constitute the date the response was served.
2782     (b)  The parties shall share the costs of presuit
2783arbitration equally, including the fee charged by the
2784arbitrator, if any, unless the parties agree otherwise, and the
2785arbitrator may require advance payment of his or her reasonable
2786fees and costs. Each party shall be responsible for that party's
2787own attorney's fees if a party chooses to be represented by an
2788attorney for the arbitration proceedings.
2789     (c)1.  The party responding to the aggrieved party must
2790sign the agreement to arbitrate included in the notice of
2791presuit arbitration and clearly indicate the name of the
2792arbitrator who is acceptable of those arbitrators listed by the
2793aggrieved party. The responding party must provide a list of at
2794least three dates and times in which the responding party is
2795available to participate in the arbitration conference within 90
2796days after the date the responding party was served with the
2797statutory notice of presuit arbitration.
2798     2.  The arbitrator must schedule the arbitration conference
2799at a mutually convenient time and place, but if the responding
2800party does not provide a list of available dates and times, the
2801arbitrator is authorized to schedule an arbitration conference
2802without taking the responding party's schedule and convenience
2803into consideration. Within 10 days after the designation of the
2804arbitrator, the arbitrator shall notify the parties in writing
2805of the date, time, and place of the arbitration conference.
2806     3.  The arbitration conference must be held on the
2807scheduled date and may be rescheduled if approved by the
2808arbitrator. However, in no event shall the arbitration hearing
2809be later than 90 days after the notice of presuit arbitration
2810was first served, unless all parties mutually agree in writing
2811otherwise. If the arbitration hearing is not completed within
2812the required time limits, the arbitrator may issue an
2813arbitration award unless the time for the hearing is extended as
2814provided herein.
2815     4.  If the responding party fails to respond within 20 days
2816after the date of statutory notice of presuit arbitration, fails
2817to agree to at least one of the arbitrators that have been
2818listed by the aggrieved party in the presuit notice of
2819arbitration, fails to pay or prepay to the arbitrator one-half
2820of the costs involved, or fails to appear and participate at the
2821scheduled arbitration, the aggrieved party is authorized to
2822proceed with a request that the arbitrator issue an arbitration
2823award.
2824     (d)1.  The failure of any party to respond to the statutory
2825notice of presuit arbitration within 20 days, the failure to
2826select one of the arbitrators listed by the aggrieved party, the
2827failure to provide a listing of dates and times in which the
2828responding party is available to participate in the arbitration
2829conference within 90 days after the date of the responding party
2830being served with the statutory notice of presuit arbitration,
2831the failure to make payment of fees and costs as required within
2832the time established by the arbitrator, or the failure to appear
2833for an arbitration conference without the approval of the
2834arbitrator shall entitle the other party to request the
2835arbitrator to enter an arbitration award, including an award of
2836the reasonable costs and attorney's fees associated with the
2837arbitration.
2838     2.  Persons who fail or refuse to participate in the entire
2839arbitration process may not recover attorney's fees and costs in
2840any subsequent litigation proceeding relating to the same
2841dispute involving the same parties.
2842     (3)(a)  In an arbitration proceeding, the arbitrator may
2843not consider any unsuccessful mediation of the dispute.
2844     (b)  An arbitrator in a proceeding initiated pursuant to
2845this part may shorten the time for discovery or otherwise limit
2846discovery in a manner consistent with the policy goals of this
2847part to reduce the time and expense of litigating homeowners'
2848association disputes initiated pursuant to this chapter and to
2849promote an expeditious alternative dispute resolution procedure
2850for parties to such actions.
2851     (4)  At the request of any party to the arbitration, the
2852arbitrator may issue subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses
2853and the production of books, records, documents, and other
2854evidence, and any party on whose behalf a subpoena is issued may
2855apply to the court for orders compelling such attendance and
2856production. Subpoenas shall be served and are enforceable in the
2857manner provided by the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure.
2858Discovery may, at the discretion of the arbitrator, be permitted
2859in the manner provided by the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure.
2860     (5)  The final arbitration award shall be sent to the
2861parties in writing no later than 30 days after the date of the
2862arbitration hearing, absent extraordinary circumstances
2863necessitating a later filing the reasons for which shall be
2864stated in the final award if filed more than 30 days after the
2865date of the final session of the arbitration conference. An
2866agreed arbitration award is final in those disputes in which the
2867parties have mutually agreed to be bound. An arbitration award
2868decided by the arbitrator is final unless a lawsuit seeking a
2869trial de novo is filed in a court of competent jurisdiction
2870within 30 days after the date of the arbitration award. The
2871right to file for a trial de novo entitles the parties to file a
2872complaint in the appropriate trial court for a judicial
2873resolution of the dispute. The prevailing party in an
2874arbitration proceeding shall be awarded the costs of the
2875arbitration and reasonable attorney's fees in an amount
2876determined by the arbitrator.
2877     (6)  The party filing a motion for a trial de novo shall be
2878assessed the other party's arbitration costs, court costs, and
2879other reasonable costs, including attorney's fees, investigation
2880expenses, and expenses for expert or other testimony or evidence
2881incurred after the arbitration hearing, if the judgment upon the
2882trial de novo is not more favorable than the final arbitration
2883award.
2884     720.508  Rules of procedure.--
2885     (1)  Presuit mediation and presuit arbitration proceedings
2886under this part must be conducted in accordance with the
2887applicable Florida Rules of Civil Procedure and rules governing
2888mediations and arbitrations under chapter 44, except that this
2889part shall be controlling to the extent of any conflict with
2890other applicable rules or statutes. The arbitrator may shorten
2891any applicable time period and otherwise limit the scope of
2892discovery on request of the parties or within the discretion of
2893the arbitrator exercised consistent with the purpose and
2894objective of reducing the expense and expeditiously concluding
2895proceedings under this part.
2896     (2)  Presuit mediation proceedings under s. 720.505 are
2897privileged and confidential to the same extent as court-ordered
2898mediation under chapter 44. An arbitrator or judge may not
2899consider any information or evidence arising from the presuit
2900mediation proceeding except in a proceeding to impose sanctions
2901for failure to attend a presuit mediation session or to enforce
2902a mediated settlement agreement.
2903     (3)  Persons who are not parties to the dispute may not
2904attend the presuit mediation conference without consent of all
2905parties, with the exception of counsel for the parties and a
2906corporate representative designated by the association. Presuit
2907mediations under this part are not a board meeting for purposes
2908of notice and participation set forth in this chapter.
2909     (4)  Attendance at a mediation conference by the board of
2910directors shall not require notice or participation by nonboard
2911members as otherwise required by this chapter for meetings of
2912the board.
2913     (5)  Settlement agreements resulting from a mediation or
2914arbitration proceeding do not have precedential value in
2915proceedings involving parties other than those participating in
2916the mediation or arbitration.
2917     (6)  Arbitration awards by an arbitrator shall have
2918precedential value in other proceedings involving the same
2919association or with respect to the same parcel owner.
2920     720.509  Mediators and arbitrators; qualifications.--A
2921person is authorized to conduct mediation or arbitration under
2922this part if he or she has been certified as a circuit court
2923civil mediator under the requirements adopted pursuant to s.
292444.106, is a member in good standing with The Florida Bar, and
2925otherwise meets all other requirements imposed by chapter 44.
2926     720.510  Enforcement of mediation agreement or arbitration
2927award.--
2928     (1)  A mediation settlement may be enforced through the
2929county or circuit court, as applicable, and any costs and
2930attorney's fees incurred in the enforcement of a settlement
2931agreement reached at mediation shall be awarded to the
2932prevailing party in any enforcement action.
2933     (2)  Any party to an arbitration proceeding may enforce an
2934arbitration award by filing a petition in a court of competent
2935jurisdiction in which the homeowners' association is located.
2936The prevailing party in such proceeding shall be awarded
2937reasonable attorney's fees and costs incurred in such
2938proceeding.
2939     (3)  If a complaint is filed seeking a trial de novo, the
2940arbitration award shall be stayed and a petition to enforce the
2941award may not be granted. Such award, however, shall be
2942admissible in the court proceeding seeking a trial de novo.
2943     Section 25.  All new residential construction in any deed-
2944restricted community that requires mandatory membership in the
2945association under chapter 718, chapter 719, or chapter 720,
2946Florida Statutes, must comply with the provisions of Pub. L. No.
2947110-140, Title XIV, ss. 1402 to 1406, 15 U.S.C. ss. 8001-8005.
2948     Section 26.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2010.


CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.
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