October 20, 2019
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       Florida Senate - 2010                                     SB 398
       
       
       
       By Senator Dockery
       
       
       
       
       15-00514-10                                            2010398__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to residential properties; amending s.
    3         34.01, F.S.; correcting a cross-reference to conform
    4         to changes made by the act; amending s. 468.436, F.S.;
    5         revising a ground for disciplinary action relating to
    6         misconduct or negligence; requiring the Department of
    7         Business and Professional Regulation to enter an order
    8         permanently revoking the license of a community
    9         association manager under certain circumstances;
   10         amending s. 718.103, F.S.; revising the definition of
   11         the term “developer” to exclude a bulk assignee or
   12         bulk buyer; amending s. 718.111, F.S.; providing
   13         requirements for an association to borrow funds or
   14         commit to a line of credit, including a meeting of the
   15         board of administration and prior notice; providing
   16         requirements for association access to a unit,
   17         including prior notice; providing an exception for
   18         emergencies; amending s. 718.112, F.S.; revising
   19         notice requirements for board of administration
   20         meetings; revising requirements for the reappointment
   21         of certain board members; providing an exception to
   22         the expiration of the terms of members of certain
   23         boards; revising board eligibility requirements;
   24         revising notice requirements for board candidates;
   25         establishing requirements for newly elected board
   26         members; providing requirements for bylaw amendments
   27         by a board of administration; amending s. 718.115,
   28         F.S.; requiring that certain services obtained
   29         pursuant to a bulk contract as provided in the
   30         declaration be deemed a common expense; requiring that
   31         such contracts contain certain provisions; authorizing
   32         the cancellation of certain contracts; amending s.
   33         718.116, F.S.; authorizing association demands for
   34         assessment payments from tenants of delinquent owners
   35         during pendency of a foreclosure action of a
   36         condominium unit; providing for notice; providing for
   37         credits against rent for assessment payments by
   38         tenants; providing for eviction proceedings for
   39         nonpayment; providing for effect of provisions on
   40         rights and duties of the tenant and association;
   41         amending s. 718.1265, F.S.; limiting the exercise of
   42         specified special powers under a declared state of
   43         emergency unless a certain number of units are
   44         rendered uninhabitable by the emergency; amending s.
   45         718.301, F.S.; revising conditions under which unit
   46         owners other than the developer may elect not less
   47         than a majority of the members of the board of
   48         administration of an association; amending s. 718.303,
   49         F.S.; revising provisions relating to levy of fines;
   50         providing for suspension of certain rights of access
   51         and voting rights under certain circumstances relating
   52         to nonpayment of assessments, fines, or other charges
   53         payable to the association; amending s. 718.501, F.S.;
   54         providing for jurisdiction of the Division of Florida
   55         Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes of the
   56         department to investigate complaints concerning
   57         failure to maintain common elements; prohibiting an
   58         officer or director from acting as such for a
   59         specified period after having been found to have
   60         committed specified violations; providing for payment
   61         of restitution and costs of investigation and
   62         prosecution in certain circumstances; amending s.
   63         718.5012, F.S.; providing a responsibility of the
   64         ombudsman to prepare and adopt a “Florida Condominium
   65         Handbook”; requiring the publishing and updating of
   66         the handbook to be done in conjunction with the
   67         division; providing the purpose of the handbook;
   68         requiring the handbook to be published on the
   69         ombudsman’s Internet website; creating part VII of ch.
   70         718, F.S., relating to distressed condominium relief;
   71         creating s. 718.701, F.S.; providing a short title;
   72         creating s. 718.702, F.S.; providing legislative
   73         findings and intent; creating s. 718.703, F.S.;
   74         defining the terms “bulk assignee” and “bulk buyer”;
   75         creating s. 718.704, F.S.; providing for the
   76         assignment of developer rights to and the assumption
   77         of developer rights by a bulk assignee; specifying
   78         liabilities of bulk assignees and bulk buyers;
   79         providing exceptions; providing additional
   80         responsibilities of bulk assignees and bulk buyers;
   81         authorizing certain entities to assign developer
   82         rights to a bulk assignee; limiting the number of bulk
   83         assignees at any given time; creating s. 718.705,
   84         F.S.; providing for the transfer of control of a board
   85         of administration; providing effects of such transfer
   86         on parcels acquired by a bulk assignee; providing
   87         obligations of a bulk assignee upon the transfer of
   88         control of a board of administration; requiring that a
   89         bulk assignee certify certain information in writing;
   90         providing for the resolution of a conflict between
   91         specified provisions of state law; providing that the
   92         failure of a bulk assignee or bulk buyer to comply
   93         with specified provisions of state law results in the
   94         loss of certain protections and exemptions; creating
   95         s. 718.706, F.S.; requiring that a bulk assignee or
   96         bulk buyer file certain information with the division
   97         before offering any units for sale or lease in excess
   98         of a specified term; requiring that a copy of such
   99         information be provided to a prospective purchaser;
  100         requiring that certain contracts and disclosure
  101         statements contain specified statements; requiring
  102         that a bulk assignee or bulk buyer comply with certain
  103         disclosure requirements; prohibiting a bulk assignee
  104         from taking certain actions on behalf of an
  105         association while the bulk assignee is in control of
  106         the board of administration of the association and
  107         requiring that such bulk assignee comply with certain
  108         requirements; requiring that a bulk assignee or bulk
  109         buyer comply with certain requirements regarding
  110         certain contracts; providing unit owners with
  111         specified protections regarding certain contracts;
  112         requiring that a bulk buyer comply with certain
  113         requirements regarding the transfer of a unit;
  114         creating s. 718.707, F.S.; prohibiting a person from
  115         being classified as a bulk assignee or bulk buyer
  116         unless condominium parcels were acquired before a
  117         specified date; providing for the determination of the
  118         date of acquisition of a parcel; creating s. 718.708,
  119         F.S.; providing that the assignment of developer
  120         rights to a bulk assignee or bulk buyer does not
  121         release a developer from certain liabilities;
  122         preserving certain liabilities for certain parties;
  123         amending s. 720.302, F.S.; correcting a cross
  124         reference to conform to changes made by the act;
  125         establishing legislative intent; amending s. 720.303,
  126         F.S.; revising provisions relating to homeowners’
  127         association board meetings, inspection and copying of
  128         records, reserve accounts of budgets, and recall of
  129         directors; prohibiting a salary or compensation for
  130         certain association personnel; providing exceptions;
  131         providing requirements for the borrowing of funds or
  132         committing to a line of credit by the board; providing
  133         requirements relating to transfer fees; amending s.
  134         720.304, F.S.; revising requirements with respect to
  135         the display of flags; amending s. 720.305, F.S.;
  136         authorizing fines assessed against members which
  137         exceed a certain amount to become a lien against a
  138         parcel; amending s. 720.306, F.S.; providing
  139         requirements for secret ballots; requiring newly
  140         elected members of a board of directors to make
  141         certain certifications in writing to the association;
  142         providing for disqualification for failure to make
  143         such certifications; requiring an association to
  144         retain certifications for a specified time; amending
  145         s. 720.3085, F.S.; requiring a tenant in a unit in
  146         which the regular assessments are delinquent to pay
  147         future regular assessments to the association;
  148         requiring notice; providing for eviction by the
  149         association; specifying rights of the tenant; creating
  150         s. 720.3095, F.S.; providing requirements of
  151         maintenance and management contracts of a homeowners’
  152         association; requiring disclosures; providing a
  153         penalty; providing exceptions; creating s. 720.3096,
  154         F.S.; limiting contracts entered into by a homeowners’
  155         association; providing requirements for such
  156         contracts; repealing s. 720.311, F.S., relating to a
  157         procedure for dispute resolution in homeowners’
  158         associations; amending s. 720.401, F.S.; requiring
  159         that the disclosure summary to prospective parcel
  160         owners include additional provisions; creating part IV
  161         of ch. 720, F.S., relating to dispute resolution;
  162         creating s. 720.501, F.S.; providing a short title;
  163         creating s. 720.502, F.S.; providing legislative
  164         findings; creating s. 720.503, F.S.; specifying
  165         applicability of provisions for mediation and
  166         arbitration of disputes in homeowners’ associations;
  167         providing exceptions; providing for injunctive relief;
  168         providing for the tolling of applicable statutes of
  169         limitations; creating s. 720.504, F.S.; requiring that
  170         the notice of dispute be delivered before referral to
  171         mediation or arbitration; providing notice
  172         requirements; creating s. 720.505, F.S.; creating a
  173         statutory notice form for referral to mediation;
  174         providing delivery requirements; requiring parties to
  175         share costs; requiring the selection of a mediator and
  176         times to meet; providing penalties for failure to
  177         mediate; creating s. 720.506, F.S.; creating an opt
  178         out provision and procedures; creating s. 720.507,
  179         F.S.; creating a statutory notice form for referral to
  180         arbitration; providing delivery requirements;
  181         requiring parties to share costs; requiring the
  182         selection of an arbitrator and times to meet;
  183         providing penalties for failure to arbitrate;
  184         providing subpoena powers and requirements; providing
  185         requirements for and repercussions of subsequent
  186         judicial resolution of the dispute; creating s.
  187         720.508, F.S.; providing for rules of procedure;
  188         providing for confidentiality; providing applicability
  189         to other rules of procedure and provisions of law;
  190         specifying that arbitration awards have certain
  191         precedential value; creating s. 720.509, F.S.;
  192         specifying qualifications for mediators and
  193         arbitrators; creating s. 720.510, F.S.; providing for
  194         enforcement of mediation agreements and arbitration
  195         awards; requiring all new residential construction in
  196         a deed-restricted community that requires mandatory
  197         membership in the association under specified
  198         provisions of Florida law to comply with specified
  199         provisions of federal law; providing an effective
  200         date.
  201  
  202  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
  203  
  204         Section 1. Paragraph (d) of subsection (1) of section
  205  34.01, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  206         34.01 Jurisdiction of county court.—
  207         (1) County courts shall have original jurisdiction:
  208         (d) Of disputes occurring in the homeowners’ associations
  209  as described in part IV of chapter 720 s. 720.311(2)(a), which
  210  shall be concurrent with jurisdiction of the circuit courts.
  211         Section 2. Paragraph (b) of subsection (2) of section
  212  468.436, Florida Statutes, is amended, and subsection (6) is
  213  added to that section, to read:
  214         468.436 Disciplinary proceedings.—
  215         (2) The following acts constitute grounds for which the
  216  disciplinary actions in subsection (4) may be taken:
  217         (b)1. Violation of any provision of this part.
  218         2. Violation of any lawful order or rule rendered or
  219  adopted by the department or the council.
  220         3. Being convicted of or pleading nolo contendere to a
  221  felony in any court in the United States.
  222         4. Obtaining a license or certification or any other order,
  223  ruling, or authorization by means of fraud, misrepresentation,
  224  or concealment of material facts.
  225         5. Committing acts of gross misconduct or gross negligence
  226  in connection with the profession.
  227         6. Contracting, on behalf of an association, with any
  228  entity in which the licensee has a financial interest that is
  229  not disclosed.
  230         (6) Upon the fifth or later finding that a community
  231  association manager is guilty of any of the grounds set forth in
  232  subsection (2), or upon the third or later finding that a
  233  community association manager is guilty of a specific ground for
  234  which the disciplinary actions set forth in subsection (2) may
  235  be taken, the department’s discretion under subsection (4) shall
  236  not apply and the division shall enter an order permanently
  237  revoking the license.
  238         Section 3. Subsection (16) of section 718.103, Florida
  239  Statutes, is amended to read:
  240         718.103 Definitions.—As used in this chapter, the term:
  241         (16) “Developer” means a person who creates a condominium
  242  or offers condominium parcels for sale or lease in the ordinary
  243  course of business, but does not include:
  244         (a) An owner or lessee of a condominium or cooperative unit
  245  who has acquired the unit for his or her own occupancy;, nor
  246  does it include
  247         (b) A cooperative association which creates a condominium
  248  by conversion of an existing residential cooperative after
  249  control of the association has been transferred to the unit
  250  owners if, following the conversion, the unit owners will be the
  251  same persons who were unit owners of the cooperative and no
  252  units are offered for sale or lease to the public as part of the
  253  plan of conversion;.
  254         (c) A bulk assignee or bulk buyer as defined in s. 718.703;
  255  or
  256         (d) A state, county, or municipal entity is not a developer
  257  for any purposes under this act when it is acting as a lessor
  258  and not otherwise named as a developer in the declaration of
  259  condominium association.
  260         Section 4. Subsections (3) and (5) of section 718.111,
  261  Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
  262         718.111 The association.—
  263         (3) POWER TO MANAGE CONDOMINIUM PROPERTY AND TO CONTRACT,
  264  SUE, AND BE SUED.—
  265         (a) The association may contract, sue, or be sued with
  266  respect to the exercise or nonexercise of its powers. For these
  267  purposes, the powers of the association include, but are not
  268  limited to, the maintenance, management, and operation of the
  269  condominium property.
  270         (b) After control of the association is obtained by unit
  271  owners other than the developer, the association may institute,
  272  maintain, settle, or appeal actions or hearings in its name on
  273  behalf of all unit owners concerning matters of common interest
  274  to most or all unit owners, including, but not limited to, the
  275  common elements; the roof and structural components of a
  276  building or other improvements; mechanical, electrical, and
  277  plumbing elements serving an improvement or a building;
  278  representations of the developer pertaining to any existing or
  279  proposed commonly used facilities; and protesting ad valorem
  280  taxes on commonly used facilities and on units; and may defend
  281  actions in eminent domain or bring inverse condemnation actions.
  282         (c) If the association has the authority to maintain a
  283  class action, the association may be joined in an action as
  284  representative of that class with reference to litigation and
  285  disputes involving the matters for which the association could
  286  bring a class action. Nothing herein limits any statutory or
  287  common-law right of any individual unit owner or class of unit
  288  owners to bring any action without participation by the
  289  association which may otherwise be available.
  290         (d) The borrowing of funds or committing to a line of
  291  credit by the board of administration shall be considered a
  292  special assessment, and any meeting of the board of
  293  administration to discuss such matters must be noticed as
  294  provided in s. 718.112(2)(c). The board may not borrow funds or
  295  enter into a line of credit for any purpose unless the specific
  296  use of the funds from the loan or line of credit is set forth in
  297  the notice of meeting with the same specificity as required for
  298  a special assessment or unless the borrowing or line of credit
  299  has received the prior approval of at least two-thirds of the
  300  voting interests of the association.
  301         (5) RIGHT OF ACCESS TO UNITS.—The association has the
  302  irrevocable right of access to each unit during reasonable
  303  hours, when necessary for the maintenance, repair, or
  304  replacement of any common elements or of any portion of a unit
  305  to be maintained by the association pursuant to the declaration
  306  or as necessary to prevent damage to the common elements or to a
  307  unit or units. Except in cases of emergency, the association
  308  must give the unit owner advance written notice of not less than
  309  24 hours of its intent to access the unit and such access must
  310  be by two persons, one of whom must be a member of the board of
  311  administration or a manager or employee of the association and
  312  one of whom must be an authorized representative of the
  313  association. The identity of the authorized representative
  314  seeking access to the unit shall be provided to the unit owner
  315  prior to entering the unit.
  316         Section 5. Paragraphs (b), (c), (d), and (h) of subsection
  317  (2) of section 718.112, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
  318         718.112 Bylaws.—
  319         (2) REQUIRED PROVISIONS.—The bylaws shall provide for the
  320  following and, if they do not do so, shall be deemed to include
  321  the following:
  322         (b) Quorum; voting requirements; proxies.—
  323         1. Unless a lower number is provided in the bylaws, the
  324  percentage of voting interests required to constitute a quorum
  325  at a meeting of the members shall be a majority of the voting
  326  interests. Unless otherwise provided in this chapter or in the
  327  declaration, articles of incorporation, or bylaws, and except as
  328  provided in sub-subparagraph subparagraph (d)3.a., decisions
  329  shall be made by owners of a majority of the voting interests
  330  represented at a meeting at which a quorum is present.
  331         2. Except as specifically otherwise provided herein, after
  332  January 1, 1992, unit owners may not vote by general proxy, but
  333  may vote by limited proxies substantially conforming to a
  334  limited proxy form adopted by the division. No voting interest
  335  or consent right allocated to a unit owned by the association
  336  shall be exercised or considered for any purpose, whether for a
  337  quorum, an election, or otherwise. Limited proxies and general
  338  proxies may be used to establish a quorum. Limited proxies shall
  339  be used for votes taken to waive or reduce reserves in
  340  accordance with subparagraph (f)2.; for votes taken to waive the
  341  financial reporting requirements of s. 718.111(13); for votes
  342  taken to amend the declaration pursuant to s. 718.110; for votes
  343  taken to amend the articles of incorporation or bylaws pursuant
  344  to this section; and for any other matter for which this chapter
  345  requires or permits a vote of the unit owners. Except as
  346  provided in paragraph (d), after January 1, 1992, no proxy,
  347  limited or general, shall be used in the election of board
  348  members. General proxies may be used for other matters for which
  349  limited proxies are not required, and may also be used in voting
  350  for nonsubstantive changes to items for which a limited proxy is
  351  required and given. Notwithstanding the provisions of this
  352  subparagraph, unit owners may vote in person at unit owner
  353  meetings. Nothing contained herein shall limit the use of
  354  general proxies or require the use of limited proxies for any
  355  agenda item or election at any meeting of a timeshare
  356  condominium association.
  357         3. Any proxy given shall be effective only for the specific
  358  meeting for which originally given and any lawfully adjourned
  359  meetings thereof. In no event shall any proxy be valid for a
  360  period longer than 90 days after the date of the first meeting
  361  for which it was given. Every proxy is revocable at any time at
  362  the pleasure of the unit owner executing it.
  363         4. A member of the board of administration or a committee
  364  may submit in writing his or her agreement or disagreement with
  365  any action taken at a meeting that the member did not attend.
  366  This agreement or disagreement may not be used as a vote for or
  367  against the action taken and may not be used for the purposes of
  368  creating a quorum.
  369         5. When any of the board or committee members meet by
  370  telephone conference, those board or committee members attending
  371  by telephone conference may be counted toward obtaining a quorum
  372  and may vote by telephone. A telephone speaker must be used so
  373  that the conversation of those board or committee members
  374  attending by telephone may be heard by the board or committee
  375  members attending in person as well as by any unit owners
  376  present at a meeting.
  377         (c) Board of administration meetings.—Meetings of the board
  378  of administration at which a quorum of the members is present
  379  shall be open to all unit owners. Any unit owner may tape record
  380  or videotape meetings of the board of administration. The right
  381  to attend such meetings includes the right to speak at such
  382  meetings with reference to all designated agenda items. The
  383  division shall adopt reasonable rules governing the tape
  384  recording and videotaping of the meeting. The association may
  385  adopt written reasonable rules governing the frequency,
  386  duration, and manner of unit owner statements. Adequate notice
  387  of all meetings, which notice shall specifically incorporate an
  388  identification of agenda items, shall be posted conspicuously on
  389  the condominium property at least 48 continuous hours preceding
  390  the meeting except in an emergency. If 20 percent of the voting
  391  interests petition the board to address an item of business, the
  392  board shall at its next regular board meeting or at a special
  393  meeting of the board, but not later than 60 days after the
  394  receipt of the petition, place the item on the agenda. Any item
  395  not included on the notice may be taken up on an emergency basis
  396  by at least a majority plus one of the members of the board.
  397  Such emergency action shall be noticed and ratified at the next
  398  regular meeting of the board. However, written notice of any
  399  meeting at which nonemergency special assessments, or at which
  400  amendment to rules regarding unit use, will be considered shall
  401  be mailed, delivered, or electronically transmitted to the unit
  402  owners and posted conspicuously on the condominium property not
  403  less than 14 days prior to the meeting. Evidence of compliance
  404  with this 14-day notice shall be made by an affidavit executed
  405  by the person providing the notice and filed among the official
  406  records of the association. Upon notice to the unit owners, the
  407  board shall by duly adopted rule designate a specific location
  408  on the condominium property or association property upon which
  409  all notices of board meetings shall be posted. If there is no
  410  condominium property or association property upon which notices
  411  can be posted, notices of board meetings shall be mailed,
  412  delivered, or electronically transmitted at least 14 days before
  413  the meeting to the owner of each unit. In lieu of or in addition
  414  to the physical posting of notice of any meeting of the board of
  415  administration on the condominium property, the association may,
  416  by reasonable rule, adopt a procedure for conspicuously posting
  417  and repeatedly broadcasting the notice and the agenda on a
  418  closed-circuit cable television system serving the condominium
  419  association. However, if broadcast notice is used in lieu of a
  420  notice posted physically on the condominium property, the notice
  421  and agenda must be broadcast at least four times every broadcast
  422  hour of each day that a posted notice is otherwise required
  423  under this section. When broadcast notice is provided, the
  424  notice and agenda must be broadcast in a manner and for a
  425  sufficient continuous length of time so as to allow an average
  426  reader to observe the notice and read and comprehend the entire
  427  content of the notice and the agenda. Notice of any meeting in
  428  which regular or special assessments against unit owners are to
  429  be considered for any reason shall specifically state that
  430  assessments will be considered and the nature of, the actual
  431  estimated cost of, and a description of the purposes for such
  432  assessments. Meetings of a committee to take final action on
  433  behalf of the board or make recommendations to the board
  434  regarding the association budget are subject to the provisions
  435  of this paragraph. Meetings of a committee that does not take
  436  final action on behalf of the board or make recommendations to
  437  the board regarding the association budget are subject to the
  438  provisions of this section, unless those meetings are exempted
  439  from this section by the bylaws of the association.
  440  Notwithstanding any other law, the requirement that board
  441  meetings and committee meetings be open to the unit owners is
  442  inapplicable to meetings between the board or a committee and
  443  the association’s attorney, with respect to proposed or pending
  444  litigation, when the meeting is held for the purpose of seeking
  445  or rendering legal advice.
  446         (d) Unit owner meetings.—
  447         1. There shall be an annual meeting of the unit owners held
  448  at the location provided in the association bylaws and, if the
  449  bylaws are silent as to the location, the meeting shall be held
  450  within 45 miles of the condominium property. However, such
  451  distance requirement does not apply to an association governing
  452  a timeshare condominium. Unless the bylaws provide otherwise, a
  453  vacancy on the board caused by the expiration of a director’s
  454  term shall be filled by electing a new board member, and the
  455  election shall be by secret ballot; however, if the number of
  456  vacancies equals or exceeds the number of candidates, no
  457  election is required. Except in an association governing a
  458  timeshare condominium, the terms of all members of the board
  459  shall expire at the annual meeting and such board members may
  460  stand for reelection unless otherwise permitted by the bylaws.
  461  In the event that the bylaws permit staggered terms of no more
  462  than 2 years and upon approval of a majority of the total voting
  463  interests, the association board members may serve 2-year
  464  staggered terms. If the number no person is interested in or
  465  demonstrates an intention to run for the position of a board
  466  members member whose terms have term has expired according to
  467  the provisions of this subparagraph exceeds the number of
  468  eligible association members showing interest in or
  469  demonstrating an intention to run for the vacant positions, each
  470  such board member whose term has expired shall become eligible
  471  for reappointment be automatically reappointed to the board of
  472  administration and need not stand for reelection. In a
  473  condominium association of more than 10 units, or in a
  474  condominium association that does not include timeshare units,
  475  coowners of a unit may not serve as members of the board of
  476  directors at the same time unless they own more than one unit
  477  and are not co-occupants of a unit or unless there is an
  478  insufficient number of eligible association members showing
  479  interest in or demonstrating an intention to run for the vacant
  480  positions on the board. Any unit owner desiring to be a
  481  candidate for board membership must shall comply with sub
  482  subparagraph subparagraph 3.a. A person who has been suspended
  483  or removed by the division under this chapter, or who is
  484  delinquent in the payment of any fee, fine, or special or
  485  regular assessment as provided in paragraph (n), is not eligible
  486  for board membership. A person who has been convicted of any
  487  felony in this state or in a United States District or
  488  Territorial Court, or who has been convicted of any offense in
  489  another jurisdiction that would be considered a felony if
  490  committed in this state, is not eligible for board membership
  491  unless such felon’s civil rights have been restored for a period
  492  of no less than 5 years as of the date on which such person
  493  seeks election to the board. The validity of an action by the
  494  board is not affected if it is later determined that a member of
  495  the board is ineligible for board membership due to having been
  496  convicted of a felony.
  497         2. The bylaws shall provide the method of calling meetings
  498  of unit owners, including annual meetings. Written notice, which
  499  notice must include an agenda, shall be mailed, hand delivered,
  500  or electronically transmitted to each unit owner at least 14
  501  days prior to the annual meeting and shall be posted in a
  502  conspicuous place on the condominium property at least 14
  503  continuous days preceding the annual meeting. Upon notice to the
  504  unit owners, the board shall by duly adopted rule designate a
  505  specific location on the condominium property or association
  506  property upon which all notices of unit owner meetings shall be
  507  posted; however, if there is no condominium property or
  508  association property upon which notices can be posted, this
  509  requirement does not apply. In lieu of or in addition to the
  510  physical posting of notice of any meeting of the unit owners on
  511  the condominium property, the association may, by reasonable
  512  rule, adopt a procedure for conspicuously posting and repeatedly
  513  broadcasting the notice and the agenda on a closed-circuit cable
  514  television system serving the condominium association. However,
  515  if broadcast notice is used in lieu of a notice posted
  516  physically on the condominium property, the notice and agenda
  517  must be broadcast at least four times every broadcast hour of
  518  each day that a posted notice is otherwise required under this
  519  section. When broadcast notice is provided, the notice and
  520  agenda must be broadcast in a manner and for a sufficient
  521  continuous length of time so as to allow an average reader to
  522  observe the notice and read and comprehend the entire content of
  523  the notice and the agenda. Unless a unit owner waives in writing
  524  the right to receive notice of the annual meeting, such notice
  525  shall be hand delivered, mailed, or electronically transmitted
  526  to each unit owner. Notice for meetings and notice for all other
  527  purposes shall be mailed to each unit owner at the address last
  528  furnished to the association by the unit owner, or hand
  529  delivered to each unit owner. However, if a unit is owned by
  530  more than one person, the association shall provide notice, for
  531  meetings and all other purposes, to that one address which the
  532  developer initially identifies for that purpose and thereafter
  533  as one or more of the owners of the unit shall so advise the
  534  association in writing, or if no address is given or the owners
  535  of the unit do not agree, to the address provided on the deed of
  536  record. An officer of the association, or the manager or other
  537  person providing notice of the association meeting, shall
  538  provide an affidavit or United States Postal Service certificate
  539  of mailing, to be included in the official records of the
  540  association affirming that the notice was mailed or hand
  541  delivered, in accordance with this provision.
  542         3.a. The members of the board shall be elected by written
  543  ballot or voting machine. Proxies shall in no event be used in
  544  electing the board, either in general elections or elections to
  545  fill vacancies caused by recall, resignation, or otherwise,
  546  unless otherwise provided in this chapter. Not less than 60 days
  547  before a scheduled election, the association shall mail,
  548  deliver, or electronically transmit, whether by separate
  549  association mailing or included in another association mailing,
  550  delivery, or transmission, including regularly published
  551  newsletters, to each unit owner entitled to a vote, a first
  552  notice of the date of the election along with a certification
  553  form provided by the division attesting that he or she has read
  554  and understands, to the best of his or her ability, the
  555  governing documents of the association and the provisions of
  556  this chapter and any applicable rules. Any unit owner or other
  557  eligible person desiring to be a candidate for the board must
  558  give written notice of his or her intent to be a candidate to
  559  the association not less than 40 days before a scheduled
  560  election. Together with the written notice and agenda as set
  561  forth in subparagraph 2., the association shall mail, deliver,
  562  or electronically transmit a second notice of the election to
  563  all unit owners entitled to vote therein, together with a ballot
  564  which shall list all candidates. Upon request of a candidate,
  565  the association shall include an information sheet, no larger
  566  than 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches, which must be furnished by the
  567  candidate not less than 35 days before the election, shall along
  568  with the signed certification form provided for in this
  569  subparagraph, to be included with the mailing, delivery, or
  570  transmission of the ballot, with the costs of mailing, delivery,
  571  or electronic transmission and copying to be borne by the
  572  association. The association is not liable for the contents of
  573  the information sheets prepared by the candidates. In order to
  574  reduce costs, the association may print or duplicate the
  575  information sheets on both sides of the paper. The division
  576  shall by rule establish voting procedures consistent with the
  577  provisions contained herein, including rules establishing
  578  procedures for giving notice by electronic transmission and
  579  rules providing for the secrecy of ballots. Elections shall be
  580  decided by a plurality of those ballots cast. There shall be no
  581  quorum requirement; however, at least 20 percent of the eligible
  582  voters must cast a ballot in order to have a valid election of
  583  members of the board. No unit owner shall permit any other
  584  person to vote his or her ballot, and any such ballots
  585  improperly cast shall be deemed invalid, provided any unit owner
  586  who violates this provision may be fined by the association in
  587  accordance with s. 718.303. A unit owner who needs assistance in
  588  casting the ballot for the reasons stated in s. 101.051 may
  589  obtain assistance in casting the ballot. The regular election
  590  shall occur on the date of the annual meeting. The provisions of
  591  this sub-subparagraph subparagraph shall not apply to timeshare
  592  condominium associations. Notwithstanding the provisions of this
  593  sub-subparagraph subparagraph, an election is not required
  594  unless more candidates file notices of intent to run or are
  595  nominated than board vacancies exist.
  596         b. Within 90 days after being elected to the board, each
  597  newly elected director shall certify in writing to the secretary
  598  of the association that he or she has read the association’s
  599  declarations of covenants and restrictions, articles of
  600  incorporation, bylaws, and current written policies; that he or
  601  she will work to uphold such documents and policies to the best
  602  of his or her ability; and that he or she will faithfully
  603  discharge his or her fiduciary responsibility to the
  604  association’s members. In lieu of this written certification,
  605  the newly elected director may submit a certificate of
  606  satisfactory completion of the educational curriculum
  607  administered by a division-approved condominium education
  608  provider. Failure to timely file the written certification or
  609  educational certificate automatically disqualifies the director
  610  from service on the board. The secretary shall cause the
  611  association to retain a director’s written certification or
  612  educational certificate for inspection by the members for 5
  613  years after a director’s election. Failure to have such written
  614  certification or educational certificate on file does not affect
  615  the validity of any appropriate action.
  616         4. Any approval by unit owners called for by this chapter
  617  or the applicable declaration or bylaws, including, but not
  618  limited to, the approval requirement in s. 718.111(8), shall be
  619  made at a duly noticed meeting of unit owners and shall be
  620  subject to all requirements of this chapter or the applicable
  621  condominium documents relating to unit owner decisionmaking,
  622  except that unit owners may take action by written agreement,
  623  without meetings, on matters for which action by written
  624  agreement without meetings is expressly allowed by the
  625  applicable bylaws or declaration or any statute that provides
  626  for such action.
  627         5. Unit owners may waive notice of specific meetings if
  628  allowed by the applicable bylaws or declaration or any statute.
  629  If authorized by the bylaws, notice of meetings of the board of
  630  administration, unit owner meetings, except unit owner meetings
  631  called to recall board members under paragraph (j), and
  632  committee meetings may be given by electronic transmission to
  633  unit owners who consent to receive notice by electronic
  634  transmission.
  635         6. Unit owners shall have the right to participate in
  636  meetings of unit owners with reference to all designated agenda
  637  items. However, the association may adopt reasonable rules
  638  governing the frequency, duration, and manner of unit owner
  639  participation.
  640         7. Any unit owner may tape record or videotape a meeting of
  641  the unit owners subject to reasonable rules adopted by the
  642  division.
  643         8. Unless otherwise provided in the bylaws, any vacancy
  644  occurring on the board before the expiration of a term may be
  645  filled by the affirmative vote of the majority of the remaining
  646  directors, even if the remaining directors constitute less than
  647  a quorum, or by the sole remaining director. In the alternative,
  648  a board may hold an election to fill the vacancy, in which case
  649  the election procedures must conform to the requirements of sub
  650  subparagraph subparagraph 3.a. unless the association governs 10
  651  units or fewer less and has opted out of the statutory election
  652  process, in which case the bylaws of the association control.
  653  Unless otherwise provided in the bylaws, a board member
  654  appointed or elected under this section shall fill the vacancy
  655  for the unexpired term of the seat being filled. Filling
  656  vacancies created by recall is governed by paragraph (j) and
  657  rules adopted by the division.
  658  
  659  Notwithstanding subparagraph subparagraphs (b)2. and sub
  660  subparagraph (d)3.a., an association of 10 or fewer units may,
  661  by the affirmative vote of a majority of the total voting
  662  interests, provide for different voting and election procedures
  663  in its bylaws, which vote may be by a proxy specifically
  664  delineating the different voting and election procedures. The
  665  different voting and election procedures may provide for
  666  elections to be conducted by limited or general proxy.	
  667         (h) Amendment of bylaws.—
  668         1. The method by which the bylaws may be amended consistent
  669  with the provisions of this chapter shall be stated. If the
  670  bylaws fail to provide a method of amendment, the bylaws may be
  671  amended if the amendment is approved by the owners of not less
  672  than two-thirds of the voting interests.
  673         2. No bylaw shall be revised or amended by reference to its
  674  title or number only. Proposals to amend existing bylaws shall
  675  contain the full text of the bylaws to be amended; new words
  676  shall be inserted in the text underlined, and words to be
  677  deleted shall be lined through with hyphens. However, if the
  678  proposed change is so extensive that this procedure would
  679  hinder, rather than assist, the understanding of the proposed
  680  amendment, it is not necessary to use underlining and hyphens as
  681  indicators of words added or deleted, but, instead, a notation
  682  must be inserted immediately preceding the proposed amendment in
  683  substantially the following language: “Substantial rewording of
  684  bylaw. See bylaw .... for present text.”
  685         3. Nonmaterial errors or omissions in the bylaw process
  686  will not invalidate an otherwise properly promulgated amendment.
  687         4. If the bylaws provide for amendment by the board of
  688  administration, no bylaw may be amended unless it is heard and
  689  noticed at two consecutive meetings of the board of
  690  administration that are at least 1 week apart.
  691         Section 6. Paragraph (d) of subsection (1) of section
  692  718.115, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  693         718.115 Common expenses and common surplus.—
  694         (1)
  695         (d) If so provided in the declaration, the cost of
  696  communications services as defined in chapter 202, information
  697  services, or Internet services a master antenna television
  698  system or duly franchised cable television service obtained
  699  pursuant to a bulk contract shall be deemed a common expense. If
  700  the declaration does not provide for the cost of communications
  701  services as defined in chapter 202, information services, or
  702  Internet services a master antenna television system or duly
  703  franchised cable television service obtained under a bulk
  704  contract as a common expense, the board may enter into such a
  705  contract, and the cost of the service will be a common expense
  706  but allocated on a per-unit basis rather than a percentage basis
  707  if the declaration provides for other than an equal sharing of
  708  common expenses, and any contract entered into before July 1,
  709  1998, in which the cost of the service is not equally divided
  710  among all unit owners, may be changed by vote of a majority of
  711  the voting interests present at a regular or special meeting of
  712  the association, to allocate the cost equally among all units.
  713  The contract shall be for a term of not less than 2 years.
  714         1. Any contract made by the board after the effective date
  715  hereof for communications services as defined in chapter 202,
  716  information services, or Internet services a community antenna
  717  system or duly franchised cable television service may be
  718  canceled by a majority of the voting interests present at the
  719  next regular or special meeting of the association. Any member
  720  may make a motion to cancel the said contract, but if no motion
  721  is made or if such motion fails to obtain the required majority
  722  at the next regular or special meeting, whichever occurs is
  723  sooner, following the making of the contract, then such contract
  724  shall be deemed ratified for the term therein expressed.
  725         2. Any such contract shall provide, and shall be deemed to
  726  provide if not expressly set forth, that any hearing-impaired or
  727  legally blind unit owner who does not occupy the unit with a
  728  non-hearing-impaired or sighted person, or any unit owner
  729  receiving supplemental security income under Title XVI of the
  730  Social Security Act or food stamps as administered by the
  731  Department of Children and Family Services pursuant to s.
  732  414.31, may discontinue the cable or video service without
  733  incurring disconnect fees, penalties, or subsequent service
  734  charges, and, as to such units, the owners shall not be required
  735  to pay any common expenses charge related to such service. If
  736  fewer less than all members of an association share the expenses
  737  of cable or video service television, the expense shall be
  738  shared equally by all participating unit owners. The association
  739  may use the provisions of s. 718.116 to enforce payment of the
  740  shares of such costs by the unit owners receiving cable or video
  741  service television.
  742         Section 7. Subsection (11) is added to section 718.116,
  743  Florida Statutes, to read:
  744         718.116 Assessments; liability; lien and priority;
  745  interest; collection.—
  746         (11) During the pendency of any foreclosure action of a
  747  condominium unit, if the unit is occupied by a tenant and the
  748  unit owner is delinquent in the payment of regular assessments,
  749  the association may demand that the tenant pay to the
  750  association the future regular assessments related to the
  751  condominium unit. The demand shall be continuing in nature, and
  752  upon demand the tenant shall continue to pay the regular
  753  assessments to the association until the association releases
  754  the tenant or the tenant discontinues tenancy in the unit. The
  755  association shall mail written notice to the unit owner of the
  756  association’s demand that the tenant pay regular assessments to
  757  the association. The tenant shall not be liable for increases in
  758  the amount of the regular assessment due unless the tenant was
  759  reasonably notified of the increase prior to the day that the
  760  rent is due. The tenant shall be given a credit against rents
  761  due to the unit owner in the amount of assessments paid to the
  762  association. The association shall, upon request, provide the
  763  tenant with written receipts for payments made. The association
  764  may issue notices under s. 83.56 and may sue for eviction under
  765  ss. 83.59-83.625 as if the association were a landlord under
  766  part II of chapter 83 should the tenant fail to pay an
  767  assessment. However, the association shall not otherwise be
  768  considered a landlord under chapter 83 and shall specifically
  769  not have any duty under s. 83.51. The tenant shall not, by
  770  virtue of payment of assessments, have any of the rights of a
  771  unit owner to vote in any election or to examine the books and
  772  records of the association. A court may supersede the effect of
  773  this subsection by appointing a receiver.
  774         Section 8. Subsection (2) of section 718.1265, Florida
  775  Statutes, is amended to read:
  776         718.1265 Association emergency powers.—
  777         (2) The special powers authorized under subsection (1)
  778  shall be limited to that time reasonably necessary to protect
  779  the health, safety, and welfare of the association and the unit
  780  owners and the unit owners’ family members, tenants, guests,
  781  agents, or invitees and shall be reasonably necessary to
  782  mitigate further damage and make emergency repairs.
  783  Additionally, unless 20 percent or more of the units are made
  784  uninhabitable by the emergency, the special powers authorized
  785  under subsection (1) may only be exercised during the term of
  786  the Governor’s executive order or proclamation declaring the
  787  state of emergency in the locale in which the condominium is
  788  located.
  789         Section 9. Subsection (1) of section 718.301, Florida
  790  Statutes, is amended to read:
  791         718.301 Transfer of association control; claims of defect
  792  by association.—
  793         (1) When unit owners other than the developer own 15
  794  percent or more of the units in a condominium that will be
  795  operated ultimately by an association, the unit owners other
  796  than the developer shall be entitled to elect no less than one
  797  third of the members of the board of administration of the
  798  association. Unit owners other than the developer are entitled
  799  to elect not less than a majority of the members of the board of
  800  administration of an association:
  801         (a) Three years after 50 percent of the units that will be
  802  operated ultimately by the association have been conveyed to
  803  purchasers;
  804         (b) Three months after 90 percent of the units that will be
  805  operated ultimately by the association have been conveyed to
  806  purchasers;
  807         (c) When all the units that will be operated ultimately by
  808  the association have been completed, some of them have been
  809  conveyed to purchasers, and none of the others are being offered
  810  for sale by the developer in the ordinary course of business;
  811         (d) When some of the units have been conveyed to purchasers
  812  and none of the others are being constructed or offered for sale
  813  by the developer in the ordinary course of business;
  814         (e) When the developer files a petition seeking protection
  815  in bankruptcy;
  816         (f) When a receiver for the developer is appointed by a
  817  circuit court and is not discharged within 30 days after such
  818  appointment, unless the court determines within 30 days after
  819  appointment of the receiver that transfer of control would be
  820  detrimental to the association or its members; or
  821         (g) Seven years after recordation of the declaration of
  822  condominium; or, in the case of an association which may
  823  ultimately operate more than one condominium, 7 years after
  824  recordation of the declaration for the first condominium it
  825  operates; or, in the case of an association operating a phase
  826  condominium created pursuant to s. 718.403, 7 years after
  827  recordation of the declaration creating the initial phase,
  828  
  829  whichever occurs first. The developer is entitled to elect at
  830  least one member of the board of administration of an
  831  association as long as the developer holds for sale in the
  832  ordinary course of business at least 5 percent, in condominiums
  833  with fewer than 500 units, and 2 percent, in condominiums with
  834  more than 500 units, of the units in a condominium operated by
  835  the association. Following the time the developer relinquishes
  836  control of the association, the developer may exercise the right
  837  to vote any developer-owned units in the same manner as any
  838  other unit owner except for purposes of reacquiring control of
  839  the association or selecting the majority members of the board
  840  of administration.
  841         Section 10. Section 718.303, Florida Statutes, is amended
  842  to read:
  843         718.303 Obligations of owners; waiver; suspension of access
  844  or voting rights or levy of fine against unit by association.—
  845         (1) Each unit owner, each tenant and other invitee, and
  846  each association shall be governed by, and shall comply with the
  847  provisions of, this chapter, the declaration, the documents
  848  creating the association, and the association bylaws and the
  849  provisions thereof shall be deemed expressly incorporated into
  850  any lease of a unit. Actions for damages or for injunctive
  851  relief, or both, for failure to comply with these provisions may
  852  be brought by the association or by a unit owner against:
  853         (a) The association.
  854         (b) A unit owner.
  855         (c) Directors designated by the developer, for actions
  856  taken by them prior to the time control of the association is
  857  assumed by unit owners other than the developer.
  858         (d) Any director who willfully and knowingly fails to
  859  comply with these provisions.
  860         (e) Any tenant leasing a unit, and any other invitee
  861  occupying a unit.
  862  
  863  The prevailing party in any such action or in any action in
  864  which the purchaser claims a right of voidability based upon
  865  contractual provisions as required in s. 718.503(1)(a) is
  866  entitled to recover reasonable attorney’s fees. A unit owner
  867  prevailing in an action between the association and the unit
  868  owner under this section, in addition to recovering his or her
  869  reasonable attorney’s fees, may recover additional amounts as
  870  determined by the court to be necessary to reimburse the unit
  871  owner for his or her share of assessments levied by the
  872  association to fund its expenses of the litigation. This relief
  873  does not exclude other remedies provided by law. Actions arising
  874  under this subsection shall not be deemed to be actions for
  875  specific performance.
  876         (2) A provision of this chapter may not be waived if the
  877  waiver would adversely affect the rights of a unit owner or the
  878  purpose of the provision, except that unit owners or members of
  879  a board of administration may waive notice of specific meetings
  880  in writing if provided by the bylaws. Any instruction given in
  881  writing by a unit owner or purchaser to an escrow agent may be
  882  relied upon by an escrow agent, whether or not such instruction
  883  and the payment of funds thereunder might constitute a waiver of
  884  any provision of this chapter.
  885         (3) If a unit owner is delinquent for more than 90 days in
  886  the payment of regular or special assessments or the declaration
  887  or bylaws so provide, the association may suspend, for a
  888  reasonable time, the right of a unit owner or a unit’s occupant,
  889  licensee, or invitee to use common elements, common facilities,
  890  or any other association property. This subsection does not
  891  apply to limited common elements intended to be used only by
  892  that unit, common elements that must be used to access the unit,
  893  utility services provided to the unit, parking spaces, or
  894  elevators. The association may also levy reasonable fines
  895  against a unit for the failure of the owner of the unit, or its
  896  occupant, licensee, or invitee, to comply with any provision of
  897  the declaration, the association bylaws, or reasonable rules of
  898  the association. No fine will become a lien against a unit. A No
  899  fine may not exceed $100 per violation. However, a fine may be
  900  levied on the basis of each day of a continuing violation, with
  901  a single notice and opportunity for hearing, provided that no
  902  such fine shall in the aggregate exceed $1,000. A No fine may
  903  not be levied and a suspension may not be imposed unless the
  904  association first gives except after giving reasonable notice
  905  and opportunity for a hearing to the unit owner and, if
  906  applicable, its occupant, licensee, or invitee. The hearing must
  907  be held before a committee of other unit owners who are neither
  908  board members nor persons residing in a board member’s
  909  household. If the committee does not agree with the fine or
  910  suspension, the fine or suspension may not be levied or imposed.
  911  The provisions of this subsection do not apply to unoccupied
  912  units.
  913         (4) The notice and hearing requirements of subsection (3)
  914  do not apply to the imposition of suspensions or fines against a
  915  unit owner or a unit’s occupant, licensee, or invitee because of
  916  the failure to pay any amounts due the association. If such a
  917  fine or suspension is imposed, the association must levy the
  918  fine or impose a reasonable suspension at a properly noticed
  919  board meeting, and after the imposition of such fine or
  920  suspension, the association must notify the unit owner and, if
  921  applicable, the unit’s occupant, licensee, or invitee by mail or
  922  hand delivery.
  923         (5) If the declaration or bylaws so provide, an association
  924  may also suspend the voting rights of a member due to nonpayment
  925  of assessments, fines, or other charges payable to the
  926  association which are delinquent in excess of 90 days.
  927         Section 11. Subsection (1) of section 718.501, Florida
  928  Statutes, is amended to read:
  929         718.501 Authority, responsibility, and duties of Division
  930  of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes.—
  931         (1) The Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and
  932  Mobile Homes of the Department of Business and Professional
  933  Regulation, referred to as the “division” in this part, has the
  934  power to enforce and ensure compliance with the provisions of
  935  this chapter and rules relating to the development,
  936  construction, sale, lease, ownership, operation, and management
  937  of residential condominium units. In performing its duties, the
  938  division has complete jurisdiction to investigate complaints and
  939  enforce compliance with the provisions of this chapter with
  940  respect to associations that are still under developer control
  941  and complaints against developers involving improper turnover or
  942  failure to turnover, pursuant to s. 718.301. However, after
  943  turnover has occurred, the division shall only have jurisdiction
  944  to investigate complaints related to financial issues, failure
  945  to maintain common elements, elections, and unit owner access to
  946  association records pursuant to s. 718.111(12).
  947         (a)1. The division may make necessary public or private
  948  investigations within or outside this state to determine whether
  949  any person has violated this chapter or any rule or order
  950  hereunder, to aid in the enforcement of this chapter, or to aid
  951  in the adoption of rules or forms hereunder.
  952         2. The division may submit any official written report,
  953  worksheet, or other related paper, or a duly certified copy
  954  thereof, compiled, prepared, drafted, or otherwise made by and
  955  duly authenticated by a financial examiner or analyst to be
  956  admitted as competent evidence in any hearing in which the
  957  financial examiner or analyst is available for cross-examination
  958  and attests under oath that such documents were prepared as a
  959  result of an examination or inspection conducted pursuant to
  960  this chapter.
  961         (b) The division may require or permit any person to file a
  962  statement in writing, under oath or otherwise, as the division
  963  determines, as to the facts and circumstances concerning a
  964  matter to be investigated.
  965         (c) For the purpose of any investigation under this
  966  chapter, the division director or any officer or employee
  967  designated by the division director may administer oaths or
  968  affirmations, subpoena witnesses and compel their attendance,
  969  take evidence, and require the production of any matter which is
  970  relevant to the investigation, including the existence,
  971  description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any
  972  books, documents, or other tangible things and the identity and
  973  location of persons having knowledge of relevant facts or any
  974  other matter reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of
  975  material evidence. Upon the failure by a person to obey a
  976  subpoena or to answer questions propounded by the investigating
  977  officer and upon reasonable notice to all persons affected
  978  thereby, the division may apply to the circuit court for an
  979  order compelling compliance.
  980         (d) Notwithstanding any remedies available to unit owners
  981  and associations, if the division has reasonable cause to
  982  believe that a violation of any provision of this chapter or
  983  related rule has occurred, the division may institute
  984  enforcement proceedings in its own name against any developer,
  985  association, officer, or member of the board of administration,
  986  or its assignees or agents, as follows:
  987         1. The division may permit a person whose conduct or
  988  actions may be under investigation to waive formal proceedings
  989  and enter into a consent proceeding whereby orders, rules, or
  990  letters of censure or warning, whether formal or informal, may
  991  be entered against the person.
  992         2. The division may issue an order requiring the developer,
  993  association, developer-designated officer, or developer
  994  designated member of the board of administration, developer
  995  designated assignees or agents, community association manager,
  996  or community association management firm to cease and desist
  997  from the unlawful practice and take such affirmative action as
  998  in the judgment of the division will carry out the purposes of
  999  this chapter. If the division finds that a developer,
 1000  association, officer, or member of the board of administration,
 1001  or its assignees or agents, is violating or is about to violate
 1002  any provision of this chapter, any rule adopted or order issued
 1003  by the division, or any written agreement entered into with the
 1004  division, and presents an immediate danger to the public
 1005  requiring an immediate final order, it may issue an emergency
 1006  cease and desist order reciting with particularity the facts
 1007  underlying such findings. The emergency cease and desist order
 1008  is effective for 90 days. If the division begins nonemergency
 1009  cease and desist proceedings, the emergency cease and desist
 1010  order remains effective until the conclusion of the proceedings
 1011  under ss. 120.569 and 120.57.
 1012         3. If a developer fails to pay any restitution determined
 1013  by the division to be owed, plus any accrued interest at the
 1014  highest rate permitted by law, within 30 days after expiration
 1015  of any appellate time period of a final order requiring payment
 1016  of restitution or the conclusion of any appeal thereof,
 1017  whichever is later, the division shall bring an action in
 1018  circuit or county court on behalf of any association, class of
 1019  unit owners, lessees, or purchasers for restitution, declaratory
 1020  relief, injunctive relief, or any other available remedy. The
 1021  division may also temporarily revoke its acceptance of the
 1022  filing for the developer to which the restitution relates until
 1023  payment of restitution is made.
 1024         4. The division may petition the court for the appointment
 1025  of a receiver or conservator. If appointed, the receiver or
 1026  conservator may take action to implement the court order to
 1027  ensure the performance of the order and to remedy any breach
 1028  thereof. In addition to all other means provided by law for the
 1029  enforcement of an injunction or temporary restraining order, the
 1030  circuit court may impound or sequester the property of a party
 1031  defendant, including books, papers, documents, and related
 1032  records, and allow the examination and use of the property by
 1033  the division and a court-appointed receiver or conservator.
 1034         5. The division may apply to the circuit court for an order
 1035  of restitution whereby the defendant in an action brought
 1036  pursuant to subparagraph 4. shall be ordered to make restitution
 1037  of those sums shown by the division to have been obtained by the
 1038  defendant in violation of this chapter. Such restitution shall,
 1039  at the option of the court, be payable to the conservator or
 1040  receiver appointed pursuant to subparagraph 4. or directly to
 1041  the persons whose funds or assets were obtained in violation of
 1042  this chapter.
 1043         6. The division may impose a civil penalty against a
 1044  developer or association, or its assignee or agent, for any
 1045  violation of this chapter or a rule adopted under this chapter.
 1046  The division may impose a civil penalty individually against any
 1047  officer or board member who willfully and knowingly violates a
 1048  provision of this chapter, adopted rule, or a final order of the
 1049  division; may order the removal of such individual as an officer
 1050  or from the board of administration or as an officer of the
 1051  association; and may prohibit such individual from serving as an
 1052  officer or on the board of a community association for a period
 1053  of time. The term “willfully and knowingly” means that the
 1054  division informed the officer or board member that his or her
 1055  action or intended action violates this chapter, a rule adopted
 1056  under this chapter, or a final order of the division and that
 1057  the officer or board member refused to comply with the
 1058  requirements of this chapter, a rule adopted under this chapter,
 1059  or a final order of the division. The division, prior to
 1060  initiating formal agency action under chapter 120, shall afford
 1061  the officer or board member an opportunity to voluntarily comply
 1062  with this chapter, a rule adopted under this chapter, or a final
 1063  order of the division. An officer or board member who complies
 1064  within 10 days is not subject to a civil penalty. A penalty may
 1065  be imposed on the basis of each day of continuing violation, but
 1066  in no event shall the penalty for any offense exceed $5,000. By
 1067  January 1, 1998, the division shall adopt, by rule, penalty
 1068  guidelines applicable to possible violations or to categories of
 1069  violations of this chapter or rules adopted by the division. The
 1070  guidelines must specify a meaningful range of civil penalties
 1071  for each such violation of the statute and rules and must be
 1072  based upon the harm caused by the violation, the repetition of
 1073  the violation, and upon such other factors deemed relevant by
 1074  the division. For example, the division may consider whether the
 1075  violations were committed by a developer or owner-controlled
 1076  association, the size of the association, and other factors. The
 1077  guidelines must designate the possible mitigating or aggravating
 1078  circumstances that justify a departure from the range of
 1079  penalties provided by the rules. It is the legislative intent
 1080  that minor violations be distinguished from those which endanger
 1081  the health, safety, or welfare of the condominium residents or
 1082  other persons and that such guidelines provide reasonable and
 1083  meaningful notice to the public of likely penalties that may be
 1084  imposed for proscribed conduct. This subsection does not limit
 1085  the ability of the division to informally dispose of
 1086  administrative actions or complaints by stipulation, agreed
 1087  settlement, or consent order. All amounts collected shall be
 1088  deposited with the Chief Financial Officer to the credit of the
 1089  Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes
 1090  Trust Fund. If a developer fails to pay the civil penalty and
 1091  the amount deemed to be owed to the association, the division
 1092  shall issue an order directing that such developer cease and
 1093  desist from further operation until such time as the civil
 1094  penalty is paid or may pursue enforcement of the penalty in a
 1095  court of competent jurisdiction. If an association fails to pay
 1096  the civil penalty, the division shall pursue enforcement in a
 1097  court of competent jurisdiction, and the order imposing the
 1098  civil penalty or the cease and desist order will not become
 1099  effective until 20 days after the date of such order. Any action
 1100  commenced by the division shall be brought in the county in
 1101  which the division has its executive offices or in the county
 1102  where the violation occurred.
 1103         7. If a unit owner presents the division with proof that
 1104  the unit owner has requested access to official records in
 1105  writing by certified mail, and that after 10 days the unit owner
 1106  again made the same request for access to official records in
 1107  writing by certified mail, and that more than 10 days has
 1108  elapsed since the second request and the association has still
 1109  failed or refused to provide access to official records as
 1110  required by this chapter, the division shall issue a subpoena
 1111  requiring production of the requested records where the records
 1112  are kept pursuant to s. 718.112.
 1113         8. In addition to subparagraph 6., the division may seek
 1114  the imposition of a civil penalty through the circuit court for
 1115  any violation for which the division may issue a notice to show
 1116  cause under paragraph (r). The civil penalty shall be at least
 1117  $500 but no more than $5,000 for each violation. The court may
 1118  also award to the prevailing party court costs and reasonable
 1119  attorney’s fees and, if the division prevails, may also award
 1120  reasonable costs of investigation.
 1121         9. Notwithstanding subparagraph 6., when the division finds
 1122  that an officer or director has intentionally falsified
 1123  association records with the intent to conceal material facts
 1124  from the division, the board, or unit owners, the division shall
 1125  prohibit the officer or director from acting as an officer or
 1126  director of any condominium, cooperative, or homeowners’
 1127  association for at least 1 year.
 1128         10. When the division finds that any person has derived an
 1129  improper personal benefit from a condominium association, the
 1130  division shall order the person to pay restitution to the
 1131  association and shall order the person to pay to the division
 1132  the costs of investigation and prosecution.
 1133         (e) The division may prepare and disseminate a prospectus
 1134  and other information to assist prospective owners, purchasers,
 1135  lessees, and developers of residential condominiums in assessing
 1136  the rights, privileges, and duties pertaining thereto.
 1137         (f) The division has authority to adopt rules pursuant to
 1138  ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement and enforce the
 1139  provisions of this chapter.
 1140         (g) The division shall establish procedures for providing
 1141  notice to an association and the developer during the period
 1142  where the developer controls the association when the division
 1143  is considering the issuance of a declaratory statement with
 1144  respect to the declaration of condominium or any related
 1145  document governing in such condominium community.
 1146         (h) The division shall furnish each association which pays
 1147  the fees required by paragraph (2)(a) a copy of this act,
 1148  subsequent changes to this act on an annual basis, an amended
 1149  version of this act as it becomes available from the Secretary
 1150  of State’s office on a biennial basis, and the rules adopted
 1151  thereto on an annual basis.
 1152         (i) The division shall annually provide each association
 1153  with a summary of declaratory statements and formal legal
 1154  opinions relating to the operations of condominiums which were
 1155  rendered by the division during the previous year.
 1156         (j) The division shall provide training and educational
 1157  programs for condominium association board members and unit
 1158  owners. The training may, in the division’s discretion, include
 1159  web-based electronic media, and live training and seminars in
 1160  various locations throughout the state. The division shall have
 1161  the authority to review and approve education and training
 1162  programs for board members and unit owners offered by providers
 1163  and shall maintain a current list of approved programs and
 1164  providers and shall make such list available to board members
 1165  and unit owners in a reasonable and cost-effective manner.
 1166         (k) The division shall maintain a toll-free telephone
 1167  number accessible to condominium unit owners.
 1168         (l) The division shall develop a program to certify both
 1169  volunteer and paid mediators to provide mediation of condominium
 1170  disputes. The division shall provide, upon request, a list of
 1171  such mediators to any association, unit owner, or other
 1172  participant in arbitration proceedings under s. 718.1255
 1173  requesting a copy of the list. The division shall include on the
 1174  list of volunteer mediators only the names of persons who have
 1175  received at least 20 hours of training in mediation techniques
 1176  or who have mediated at least 20 disputes. In order to become
 1177  initially certified by the division, paid mediators must be
 1178  certified by the Supreme Court to mediate court cases in county
 1179  or circuit courts. However, the division may adopt, by rule,
 1180  additional factors for the certification of paid mediators,
 1181  which factors must be related to experience, education, or
 1182  background. Any person initially certified as a paid mediator by
 1183  the division must, in order to continue to be certified, comply
 1184  with the factors or requirements imposed by rules adopted by the
 1185  division.
 1186         (m) When a complaint is made, the division shall conduct
 1187  its inquiry with due regard to the interests of the affected
 1188  parties. Within 30 days after receipt of a complaint, the
 1189  division shall acknowledge the complaint in writing and notify
 1190  the complainant whether the complaint is within the jurisdiction
 1191  of the division and whether additional information is needed by
 1192  the division from the complainant. The division shall conduct
 1193  its investigation and shall, within 90 days after receipt of the
 1194  original complaint or of timely requested additional
 1195  information, take action upon the complaint. However, the
 1196  failure to complete the investigation within 90 days does not
 1197  prevent the division from continuing the investigation,
 1198  accepting or considering evidence obtained or received after 90
 1199  days, or taking administrative action if reasonable cause exists
 1200  to believe that a violation of this chapter or a rule of the
 1201  division has occurred. If an investigation is not completed
 1202  within the time limits established in this paragraph, the
 1203  division shall, on a monthly basis, notify the complainant in
 1204  writing of the status of the investigation. When reporting its
 1205  action to the complainant, the division shall inform the
 1206  complainant of any right to a hearing pursuant to ss. 120.569
 1207  and 120.57.
 1208         (n) Condominium association directors, officers, and
 1209  employees; condominium developers; community association
 1210  managers; and community association management firms have an
 1211  ongoing duty to reasonably cooperate with the division in any
 1212  investigation pursuant to this section. The division shall refer
 1213  to local law enforcement authorities any person whom the
 1214  division believes has altered, destroyed, concealed, or removed
 1215  any record, document, or thing required to be kept or maintained
 1216  by this chapter with the purpose to impair its verity or
 1217  availability in the department’s investigation.
 1218         (o) The division may:
 1219         1. Contract with agencies in this state or other
 1220  jurisdictions to perform investigative functions; or
 1221         2. Accept grants-in-aid from any source.
 1222         (p) The division shall cooperate with similar agencies in
 1223  other jurisdictions to establish uniform filing procedures and
 1224  forms, public offering statements, advertising standards, and
 1225  rules and common administrative practices.
 1226         (q) The division shall consider notice to a developer to be
 1227  complete when it is delivered to the developer’s address
 1228  currently on file with the division.
 1229         (r) In addition to its enforcement authority, the division
 1230  may issue a notice to show cause, which shall provide for a
 1231  hearing, upon written request, in accordance with chapter 120.
 1232         (s) The division shall submit to the Governor, the
 1233  President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of
 1234  Representatives, and the chairs of the legislative
 1235  appropriations committees an annual report that includes, but
 1236  need not be limited to, the number of training programs provided
 1237  for condominium association board members and unit owners, the
 1238  number of complaints received by type, the number and percent of
 1239  complaints acknowledged in writing within 30 days and the number
 1240  and percent of investigations acted upon within 90 days in
 1241  accordance with paragraph (m), and the number of investigations
 1242  exceeding the 90-day requirement. The annual report shall also
 1243  include an evaluation of the division’s core business processes
 1244  and make recommendations for improvements, including statutory
 1245  changes. The report shall be submitted by September 30 following
 1246  the end of the fiscal year.
 1247         Section 12. Subsection (4) of section 718.5012, Florida
 1248  Statutes, is amended to read:
 1249         718.5012 Ombudsman; powers and duties.—The ombudsman shall
 1250  have the powers that are necessary to carry out the duties of
 1251  his or her office, including the following specific powers:
 1252         (4) To act as liaison between the division, unit owners,
 1253  boards of directors, board members, community association
 1254  managers, and other affected parties. The ombudsman shall
 1255  develop policies and procedures to assist unit owners, boards of
 1256  directors, board members, community association managers, and
 1257  other affected parties to understand their rights and
 1258  responsibilities as set forth in this chapter and the
 1259  condominium documents governing their respective association.
 1260  The ombudsman shall coordinate and assist in the preparation and
 1261  adoption of educational and reference material, and shall
 1262  endeavor to coordinate with private or volunteer providers of
 1263  these services, so that the availability of these resources is
 1264  made known to the largest possible audience. In conjunction with
 1265  the division, included in the preparation and adoption of
 1266  educational and reference materials shall be the publishing and
 1267  updating of a “Florida Condominium Handbook” to facilitate
 1268  understanding of this chapter, the contents of which are stated
 1269  in a clear, conspicuous, and easily understandable manner. The
 1270  handbook shall be made publicly available on the ombudsman’s
 1271  Internet website.
 1272         Section 13. Part VII of chapter 718, Florida Statutes,
 1273  consisting of sections 718.701, 718.702, 718.703, 718.704,
 1274  718.705, 718.706, 718.707, and 718.708, is created to read:
 1275                              PART VII                             
 1276                    DISTRESSED CONDOMINIUM RELIEF                  
 1277         718.701 Short title.—This part may be cited as the
 1278  “Distressed Condominium Relief Act.”
 1279         718.702 Legislative intent.—
 1280         (1) The Legislature acknowledges the massive downturn in
 1281  the condominium market which has transpired throughout the state
 1282  and the impact of such downturn on developers, lenders, unit
 1283  owners, and condominium associations. Numerous condominium
 1284  projects have either failed or are in the process of failing,
 1285  whereby the condominium has a small percentage of third-party
 1286  unit owners as compared to the unsold inventory of units. As a
 1287  result of the inability to find purchasers for this inventory of
 1288  units, which results in part from the devaluing of real estate
 1289  in this state, developers are unable to satisfy the requirements
 1290  of their lenders, leading to defaults on mortgages.
 1291  Consequently, lenders are faced with the task of finding a
 1292  solution to the problem in order to be paid for their
 1293  investments.
 1294         (2) The Legislature recognizes that all of the factors
 1295  listed in this section lead to condominiums becoming distressed,
 1296  resulting in detriment to the unit owners and the condominium
 1297  association on account of the resulting shortage of assessment
 1298  moneys available to support the financial requirements for
 1299  proper maintenance of the condominium. Such shortage and the
 1300  resulting lack of proper maintenance further erode property
 1301  values. The Legislature finds that individuals and entities
 1302  within Florida and in other states have expressed interest in
 1303  purchasing unsold inventory in one or more condominium projects,
 1304  but are reticent to do so because of accompanying liabilities
 1305  inherited from the original developer, which are by definition
 1306  imputed to the successor purchaser, including a foreclosing
 1307  mortgagee. This results in the potential purchaser having
 1308  unknown and unquantifiable risks, and potential successor
 1309  purchasers are unwilling to accept such risks. The result is
 1310  that condominium projects stagnate, leaving all parties involved
 1311  at an impasse without the ability to find a solution.
 1312         (3) The Legislature finds and declares that it is the
 1313  public policy of this state to protect the interests of
 1314  developers, lenders, unit owners, and condominium associations
 1315  with regard to distressed condominiums, and that there is a need
 1316  for relief from certain provisions of the Florida Condominium
 1317  Act geared toward enabling economic opportunities within these
 1318  condominiums for successor purchasers, including foreclosing
 1319  mortgagees. Such relief would benefit existing unit owners and
 1320  condominium associations. The Legislature further finds and
 1321  declares that this situation cannot be open-ended without
 1322  potentially prejudicing the rights of unit owners and
 1323  condominium associations, and thereby declares that the
 1324  provisions of this part shall be used by purchasers of
 1325  condominium inventory for a specific and defined period.
 1326         718.703 Definitions.—As used in this part, the term:
 1327         (1) “Bulk assignee” means a person who:
 1328         (a) Acquires more than seven condominium parcels as set
 1329  forth in s. 718.707; and
 1330         (b) Receives an assignment of some or all of the rights of
 1331  the developer as are set forth in the declaration of condominium
 1332  or in this chapter by a written instrument recorded as an
 1333  exhibit to the deed or as a separate instrument in the public
 1334  records of the county in which the condominium is located.
 1335         (2) “Bulk buyer” means a person who acquires more than
 1336  seven condominium parcels as set forth in s. 718.707 but who
 1337  does not receive an assignment of any developer rights other
 1338  than the right to conduct sales, leasing, and marketing
 1339  activities within the condominium.
 1340         718.704 Assignment of developer rights to and assumption of
 1341  developer rights by bulk assignee; bulk buyer.—
 1342         (1) A bulk assignee shall be deemed to have assumed and is
 1343  liable for all duties and responsibilities of the developer
 1344  under the declaration and this chapter, except:
 1345         (a) Warranties of the developer under s. 718.203(1) or s.
 1346  718.618, except for design, construction, development, or repair
 1347  work performed by or on behalf of such bulk assignee.
 1348         (b) The obligation to:
 1349         1. Fund converter reserves under s. 718.618 for a unit that
 1350  was not acquired by the bulk assignee; or
 1351         2. Provide converter warranties on any portion of the
 1352  condominium property except as may be expressly provided by the
 1353  bulk assignee in the contract for purchase and sale executed
 1354  with a purchaser and pertaining to any design, construction,
 1355  development, or repair work performed by or on behalf of the
 1356  bulk assignee.
 1357         (c) The requirement to provide the association with a
 1358  cumulative audit of the association’s finances from the date of
 1359  formation of the condominium association as required by s.
 1360  718.301. However, the bulk assignee shall provide an audit for
 1361  the period for which the bulk assignee elects a majority of the
 1362  members of the board of administration.
 1363         (d) Any liability arising out of or in connection with
 1364  actions taken by the board of administration or the developer
 1365  appointed directors before the bulk assignee elects a majority
 1366  of the members of the board of administration.
 1367         (e) Any liability for or arising out of the developer’s
 1368  failure to fund previous assessments or to resolve budgetary
 1369  deficits in relation to a developer’s right to guarantee
 1370  assessments, except as otherwise provided in subsection (2).
 1371  
 1372  Further, the bulk assignee is responsible for delivering
 1373  documents and materials in accordance with s. 718.705(3). A bulk
 1374  assignee may expressly assume some or all of the obligations of
 1375  the developer described in paragraphs (a)-(e).
 1376         (2) A bulk assignee receiving the assignment of the rights
 1377  of the developer to guarantee the level of assessments and fund
 1378  budgetary deficits pursuant to s. 718.116 shall be deemed to
 1379  have assumed and is liable for all obligations of the developer
 1380  with respect to such guarantee, including any applicable funding
 1381  of reserves to the extent required by law, for as long as the
 1382  guarantee remains in effect. A bulk assignee not receiving an
 1383  assignment of the right of the developer to guarantee the level
 1384  of assessments and fund budgetary deficits pursuant to s.
 1385  718.116 or a bulk buyer is not deemed to have assumed and is not
 1386  liable for the obligations of the developer with respect to such
 1387  guarantee, but is responsible for payment of assessments in the
 1388  same manner as all other owners of condominium parcels.
 1389         (3) A bulk buyer is liable for the duties and
 1390  responsibilities of the developer under the declaration and this
 1391  chapter only to the extent provided in this part, together with
 1392  any other duties or responsibilities of the developer expressly
 1393  assumed in writing by the bulk buyer.
 1394         (4) An acquirer of condominium parcels is not considered a
 1395  bulk assignee or a bulk buyer if the transfer to such acquirer
 1396  was made with the intent to hinder, delay, or defraud any
 1397  purchaser, unit owner, or the association, or if the acquirer is
 1398  a person who would constitute an insider under s. 726.102(7).
 1399         (5) An assignment of developer rights to a bulk assignee
 1400  may be made by the developer, a previous bulk assignee, or a
 1401  court of competent jurisdiction acting on behalf of the
 1402  developer or the previous bulk assignee. At any particular time,
 1403  there may be no more than one bulk assignee within a
 1404  condominium, but there may be more than one bulk buyer. If more
 1405  than one acquirer of condominium parcels receives an assignment
 1406  of developer rights from the same person, the bulk assignee is
 1407  the acquirer whose instrument of assignment is recorded first in
 1408  applicable public records.
 1409         718.705 Board of administration; transfer of control.—
 1410         (1) For purposes of determining the timing for transfer of
 1411  control of the board of administration of the association to
 1412  unit owners other than the developer under s. 718.301(1)(a) or
 1413  (b), if a bulk assignee is entitled to elect a majority of the
 1414  members of the board, a condominium parcel acquired by the bulk
 1415  assignee shall not be deemed to be conveyed to a purchaser, or
 1416  to be owned by an owner other than the developer, until such
 1417  condominium parcel is conveyed to an owner who is not a bulk
 1418  assignee.
 1419         (2) Unless control of the board of administration of the
 1420  association has already been relinquished pursuant to s.
 1421  718.301(1), the bulk assignee is obligated to relinquish control
 1422  of the association in accordance with s. 718.301 and this part.
 1423         (3) When a bulk assignee relinquishes control of the board
 1424  of administration as set forth in s. 718.301, the bulk assignee
 1425  shall deliver all of those items required by s. 718.301(4).
 1426  However, the bulk assignee is not required to deliver items and
 1427  documents not in the possession of the bulk assignee during the
 1428  period during which the bulk assignee was the owner of
 1429  condominium parcels. In conjunction with the acquisition of
 1430  condominium parcels, a bulk assignee shall undertake a good
 1431  faith effort to obtain the documents and materials required to
 1432  be provided to the association pursuant to s. 718.301(4). To the
 1433  extent the bulk assignee is not able to obtain all of such
 1434  documents and materials, the bulk assignee shall certify in
 1435  writing to the association the names or descriptions of the
 1436  documents and materials that were not obtainable by the bulk
 1437  assignee. Delivery of the certificate relieves the bulk assignee
 1438  of responsibility for the delivery of the documents and
 1439  materials referenced in the certificate as otherwise required
 1440  under ss. 718.112 and 718.301 and this part. The responsibility
 1441  of the bulk assignee for the audit required by s. 718.301(4)
 1442  shall commence as of the date on which the bulk assignee elected
 1443  a majority of the members of the board of administration.
 1444         (4) If a conflict arises between the provisions or
 1445  application of this section and s. 718.301, this section shall
 1446  prevail.
 1447         (5) Failure of a bulk assignee or bulk buyer to comply with
 1448  all the requirements contained in this part shall result in the
 1449  loss of any and all protections or exemptions provided under
 1450  this part.
 1451         718.706 Specific provisions pertaining to offering of units
 1452  by a bulk assignee or bulk buyer.—
 1453         (1) Before offering any units for sale or for lease for a
 1454  term exceeding 5 years, a bulk assignee or bulk buyer must file
 1455  the following documents with the division and provide such
 1456  documents to a prospective purchaser:
 1457         (a) An updated prospectus or offering circular, or a
 1458  supplement to the prospectus or offering circular, filed by the
 1459  creating developer prepared in accordance with s. 718.504, which
 1460  shall include the form of contract for purchase and sale in
 1461  compliance with s. 718.503(2).
 1462         (b) An updated Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
 1463  sheet.
 1464         (c) The executed escrow agreement if required under s.
 1465  718.202.
 1466         (d) The financial information required by s. 718.111(13).
 1467  However, if a financial information report does not exist for
 1468  the fiscal year before acquisition of title by the bulk assignee
 1469  or bulk buyer, or accounting records cannot be obtained in good
 1470  faith by the bulk assignee or bulk buyer which would permit
 1471  preparation of the required financial information report, the
 1472  bulk assignee or bulk buyer is excused from the requirement of
 1473  this paragraph. However, the bulk assignee or bulk buyer must
 1474  include in the purchase contract the following statement in
 1475  conspicuous type:
 1476  
 1477         THE FINANCIAL INFORMATION REPORT REQUIRED UNDER
 1478         SECTION 718.111(13), FLORIDA STATUTES, FOR THE
 1479         IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING FISCAL YEAR OF THE ASSOCIATION
 1480         IS NOT AVAILABLE OR CANNOT BE CREATED BY THE SELLER AS
 1481         A RESULT OF INSUFFICIENT ACCOUNTING RECORDS OF THE
 1482         ASSOCIATION.
 1483  
 1484         (2) Before offering any units for sale or for lease for a
 1485  term exceeding 5 years, a bulk assignee must file with the
 1486  division and provide to a prospective purchaser a disclosure
 1487  statement that must include, but is not limited to:
 1488         (a) A description to the purchaser of any rights of the
 1489  developer which have been assigned to the bulk assignee.
 1490         (b) The following statement in conspicuous type:
 1491  
 1492         SELLER IS NOT OBLIGATED FOR ANY WARRANTIES OF THE
 1493         DEVELOPER UNDER SECTION 718.203(1) OR SECTION 718.618,
 1494         FLORIDA STATUTES, AS APPLICABLE, EXCEPT FOR DESIGN,
 1495         CONSTRUCTION, DEVELOPMENT, OR REPAIR WORK PERFORMED BY
 1496         OR ON BEHALF OF SELLER.
 1497  
 1498         (c) If the condominium is a conversion subject to part VI,
 1499  the following statement in conspicuous type:
 1500  
 1501         SELLER HAS NO OBLIGATION TO FUND CONVERTER RESERVES OR
 1502         TO PROVIDE CONVERTER WARRANTIES UNDER SECTION 718.618,
 1503         FLORIDA STATUTES, ON ANY PORTION OF THE CONDOMINIUM
 1504         PROPERTY EXCEPT AS MAY BE EXPRESSLY REQUIRED OF THE
 1505         SELLER IN THE CONTRACT FOR PURCHASE AND SALE EXECUTED
 1506         BY THE SELLER AND THE PREVIOUS DEVELOPER AND
 1507         PERTAINING TO ANY DESIGN, CONSTRUCTION, DEVELOPMENT,
 1508         OR REPAIR WORK PERFORMED BY OR ON BEHALF OF THE
 1509         SELLER.
 1510  
 1511         (3) In addition to the requirements set forth in subsection
 1512  (1), a bulk assignee or bulk buyer must comply with the
 1513  nondeveloper disclosure requirements set forth in s. 718.503(2)
 1514  before offering any units for sale or for lease for a term
 1515  exceeding 5 years.
 1516         (4) A bulk assignee, while in control of the board of
 1517  administration of the association, may not authorize, on behalf
 1518  of the association:
 1519         (a) The waiver of reserves or the reduction of funding of
 1520  the reserves in accordance with s. 718.112(2)(f)2., unless
 1521  approved by a majority of the voting interests not controlled by
 1522  the developer, bulk assignee, or bulk buyer; or
 1523         (b) The use of reserve expenditures for other purposes in
 1524  accordance with s. 718.112(2)(f)3., unless approved by a
 1525  majority of the voting interests not controlled by the
 1526  developer, bulk assignee, or bulk buyer.
 1527         (5) A bulk assignee, while in control of the board of
 1528  administration of the association, must comply with the
 1529  requirements imposed upon developers to transfer control of the
 1530  association to the unit owners in accordance with s. 718.301.
 1531         (6) A bulk assignee or bulk buyer must comply with all the
 1532  requirements of s. 718.302 regarding any contracts entered into
 1533  by the association during the period the bulk assignee or bulk
 1534  buyer maintains control of the board of administration. Unit
 1535  owners shall be afforded all the protections contained in s.
 1536  718.302 regarding agreements entered into by the association
 1537  before unit owners other than the developer, bulk assignee, or
 1538  bulk buyer elected a majority of the board of administration.
 1539         (7) A bulk buyer must comply with the requirements
 1540  contained in the declaration regarding any transfer of a unit,
 1541  including sales, leases, and subleases. A bulk buyer is not
 1542  entitled to any exemptions afforded a developer or successor
 1543  developer under this chapter regarding any transfer of a unit,
 1544  including sales, leases, or subleases.
 1545         718.707 Time limitation for classification as bulk assignee
 1546  or bulk buyer.—A person acquiring condominium parcels may not be
 1547  classified as a bulk assignee or bulk buyer unless the
 1548  condominium parcels were acquired before July 1, 2012. The date
 1549  of such acquisition shall be determined by the date of recording
 1550  of a deed or other instrument of conveyance for such parcels in
 1551  the public records of the county in which the condominium is
 1552  located or by the date of issuance of a certificate of title in
 1553  a foreclosure proceeding with respect to such condominium
 1554  parcels.
 1555         718.708 Liability of developers and others.—An assignment
 1556  of developer rights to a bulk assignee or bulk buyer does not
 1557  release the developer from any liabilities under the declaration
 1558  or this chapter. This part does not limit the liability of the
 1559  developer for claims brought by unit owners, bulk assignees, or
 1560  bulk buyers for violations of this chapter by the developer,
 1561  unless specifically excluded in this part. Nothing contained
 1562  within this part waives, releases, compromises, or limits the
 1563  liability of contractors, subcontractors, materialmen,
 1564  manufacturers, architects, engineers, or any participant in the
 1565  design or construction of a condominium for any claim brought by
 1566  an association, unit owners, bulk assignees, or bulk buyers
 1567  arising from the design of the condominium, construction
 1568  defects, misrepresentations associated with condominium
 1569  property, or violations of this chapter, unless specifically
 1570  excluded in this part.
 1571         Section 14. Subsection (2) of section 720.302, Florida
 1572  Statutes, is amended to read:
 1573         720.302 Purposes, scope, and application.—
 1574         (2) The Legislature recognizes that it is not in the best
 1575  interest of homeowners’ associations or the individual
 1576  association members thereof to create or impose a bureau or
 1577  other agency of state government to regulate the affairs of
 1578  homeowners’ associations. However, in accordance with part IV of
 1579  this chapter s. 720.311, the Legislature finds that homeowners’
 1580  associations and their individual members will benefit from an
 1581  expedited alternative process for resolution of election and
 1582  recall disputes and presuit mediation of other disputes
 1583  involving covenant enforcement in homeowners’ associations and
 1584  deed-restricted communities using the procedures provided in
 1585  part IV of and authorizes the department to hear, administer,
 1586  and determine these disputes as more fully set forth in this
 1587  chapter. Further, the Legislature recognizes that certain
 1588  contract rights have been created for the benefit of homeowners’
 1589  associations and members thereof as well as deed-restricted
 1590  communities before the effective date of this act and that part
 1591  IV of this chapter is ss. 720.301-720.407 are not intended to
 1592  impair such contract rights, including, but not limited to, the
 1593  rights of the developer to complete the community as initially
 1594  contemplated.
 1595         Section 15. Paragraph (b) of subsection (2), paragraphs (a)
 1596  and (c) of subsection (5), paragraphs (b), (c), (d), (f), and
 1597  (g) of subsection (6), and paragraphs (c) and (d) of subsection
 1598  (10) of section 720.303, Florida Statutes, are amended, and
 1599  subsections (12), (13), and (14) are added to that section, to
 1600  read:
 1601         720.303 Association powers and duties; meetings of board;
 1602  official records; budgets; financial reporting; association
 1603  funds; recalls; prohibited compensation; borrowing; transfer
 1604  fees.—
 1605         (2) BOARD MEETINGS.—
 1606         (b) Members have the right to attend all meetings of the
 1607  board and to speak on any matter placed on the agenda by
 1608  petition of the voting interests for at least 3 minutes. The
 1609  association may adopt written reasonable rules expanding the
 1610  right of members to speak and governing the frequency, duration,
 1611  and other manner of member statements, which rules must be
 1612  consistent with this paragraph and may include a sign-up sheet
 1613  for members wishing to speak. Notwithstanding any other law, the
 1614  requirement that board meetings and committee meetings be open
 1615  to the members is inapplicable to meetings between the board or
 1616  a committee and the association’s attorney to discuss proposed
 1617  or pending litigation or, with respect to meetings of the board
 1618  held for the purpose of discussing personnel matters are not
 1619  required to be open to the members.
 1620         (5) INSPECTION AND COPYING OF RECORDS.—The official records
 1621  shall be maintained within the state and must be open to
 1622  inspection and available for photocopying by members or their
 1623  authorized agents at reasonable times and places within 10
 1624  business days after receipt of a written request for access.
 1625  This subsection may be complied with by having a copy of the
 1626  official records available for inspection or copying in the
 1627  community. If the association has a photocopy machine available
 1628  where the records are maintained, it must provide parcel owners
 1629  with copies on request during the inspection if the entire
 1630  request is limited to no more than 25 pages.
 1631         (a) The failure of an association to provide access to the
 1632  records within 10 business days after receipt of a written
 1633  request submitted by certified mail, return receipt requested,
 1634  creates a rebuttable presumption that the association willfully
 1635  failed to comply with this subsection.
 1636         (c) The association may adopt reasonable written rules
 1637  governing the frequency, time, location, notice, records to be
 1638  inspected, and manner of inspections, but may not require impose
 1639  a requirement that a parcel owner to demonstrate any proper
 1640  purpose for the inspection, state any reason for the inspection,
 1641  or limit a parcel owner’s right to inspect records to less than
 1642  one 8-hour business day per month. The association may impose
 1643  fees to cover the costs of providing copies of the official
 1644  records, including, without limitation, the costs of copying.
 1645  The association may charge up to 50 cents per page for copies
 1646  made on the association’s photocopier. If the association does
 1647  not have a photocopy machine available where the records are
 1648  kept, or if the records requested to be copied exceed 25 pages
 1649  in length, the association may have copies made by an outside
 1650  vendor or association management company personnel and may
 1651  charge the actual cost of copying, including any reasonable
 1652  costs involving personnel fees and charges at an hourly rate for
 1653  employee time to cover administrative costs to the association.
 1654  The association shall maintain an adequate number of copies of
 1655  the recorded governing documents, to ensure their availability
 1656  to members and prospective members. Notwithstanding the
 1657  provisions of this paragraph, the following records are shall
 1658  not be accessible to members or parcel owners:
 1659         1. Any record protected by the lawyer-client privilege as
 1660  described in s. 90.502 and any record protected by the work
 1661  product privilege, including, but not limited to, any record
 1662  prepared by an association attorney or prepared at the
 1663  attorney’s express direction which reflects a mental impression,
 1664  conclusion, litigation strategy, or legal theory of the attorney
 1665  or the association and which was prepared exclusively for civil
 1666  or criminal litigation or for adversarial administrative
 1667  proceedings or which was prepared in anticipation of imminent
 1668  civil or criminal litigation or imminent adversarial
 1669  administrative proceedings until the conclusion of the
 1670  litigation or adversarial administrative proceedings.
 1671         2. Information obtained by an association in connection
 1672  with the approval of the lease, sale, or other transfer of a
 1673  parcel.
 1674         3. Disciplinary, health, insurance, and personnel records
 1675  of the association’s employees.
 1676         4. Medical records of parcel owners or community residents.
 1677         (6) BUDGETS.—
 1678         (b) In addition to annual operating expenses, the budget
 1679  may include reserve accounts for capital expenditures and
 1680  deferred maintenance for which the association is responsible.
 1681  If reserve accounts are not established pursuant to paragraph
 1682  (d), funding of such reserves shall be limited to the extent
 1683  that the governing documents do not limit increases in
 1684  assessments, including reserves. If the budget of the
 1685  association includes reserve accounts established pursuant to
 1686  paragraph (d), such reserves shall be determined, maintained,
 1687  and waived in the manner provided in this subsection. Once an
 1688  association provides for reserve accounts pursuant to paragraph
 1689  (d) in the budget, the association shall thereafter determine,
 1690  maintain, and waive reserves in compliance with this subsection.
 1691  This section does not preclude the termination of a reserve
 1692  account established pursuant to this paragraph upon approval of
 1693  a majority of the voting interests of the association. Upon such
 1694  approval, the terminating reserve account shall be removed from
 1695  the budget.
 1696         (c)1. If the budget of the association does not provide for
 1697  reserve accounts pursuant to paragraph (d) governed by this
 1698  subsection and the association is responsible for the repair and
 1699  maintenance of capital improvements that may result in a special
 1700  assessment if reserves are not provided, each financial report
 1701  for the preceding fiscal year required under by subsection (7)
 1702  shall contain the following statement in conspicuous type:
 1703  
 1704         THE BUDGET OF THE ASSOCIATION DOES NOT PROVIDE FOR
 1705         RESERVE ACCOUNTS FOR CAPITAL EXPENDITURES AND DEFERRED
 1706         MAINTENANCE THAT MAY RESULT IN SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS.
 1707         OWNERS MAY ELECT TO PROVIDE FOR RESERVE ACCOUNTS
 1708         PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 720.303(6),
 1709         FLORIDA STATUTES, UPON OBTAINING THE APPROVAL OF NOT
 1710         LESS THAN A MAJORITY OF THE TOTAL VOTING INTERESTS OF
 1711         THE ASSOCIATION BY VOTE OF THE MEMBERS AT A MEETING OR
 1712         BY WRITTEN CONSENT.
 1713  
 1714         2. If the budget of the association does provide for
 1715  funding accounts for deferred expenditures, including, but not
 1716  limited to, funds for capital expenditures and deferred
 1717  maintenance, but such accounts are not created or established
 1718  pursuant to paragraph (d), each financial report for the
 1719  preceding fiscal year required under subsection (7) must also
 1720  contain the following statement in conspicuous type:
 1721  
 1722         THE BUDGET OF THE ASSOCIATION DOES PROVIDE FOR LIMITED
 1723         VOLUNTARY DEFERRED EXPENDITURE ACCOUNTS, INCLUDING
 1724         CAPITAL EXPENDITURES AND DEFERRED MAINTENANCE, SUBJECT
 1725         TO LIMITS ON FUNDING CONTAINED IN OUR GOVERNING
 1726         DOCUMENTS. BECAUSE THE OWNERS HAVE NOT ELECTED TO
 1727         PROVIDE FOR RESERVE ACCOUNTS PURSUANT TO SECTION
 1728         720.303(6), FLORIDA STATUTES, THESE FUNDS ARE NOT
 1729         SUBJECT TO THE RESTRICTIONS ON USE OF SUCH FUNDS SET
 1730         FORTH IN THAT STATUTE, NOR ARE RESERVES CALCULATED IN
 1731         ACCORDANCE WITH THAT STATUTE.
 1732  
 1733         (d) An association shall be deemed to have provided for
 1734  reserve accounts if when reserve accounts have been initially
 1735  established by the developer or if when the membership of the
 1736  association affirmatively elects to provide for reserves. If
 1737  reserve accounts are not initially provided for by the
 1738  developer, the membership of the association may elect to do so
 1739  upon the affirmative approval of not less than a majority of the
 1740  total voting interests of the association. Such approval may be
 1741  obtained attained by vote of the members at a duly called
 1742  meeting of the membership or by the upon a written consent of
 1743  executed by not less than a majority of the total voting
 1744  interests in the community. The approval action of the
 1745  membership shall state that reserve accounts shall be provided
 1746  for in the budget and shall designate the components for which
 1747  the reserve accounts are to be established. Upon approval by the
 1748  membership, the board of directors shall include provide for the
 1749  required reserve accounts for inclusion in the budget in the
 1750  next fiscal year following the approval and in each year
 1751  thereafter. Once established as provided in this subsection, the
 1752  reserve accounts shall be funded or maintained or shall have
 1753  their funding waived in the manner provided in paragraph (f).
 1754         (f) After one or more Once a reserve account or reserve
 1755  accounts are established, the membership of the association,
 1756  upon a majority vote at a meeting at which a quorum is present,
 1757  may provide for no reserves or less reserves than required by
 1758  this section. If a meeting of the unit owners has been called to
 1759  determine whether to waive or reduce the funding of reserves and
 1760  no such result is achieved or a quorum is not present, the
 1761  reserves as included in the budget shall go into effect. After
 1762  the turnover, the developer may vote its voting interest to
 1763  waive or reduce the funding of reserves. Any vote taken pursuant
 1764  to this subsection to waive or reduce reserves is shall be
 1765  applicable only to one budget year.
 1766         (g) Funding formulas for reserves authorized by this
 1767  section shall be based on either a separate analysis of each of
 1768  the required assets or a pooled analysis of two or more of the
 1769  required assets.
 1770         1. If the association maintains separate reserve accounts
 1771  for each of the required assets, the amount of the contribution
 1772  to each reserve account is shall be the sum of the following two
 1773  calculations:
 1774         a. The total amount necessary, if any, to bring a negative
 1775  component balance to zero.
 1776         b. The total estimated deferred maintenance expense or
 1777  estimated replacement cost of the reserve component less the
 1778  estimated balance of the reserve component as of the beginning
 1779  of the period for which the budget will be in effect. The
 1780  remainder, if greater than zero, shall be divided by the
 1781  estimated remaining useful life of the component.
 1782  
 1783  The formula may be adjusted each year for changes in estimates
 1784  and deferred maintenance performed during the year and may
 1785  include factors such as inflation and earnings on invested
 1786  funds.
 1787         2. If the association maintains a pooled account of two or
 1788  more of the required reserve assets, the amount of the
 1789  contribution to the pooled reserve account as disclosed on the
 1790  proposed budget may shall not be less than that required to
 1791  ensure that the balance on hand at the beginning of the period
 1792  for which the budget will go into effect plus the projected
 1793  annual cash inflows over the remaining estimated useful life of
 1794  all of the assets that make up the reserve pool are equal to or
 1795  greater than the projected annual cash outflows over the
 1796  remaining estimated useful lives of all of the assets that make
 1797  up the reserve pool, based on the current reserve analysis. The
 1798  projected annual cash inflows may include estimated earnings
 1799  from investment of principal and accounts receivable minus the
 1800  allowance for doubtful accounts. The reserve funding formula may
 1801  shall not include any type of balloon payments.
 1802         (10) RECALL OF DIRECTORS.—
 1803         (c)1. If the declaration, articles of incorporation, or
 1804  bylaws specifically provide, the members may also recall and
 1805  remove a board director or directors by a vote taken at a
 1806  meeting. If so provided in the governing documents, a special
 1807  meeting of the members to recall a director or directors of the
 1808  board of administration may be called by 10 percent of the
 1809  voting interests giving notice of the meeting as required for a
 1810  meeting of members, and the notice shall state the purpose of
 1811  the meeting. Electronic transmission may not be used as a method
 1812  of giving notice of a meeting called in whole or in part for
 1813  this purpose.
 1814         2. The board shall duly notice and hold a board meeting
 1815  within 5 full business days after the adjournment of the member
 1816  meeting to recall one or more directors. At the meeting, the
 1817  board shall certify the recall, in which case such member or
 1818  members shall be recalled effective immediately and shall turn
 1819  over to the board within 5 full business days any and all
 1820  records and property of the association in their possession, or
 1821  shall proceed as set forth in paragraph subparagraph (d).
 1822         (d) If the board determines not to certify the written
 1823  agreement or written ballots to recall a director or directors
 1824  of the board or does not certify the recall by a vote at a
 1825  meeting, the board shall, within 5 full business days after the
 1826  meeting, initiate file with the department a petition for
 1827  binding arbitration pursuant to the applicable procedures in s.
 1828  720.507 ss. 718.112(2)(j) and 718.1255 and the rules adopted
 1829  thereunder. For the purposes of this section, the members who
 1830  voted at the meeting or who executed the agreement in writing
 1831  shall constitute one party under the petition for arbitration.
 1832  If the arbitrator certifies the recall as to any director or
 1833  directors of the board, the recall will be effective upon
 1834  mailing of the final order of arbitration to the association.
 1835  The director or directors so recalled shall deliver to the board
 1836  any and all records of the association in their possession
 1837  within 5 full business days after the effective date of the
 1838  recall.
 1839         (12) COMPENSATION PROHIBITED.—A director, officer, or
 1840  committee member of the association may not receive, directly or
 1841  indirectly, any salary or compensation from the association for
 1842  the performance of duties as a director, officer, or committee
 1843  member and may not in any other way benefit financially from
 1844  service to the association. This subsection does not preclude:
 1845         (a) Participation by such person in a financial benefit
 1846  accruing to all or a significant number of members as a result
 1847  of actions lawfully taken by the board or a committee of which
 1848  he or she is a member, including, but not limited to, routine
 1849  maintenance, repair, or replacement of community assets.
 1850         (b) Reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses incurred by
 1851  such person on behalf of the association, subject to approval in
 1852  accordance with procedures established by the association’s
 1853  governing documents or, in the absence of such procedures, in
 1854  accordance with an approval process established by the board.
 1855         (c) Any recovery of insurance proceeds derived from a
 1856  policy of insurance maintained by the association for the
 1857  benefit of its members.
 1858         (d) Any fee or compensation authorized in the governing
 1859  documents.
 1860         (e) Any fee or compensation authorized in advance by a vote
 1861  of a majority of the voting interests voting in person or by
 1862  proxy at a meeting of the members.
 1863         (f) A developer or its representative from serving as a
 1864  director, officer, or committee member of the association and
 1865  benefiting financially from service to the association.
 1866         (13) BORROWING.—The borrowing of funds or committing to a
 1867  line of credit by the board of administration shall be
 1868  considered a special assessment, and any meeting of the board of
 1869  administration to discuss such matters must be noticed as
 1870  provided in paragraph (2)(c). The board may not borrow funds or
 1871  enter into a line of credit for any purpose unless the specific
 1872  use of the funds from the loan or line of credit is set forth in
 1873  the notice of meeting with the same specificity as required for
 1874  a special assessment or unless the borrowing or line of credit
 1875  has received the prior approval of at least two-thirds of the
 1876  voting interests of the association.
 1877         (14) TRANSFER FEES.—No charge may be made by the
 1878  association or anyone on its behalf in connection with the sale,
 1879  mortgage, lease, sublease, or other transfer of a parcel.
 1880  Nothing in this subsection may be construed to prohibit an
 1881  association from requiring as a condition to permitting the
 1882  letting or renting of a parcel, when the association has such
 1883  authority in the documents, the depositing into an escrow
 1884  account maintained by the association of a security deposit in
 1885  an amount not to exceed the equivalent of 1 month’s rent. The
 1886  security deposit shall protect against damages to the common
 1887  areas or association property. Within 15 days after a tenant
 1888  vacates the premises, the association shall refund the full
 1889  security deposit or give written notice to the tenant of any
 1890  claim made against the security. Disputes under this subsection
 1891  shall be handled in the same fashion as disputes concerning
 1892  security deposits under s. 83.49.
 1893         Section 16. Paragraph (a) of subsection (2) of section
 1894  720.304, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
 1895         720.304 Right of owners to peaceably assemble; display of
 1896  flag; SLAPP suits prohibited.—
 1897         (2)(a) Any homeowner may display within the boundaries of
 1898  the homeowner’s parcel one portable, removable United States
 1899  flag or official flag of the State of Florida in a respectful
 1900  manner, and one portable, removable official flag, in a
 1901  respectful way and, on Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day,
 1902  Independence Day, and Veterans’ Day, may display in a respectful
 1903  way portable, removable official flags manner, not larger than 4
 1904  1/2 feet by 6 feet, which represent represents the United States
 1905  Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard, or a POW
 1906  MIA flag, regardless of any declaration covenants, restrictions,
 1907  bylaws, rules, or requirements dealing with flags or decorations
 1908  of the association.
 1909         Section 17. Subsection (2) of section 720.305, Florida
 1910  Statutes, is amended to read:
 1911         720.305 Obligations of members; remedies at law or in
 1912  equity; levy of fines and suspension of use rights.—
 1913         (2) If the governing documents so provide, an association
 1914  may suspend, for a reasonable period of time, the rights of a
 1915  member or a member’s tenants, guests, or invitees, or both, to
 1916  use common areas and facilities and may levy reasonable fines of
 1917  up to, not to exceed $100 per violation, against any member or
 1918  any tenant, guest, or invitee. A fine may be levied on the basis
 1919  of each day of a continuing violation, with a single notice and
 1920  opportunity for hearing, except that no such fine may shall
 1921  exceed $1,000 in the aggregate unless otherwise provided in the
 1922  governing documents. A fine of less than $1,000 may shall not
 1923  become a lien against a parcel. In any action to recover a fine,
 1924  the prevailing party is entitled to collect its reasonable
 1925  attorney’s fees and costs from the nonprevailing party as
 1926  determined by the court.
 1927         (a) A fine or suspension may not be imposed without notice
 1928  of at least 14 days’ notice days to the person sought to be
 1929  fined or suspended and an opportunity for a hearing before a
 1930  committee of at least three members appointed by the board who
 1931  are not officers, directors, or employees of the association, or
 1932  the spouse, parent, child, brother, or sister of an officer,
 1933  director, or employee. If the committee, by majority vote, does
 1934  not approve a proposed fine or suspension, it may not be
 1935  imposed.
 1936         (b) The requirements of this subsection do not apply to the
 1937  imposition of suspensions or fines upon any member because of
 1938  the failure of the member to pay assessments or other charges
 1939  when due if such action is authorized by the governing
 1940  documents.
 1941         (c) Suspension of common-area-use rights do shall not
 1942  impair the right of an owner or tenant of a parcel to have
 1943  vehicular and pedestrian ingress to and egress from the parcel,
 1944  including, but not limited to, the right to park.
 1945         Section 18. Subsections (8) and (9) of section 720.306,
 1946  Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
 1947         720.306 Meetings of members; voting and election
 1948  procedures; amendments.—
 1949         (8) PROXY VOTING.—The members have the right, unless
 1950  otherwise provided in this subsection or in the governing
 1951  documents, to vote in person or by proxy.
 1952         (a) To be valid, a proxy must be dated, must state the
 1953  date, time, and place of the meeting for which it was given, and
 1954  must be signed by the authorized person who executed the proxy.
 1955  A proxy is effective only for the specific meeting for which it
 1956  was originally given, as the meeting may lawfully be adjourned
 1957  and reconvened from time to time, and automatically expires 90
 1958  days after the date of the meeting for which it was originally
 1959  given. A proxy is revocable at any time at the pleasure of the
 1960  person who executes it. If the proxy form expressly so provides,
 1961  any proxy holder may appoint, in writing, a substitute to act in
 1962  his or her place.
 1963         (b) If the governing documents permit voting by secret
 1964  ballot by members who are not in attendance at a meeting of the
 1965  members for the election of directors, such ballots shall be
 1966  placed in an inner envelope with no identifying markings and
 1967  mailed or delivered to the association in an outer envelope
 1968  bearing identifying information reflecting the name of the
 1969  member, the lot or parcel for which the vote is being cast, and
 1970  the signature of the lot or parcel owner casting that ballot.
 1971  After the eligibility of the member to vote and confirmation
 1972  that no other ballot has been submitted for that lot or parcel,
 1973  the inner envelope shall be removed from the outer envelope
 1974  bearing the identification information, placed with the ballots
 1975  which were personally cast, and opened when the ballots are
 1976  counted. If more than one ballot is submitted for a lot or
 1977  parcel, the ballots for that lot or parcel shall be
 1978  disqualified. Any vote by ballot received after the closing of
 1979  the balloting may not be considered.
 1980         (9) ELECTIONS; BOARD MEMBER CERTIFICATION.—
 1981         (a) Elections of directors must be conducted in accordance
 1982  with the procedures set forth in the governing documents of the
 1983  association. All members of the association are shall be
 1984  eligible to serve on the board of directors, and a member may
 1985  nominate himself or herself as a candidate for the board at a
 1986  meeting where the election is to be held or, if the election
 1987  process allows voting by absentee ballot, in advance of the
 1988  balloting. Except as otherwise provided in the governing
 1989  documents, boards of directors must be elected by a plurality of
 1990  the votes cast by eligible voters. Any election dispute between
 1991  a member and an association must be submitted to mandatory
 1992  binding arbitration with the division. Such proceedings shall be
 1993  conducted in the manner provided by s. 720.507 718.1255 and the
 1994  procedural rules adopted by the division.
 1995         (b) Within 30 days after being elected to the board of
 1996  directors, a new director shall certify in writing to the
 1997  secretary of the association that he or she has read the
 1998  association’s declarations of covenants and restrictions,
 1999  articles of incorporation, bylaws, and current written policies
 2000  and that he or she will work to uphold each to the best of his
 2001  or her ability and will faithfully discharge his or her
 2002  fiduciary responsibility to the association’s members. Failure
 2003  to timely file such statement shall automatically disqualify the
 2004  director from service on the association’s board of directors.
 2005  The secretary shall cause the association to retain a director’s
 2006  certification for inspection by the members for 5 years after a
 2007  director’s election. Failure to have such certification on file
 2008  does not affect the validity of any appropriate action.
 2009         Section 19. Section (8) is added to section 720.3085,
 2010  Florida Statutes, to read:
 2011         720.3085 Payment for assessments; lien claims.—
 2012         (8) During the pendency of any foreclosure action of a
 2013  parcel within a homeowners’ association, if the home is occupied
 2014  by a tenant and the parcel owner is delinquent in the payment of
 2015  regular assessments, the association may demand that the tenant
 2016  pay to the association the future regular assessments related to
 2017  the parcel. The demand shall be continuing in nature, and upon
 2018  demand the tenant shall continue to pay the regular assessments
 2019  to the association until the association releases the tenant or
 2020  the tenant discontinues tenancy in the unit. The association
 2021  shall mail written notice to the parcel owner of the
 2022  association’s demand that the tenant pay regular assessments to
 2023  the association. The tenant shall not be liable for increases in
 2024  the amount of the regular assessment due unless the tenant was
 2025  reasonably notified of the increase prior to the day that the
 2026  rent is due. The tenant shall be given a credit against rents
 2027  due to the parcel owner in the amount of assessments paid to the
 2028  association. The association shall, upon request, provide the
 2029  tenant with written receipts for payments made. The association
 2030  may issue notices under s. 83.56 and may sue for eviction under
 2031  ss. 83.59-83.625 as if the association were a landlord under
 2032  part II of chapter 83 should the tenant fail to pay an
 2033  assessment. However, the association shall not otherwise be
 2034  considered a landlord under chapter 83 and shall specifically
 2035  not have any duty under s. 83.51. The tenant shall not, by
 2036  virtue of payment of assessments, have any of the rights of a
 2037  unit owner to vote in any election or to examine the books and
 2038  records of the association. A court may supersede the effect of
 2039  this subsection by appointing a receiver.
 2040         Section 20. Section 720.3095, Florida Statutes, is created
 2041  to read:
 2042         720.3095 Management and maintenance agreements entered into
 2043  by the association.—
 2044         (1) A written contract between a party contracting to
 2045  provide maintenance or management services and an association
 2046  which provides for operation, maintenance, or management of a
 2047  homeowners’ association is not valid or enforceable unless the
 2048  contract:
 2049         (a) Specifies the services, obligations, and
 2050  responsibilities of the party contracting to provide maintenance
 2051  or management services to the unit owners.
 2052         (b) Specifies those costs incurred in the performance of
 2053  those services, obligations, or responsibilities which are to be
 2054  reimbursed by the association to the party contracting to
 2055  provide maintenance or management services.
 2056         (c) Provides an indication of how often each service,
 2057  obligation, or responsibility is to be performed, whether stated
 2058  for each service, obligation, or responsibility or in categories
 2059  thereof.
 2060         (d) Specifies a minimum number of personnel to be employed
 2061  by the party contracting to provide maintenance or management
 2062  services for the purpose of providing service to the
 2063  association.
 2064         (e) Discloses any financial or ownership interest which the
 2065  developer, if the developer is in control of the association,
 2066  holds with regard to the party contracting to provide
 2067  maintenance or management services.
 2068         (f) Discloses any financial or ownership interest a board
 2069  member or any party providing maintenance or management services
 2070  to the association holds with the contracting party.
 2071         (2) In any case in which the party contracting to provide
 2072  maintenance or management services fails to provide such
 2073  services in accordance with the contract, the association is
 2074  authorized to procure such services from some other party and
 2075  shall be entitled to collect any fees or charges paid for
 2076  services performed by another party from the party contracting
 2077  to provide maintenance or management services.
 2078         (3) Any services or obligations not stated on the face of
 2079  the contract shall be unenforceable.
 2080         (4) Notwithstanding the fact that certain vendors contract
 2081  with associations to maintain equipment or property which is
 2082  made available to serve unit owners, it is the intent of the
 2083  Legislature that this section applies to contracts for
 2084  maintenance or management services for which the association
 2085  pays compensation. This section does not apply to contracts for
 2086  services or property made available for the convenience of unit
 2087  owners by lessees or licensees of the association, such as coin
 2088  operated laundry, food, soft drink, or telephone vendors; cable
 2089  television operators; retail store operators; businesses;
 2090  restaurants; or similar vendors.
 2091         Section 21. Section 720.3096, Florida Statutes, is created
 2092  to read:
 2093         720.3096 Limitation on agreements entered into by the
 2094  association.—As to any contract or other transaction between an
 2095  association and one or more of its directors or any other
 2096  corporation, firm, association, or entity in which one or more
 2097  of its directors are directors or officers or are financially
 2098  interested:
 2099         (1) The association must comply with the requirements of s.
 2100  617.0832.
 2101         (2) The disclosures required by s. 617.0832 must be entered
 2102  into the written minutes of the meeting.
 2103         (3) Approval of the contract or other transaction requires
 2104  an affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of the directors
 2105  present.
 2106         (4) At the next regular or special meeting of the members,
 2107  the existence of the contract or other transaction must be
 2108  disclosed to the members. Upon motion of any member, the
 2109  contract or transaction shall be brought up for a vote and may
 2110  be canceled by a majority vote of the members present. If the
 2111  members cancel the contract, the association is liable for only
 2112  the reasonable value of goods and services provided up to the
 2113  time of cancellation and is not liable for any termination fee,
 2114  liquidated damages, or other form of penalty for such
 2115  cancellation.
 2116         Section 22. Section 720.311, Florida Statutes, is repealed.
 2117         Section 23. Paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of section
 2118  720.401, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
 2119         720.401 Prospective purchasers subject to association
 2120  membership requirement; disclosure required; covenants;
 2121  assessments; contract cancellation.—
 2122         (1)(a) A prospective parcel owner in a community must be
 2123  presented a disclosure summary before executing the contract for
 2124  sale. The disclosure summary must be in a form substantially
 2125  similar to the following form:
 2126  
 2127                         DISCLOSURE SUMMARY                        
 2128                                 FOR                               
 2129                         (NAME OF COMMUNITY)                       
 2130  
 2131         1. AS A PURCHASER OF PROPERTY IN THIS COMMUNITY, YOU WILL
 2132  BE OBLIGATED TO BE A MEMBER OF A HOMEOWNERS’ ASSOCIATION.
 2133         2. THERE HAVE BEEN OR WILL BE RECORDED RESTRICTIVE
 2134  COVENANTS GOVERNING THE USE AND OCCUPANCY OF PROPERTIES IN THIS
 2135  COMMUNITY.
 2136         3. YOU WILL BE OBLIGATED TO PAY ASSESSMENTS TO THE
 2137  ASSOCIATION. ASSESSMENTS MAY BE SUBJECT TO PERIODIC CHANGE. IF
 2138  APPLICABLE, THE CURRENT AMOUNT IS $.... PER ..... YOU WILL ALSO
 2139  BE OBLIGATED TO PAY ANY SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS IMPOSED BY THE
 2140  ASSOCIATION. SUCH SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS MAY BE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
 2141  IF APPLICABLE, THE CURRENT AMOUNT IS $.... PER .....
 2142         4. YOU MAY BE OBLIGATED TO PAY SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS TO THE
 2143  RESPECTIVE MUNICIPALITY, COUNTY, OR SPECIAL DISTRICT. ALL
 2144  ASSESSMENTS ARE SUBJECT TO PERIODIC CHANGE.
 2145         5. YOUR FAILURE TO PAY SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS OR ASSESSMENTS
 2146  LEVIED BY A MANDATORY HOMEOWNERS’ ASSOCIATION MAY COULD RESULT
 2147  IN A LIEN ON YOUR PROPERTY.
 2148         6. THERE MAY BE AN OBLIGATION TO PAY RENT OR LAND USE FEES
 2149  FOR RECREATIONAL OR OTHER COMMONLY USED FACILITIES AS AN
 2150  OBLIGATION OF MEMBERSHIP IN THE HOMEOWNERS’ ASSOCIATION. IF
 2151  APPLICABLE, THE CURRENT AMOUNT IS $.... PER .....
 2152         7. IF THE ASSOCIATION IS STILL UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE
 2153  DEVELOPER, THE DEVELOPER MAY HAVE THE RIGHT TO AMEND THE
 2154  RESTRICTIVE COVENANTS WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE ASSOCIATION
 2155  MEMBERSHIP OR THE APPROVAL OF THE PARCEL OWNERS.
 2156         8. THE STATEMENTS CONTAINED IN THIS DISCLOSURE FORM ARE
 2157  ONLY SUMMARY IN NATURE, AND, AS A PROSPECTIVE PURCHASER, YOU
 2158  SHOULD REFER TO THE COVENANTS AND THE ASSOCIATION GOVERNING
 2159  DOCUMENTS BEFORE PURCHASING PROPERTY.
 2160         9. THESE DOCUMENTS ARE EITHER MATTERS OF PUBLIC RECORD AND
 2161  CAN BE OBTAINED FROM THE RECORD OFFICE IN THE COUNTY WHERE THE
 2162  PROPERTY IS LOCATED, OR, IF ARE NOT RECORDED, AND CAN BE
 2163  OBTAINED FROM THE DEVELOPER.
 2164         10. THERE MAY BE AN OBLIGATION TO PAY ASSESSMENTS (TAXES OR
 2165  FEES) TO A RESIDENTIAL COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT FOR THE
 2166  PURPOSE OF RETIRING BOND OBLIGATIONS USED TO CONSTRUCT
 2167  INFRASTRUCTURE OR OTHER IMPROVEMENTS.
 2168         11. YOU ARE JOINTLY AND SEVERALLY LIABLE WITH THE PREVIOUS
 2169  OWNER OF YOUR PROPERTY FOR ALL UNPAID ASSESSMENTS THAT CAME DUE
 2170  UP TO THE TIME OF TRANSFER OF TITLE.
 2171  
 2172         DATE:                                          PURCHASER:
 2173                                                        PURCHASER:
 2174  
 2175  The disclosure must be supplied by the developer, or by the
 2176  parcel owner if the sale is by an owner that is not the
 2177  developer. Any contract or agreement for sale shall refer to and
 2178  incorporate the disclosure summary and shall include, in
 2179  prominent language, a statement that the potential buyer should
 2180  not execute the contract or agreement until he or she has they
 2181  have received and read the disclosure summary required by this
 2182  section.
 2183         Section 24. Part IV of chapter 720, Florida Statutes,
 2184  consisting of sections 720.501, 720.502, 720.503, 720.504,
 2185  720.505, 720.506, 720.507, 720.508, 720.509, and 720.510, is
 2186  created to read:
 2187                               PART IV                             
 2188                         DISPUTE RESOLUTION                        
 2189         720.501 Short title.—This part may be cited as the “Home
 2190  Court Advantage Dispute Resolution Act.”
 2191         720.502 Legislative findings.—The Legislature finds that
 2192  alternative dispute resolution has made progress in reducing
 2193  court dockets and trials and in offering a more efficient, cost
 2194  effective option to litigation.
 2195         720.503 Applicability of this part.—
 2196         (1) Unless otherwise provided in this part, before a
 2197  dispute described in this part between a homeowners’ association
 2198  and a parcel owner or owners, or a dispute between parcel owners
 2199  within the same homeowners’ association, may be filed in court,
 2200  the dispute is subject to presuit mediation pursuant to s.
 2201  720.505 or presuit arbitration pursuant to s. 720.507, at the
 2202  option of the aggrieved party who initiates the first formal
 2203  action of alternative dispute resolution under this part. The
 2204  parties may mutually agree to participate in both presuit
 2205  mediation and presuit arbitration prior to suit being filed by
 2206  either party.
 2207         (2) Unless otherwise provided in this part, the mediation
 2208  and arbitration provisions of this part are limited to disputes
 2209  between an association and a parcel owner or owners or between
 2210  parcel owners regarding the use of or changes to the parcel or
 2211  the common areas under the governing documents and other
 2212  disputes involving violations of the recorded declaration of
 2213  covenants or other governing documents, disputes arising
 2214  concerning enforcement of the governing documents or any
 2215  amendments thereto, and disputes involving access to the
 2216  official records of the association. A dispute concerning title
 2217  to any parcel or common area, interpretation or enforcement of
 2218  any warranty, the levy of a fee or assessment, the collection of
 2219  an assessment levied against a party, the eviction or other
 2220  removal of a tenant from a parcel, alleged breaches of fiduciary
 2221  duty by one or more directors, or any action to collect mortgage
 2222  indebtedness or to foreclosure a mortgage shall not be subject
 2223  to the provisions of this part.
 2224         (3) A dispute arising after the effective date of this part
 2225  involving the election of the board of directors for an
 2226  association or the recall of any member of the board or officer
 2227  of the association is ineligible for presuit mediation under s.
 2228  720.505 and subject to presuit arbitration under s. 720.507.
 2229         (4) In any dispute subject to presuit mediation or presuit
 2230  arbitration under this part for which emergency relief is
 2231  required, a motion for temporary injunctive relief may be filed
 2232  with the court without first complying with the presuit
 2233  mediation or presuit arbitration requirements of this part.
 2234  After any issues regarding emergency or temporary relief are
 2235  resolved, the court may refer the parties to a mediation program
 2236  administered by the courts or require mediation or arbitration
 2237  under this part.
 2238         (5) The mailing of a statutory notice of presuit mediation
 2239  or presuit arbitration as provided in this part shall toll the
 2240  applicable statute of limitations during the pendency of the
 2241  mediation or arbitration and for a period of 30 days following
 2242  the conclusion of either proceeding. The 30-day period shall
 2243  start upon the filing of the mediator’s notice of impasse or the
 2244  arbitrator’s written arbitration award. If the parties mutually
 2245  agree to participate in both presuit mediation and presuit
 2246  arbitration under this part, the tolling of the applicable
 2247  statute of limitations for each such alternative dispute
 2248  resolution proceeding shall be consecutive.
 2249         720.504 Notice of dispute.—Prior to giving the statutory
 2250  notice to proceed under presuit mediation or presuit arbitration
 2251  under this part, the aggrieved association or parcel owner must
 2252  first provide written notice of the dispute to the responding
 2253  party in the manner provided by this section.
 2254         (1) The notice of dispute shall be delivered to the
 2255  responding party by certified mail, return receipt requested, or
 2256  in person, and the person making delivery shall file with the
 2257  notice of mediation either the proof of receipt of mailing or an
 2258  affidavit stating the date and time of the delivery of the
 2259  notice of dispute. If the notice is delivered by certified mail,
 2260  return receipt requested, and the responding party fails or
 2261  refuses to accept delivery, notice shall be considered properly
 2262  delivered for purposes of this section on the date of the first
 2263  attempted delivery.
 2264         (2) The notice of dispute shall state with specificity the
 2265  nature of the dispute, including the date, time, and location of
 2266  each event that is the subject of the dispute and the action
 2267  requested to resolve the dispute. The notice shall also include
 2268  the text of any provision in the governing documents, including
 2269  the rules and regulations, of the association which form the
 2270  basis of the dispute.
 2271         (3) Unless the parties otherwise agree in writing to a
 2272  longer time period, the party receiving the notice of dispute
 2273  shall have 10 days following the date of receipt of notice to
 2274  resolve the dispute. If the alleged dispute has not been
 2275  resolved within the 10-day period, the aggrieved party may
 2276  proceed under this part at any time thereafter within the
 2277  applicable statute of limitations.
 2278         (4) A copy of the notice and the text of the provision in
 2279  the governing documents, or the rules and regulations, of the
 2280  association which are the basis of the dispute, along with proof
 2281  of service of the notice of dispute and a copy of any written
 2282  responses received from the responding party, shall be included
 2283  as an exhibit to any demand for mediation or arbitration under
 2284  this part.
 2285         720.505 Presuit mediation.—
 2286         (1) Disputes between an association and a parcel owner or
 2287  owners or between parcel owners must be submitted to presuit
 2288  mediation before the dispute may be filed in court; or, at the
 2289  election of the party initiating the presuit procedures, such
 2290  dispute may be submitted to presuit arbitration pursuant to s.
 2291  720.507 before the dispute may be filed in court. An aggrieved
 2292  party who elects to use the presuit mediation procedure under
 2293  this section shall serve on the responding party a written
 2294  notice of presuit mediation in substantially the following form:
 2295  
 2296                STATUTORY NOTICE OF PRESUIT MEDIATION              
 2297  
 2298         THE ALLEGED AGGRIEVED PARTY, ____________________,
 2299         HEREBY DEMANDS THAT ____________________, AS THE
 2300         RESPONDING PARTY, ENGAGE IN MANDATORY PRESUIT
 2301         MEDIATION IN CONNECTION WITH THE FOLLOWING DISPUTE(S)
 2302         WITH YOU, WHICH BY STATUTE ARE OF A TYPE THAT ARE
 2303         SUBJECT TO PRESUIT MEDIATION:
 2304  
 2305         ATTACHED IS A COPY OF THE PRIOR NOTICE OF VIOLATION
 2306         WHICH DETAILS THE SPECIFIC NATURE OF THE DISPUTE(S) TO
 2307         BE MEDIATED AND THE AUTHORITY SUPPORTING A FINDING OF
 2308         A VIOLATION AS TO EACH DISPUTE, INCLUDING, BUT NOT
 2309         LIMITED TO, THE APPLICABLE PROVISIONS OF THE GOVERNING
 2310         DOCUMENTS OF THE ASSOCIATION BELIEVED TO APPLY TO THE
 2311         DISPUTE BETWEEN THE PARTIES, AND A COPY OF THE NOTICE
 2312         YOU RECEIVED OR REFUSED AND COPIES OF ANY WRITTEN
 2313         RESPONSE(S) RECEIVED FROM YOU ABOUT THIS DISPUTE.
 2314  
 2315         PURSUANT TO PART IV OF CHAPTER 720, FLORIDA STATUTES,
 2316         THIS DEMAND TO RESOLVE THE DISPUTE THROUGH PRESUIT
 2317         MEDIATION IS REQUIRED BEFORE A LAWSUIT CAN BE FILED
 2318         CONCERNING THE DISPUTE. PURSUANT TO FLORIDA STATUTES,
 2319         THE PARTIES ARE REQUIRED TO ENGAGE IN PRESUIT
 2320         MEDIATION WITH A NEUTRAL THIRD-PARTY MEDIATOR IN ORDER
 2321         TO ATTEMPT TO RESOLVE THIS DISPUTE WITHOUT COURT
 2322         ACTION, AND THE AGGRIEVED PARTY DEMANDS THAT YOU
 2323         PARTICIPATE IN THIS PROCESS. UNLESS YOU RESPOND TO
 2324         THIS NOTICE BY FILING WITH THE AGGRIEVED PARTY A
 2325         NOTICE OF OPTING OUT AND DEMAND FOR ARBITRATION UNDER
 2326         SECTION 720.506, FLORIDA STATUTES, YOUR FAILURE TO
 2327         PARTICIPATE IN THE MEDIATION PROCESS MAY RESULT IN A
 2328         LAWSUIT BEING FILED IN COURT AGAINST YOU WITHOUT
 2329         FURTHER NOTICE.
 2330  
 2331         THE PROCESS OF MEDIATION INVOLVES A SUPERVISED
 2332         NEGOTIATION PROCESS IN WHICH A TRAINED, NEUTRAL THIRD
 2333         PARTY MEDIATOR MEETS WITH BOTH PARTIES AND ASSISTS
 2334         THEM IN EXPLORING POSSIBLE OPPORTUNITIES FOR RESOLVING
 2335         PART OR ALL OF THE DISPUTE. BY AGREEING TO PARTICIPATE
 2336         IN PRESUIT MEDIATION, YOU ARE NOT BOUND IN ANY WAY TO
 2337         CHANGE YOUR POSITION. FURTHERMORE, THE MEDIATOR HAS NO
 2338         AUTHORITY TO MAKE ANY DECISIONS IN THIS MATTER OR TO
 2339         DETERMINE WHO IS RIGHT OR WRONG AND MERELY ACTS AS A
 2340         FACILITATOR TO ENSURE THAT EACH PARTY UNDERSTANDS THE
 2341         POSITION OF THE OTHER PARTY AND THAT ALL OPTIONS FOR
 2342         REASONABLE SETTLEMENT ARE FULLY EXPLORED.
 2343  
 2344         IF AN AGREEMENT IS REACHED, IT SHALL BE REDUCED TO
 2345         WRITING AND BECOME A BINDING AND ENFORCEABLE CONTRACT
 2346         BETWEEN THE PARTIES. A RESOLUTION OF ONE OR MORE
 2347         DISPUTES IN THIS FASHION AVOIDS THE NEED TO LITIGATE
 2348         THESE ISSUES IN COURT. THE FAILURE TO REACH AN
 2349         AGREEMENT, OR THE FAILURE OF A PARTY TO PARTICIPATE IN
 2350         THE PROCESS, RESULTS IN THE MEDIATOR DECLARING AN
 2351         IMPASSE IN THE MEDIATION, AFTER WHICH THE AGGRIEVED
 2352         PARTY MAY PROCEED TO FILE A LAWSUIT ON ALL
 2353         OUTSTANDING, UNSETTLED DISPUTES. IF YOU HAVE FAILED OR
 2354         REFUSED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE ENTIRE MEDIATION
 2355         PROCESS, YOU WILL NOT BE ENTITLED TO RECOVER
 2356         ATTORNEY’S FEES IF YOU PREVAIL IN A SUBSEQUENT COURT
 2357         PROCEEDING INVOLVING THE SAME DISPUTE.
 2358  
 2359         THE AGGRIEVED PARTY HAS SELECTED FROM A LIST OF
 2360         ELIGIBLE, QUALIFIED MEDIATORS AT LEAST FIVE CERTIFIED
 2361         MEDIATORS WHO THE AGGRIEVED PARTY BELIEVES TO BE
 2362         NEUTRAL AND QUALIFIED TO MEDIATE THE DISPUTE. YOU HAVE
 2363         THE RIGHT TO SELECT ANY ONE OF THESE MEDIATORS. THE
 2364         FACT THAT ONE PARTY MAY BE FAMILIAR WITH ONE OR MORE
 2365         OF THE LISTED MEDIATORS DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE
 2366         MEDIATOR CANNOT ACT AS A NEUTRAL AND IMPARTIAL
 2367         FACILITATOR. THE NAMES OF THE MEDIATORS THAT THE
 2368         AGGRIEVED PARTY HEREBY SUBMITS TO YOU FROM WHOM YOU
 2369         MAY CHOOSE ONE, AND THEIR CURRENT ADDRESSES, TELEPHONE
 2370         NUMBERS, AND HOURLY RATES ARE AS FOLLOWS:
 2371  
 2372         (LIST THE NAMES, ADDRESSES, TELEPHONE NUMBERS, AND
 2373         HOURLY RATES OF THE MEDIATORS. OTHER PERTINENT
 2374         INFORMATION ABOUT THE BACKGROUND OF THE MEDIATORS MAY
 2375         BE INCLUDED AS AN ATTACHMENT.)
 2376  
 2377         YOU MAY CONTACT THE OFFICES OF THESE MEDIATORS TO
 2378         CONFIRM THAT EACH OF THE ABOVE-LISTED MEDIATORS WILL
 2379         BE NEUTRAL AND WILL NOT SHOW ANY FAVORITISM TOWARD
 2380         EITHER PARTY. UNLESS OTHERWISE AGREED TO BY THE
 2381         PARTIES, PART IV OF CHAPTER 720, FLORIDA STATUTES,
 2382         REQUIRES THAT THE PARTIES SHARE THE COSTS OF PRESUIT
 2383         MEDIATION EQUALLY, INCLUDING THE FEE CHARGED BY THE
 2384         MEDIATOR. AN AVERAGE MEDIATION MAY REQUIRE 3 TO 4
 2385         HOURS OF THE MEDIATOR’S TIME, INCLUDING SOME
 2386         PREPARATION TIME, AND THE PARTIES WOULD NEED TO
 2387         EQUALLY SHARE THE MEDIATOR’S FEES AS WELL AS BE
 2388         RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL OF THEIR OWN ATTORNEY’S FEES IF
 2389         THEY CHOOSE TO EMPLOY AN ATTORNEY IN CONNECTION WITH
 2390         THE MEDIATION. HOWEVER, USE OF AN ATTORNEY IS NOT
 2391         REQUIRED AND IS AT THE OPTION OF EACH PARTY. THE
 2392         MEDIATORS MAY REQUIRE THE ADVANCE PAYMENT OF SOME OR
 2393         ALL OF THE ANTICIPATED FEES. THE AGGRIEVED PARTY
 2394         HEREBY AGREES TO PAY OR PREPAY ONE-HALF OF THE
 2395         SELECTED MEDIATOR’S ESTIMATED FEES AND TO FORWARD THIS
 2396         AMOUNT OR SUCH OTHER REASONABLE ADVANCE DEPOSITS AS
 2397         THE MEDIATOR REQUIRES FOR THIS PURPOSE UPON THE
 2398         SELECTION OF THE MEDIATOR. ANY FUNDS DEPOSITED WILL BE
 2399         RETURNED TO YOU IF THESE FUNDS ARE IN EXCESS OF YOUR
 2400         SHARE OF THE MEDIATOR FEES INCURRED.
 2401  
 2402         TO BEGIN YOUR PARTICIPATION IN PRESUIT MEDIATION TO
 2403         TRY TO RESOLVE THE DISPUTE WITH YOU AND AVOID FURTHER
 2404         LEGAL ACTION, PLEASE SIGN BELOW AND CLEARLY INDICATE
 2405         WHICH MEDIATOR IS ACCEPTABLE TO YOU FROM THE FIVE
 2406         MEDIATORS LISTED BY THE AGGRIEVED PARTY ABOVE.
 2407  
 2408         YOU MUST RESPOND IN WRITING TO THIS STATUTORY NOTICE
 2409         OF PRESUIT MEDIATION WITHIN 20 DAYS. IN YOUR RESPONSE
 2410         YOU MUST PROVIDE A LISTING OF AT LEAST THREE DATES AND
 2411         TIMES IN WHICH YOU ARE AVAILABLE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE
 2412         MEDIATION THAT ARE WITHIN 90 DAYS AFTER THE POSTMARKED
 2413         DATE OF THE MAILING OF THIS NOTICE OF PRESUIT
 2414         MEDIATION OR WITHIN 90 DAYS AFTER THE DATE YOU WERE
 2415         SERVED WITH A COPY OF THIS NOTICE. THE AGGRIEVED PARTY
 2416         WILL THEN ASK THE MEDIATOR TO SCHEDULE A MUTUALLY
 2417         CONVENIENT TIME AND PLACE FOR THE MEDIATION CONFERENCE
 2418         TO BE HELD. IF YOU DO NOT PROVIDE A LIST OF AVAILABLE
 2419         DATES AND TIMES, THE MEDIATOR IS AUTHORIZED TO
 2420         SCHEDULE A MEDIATION CONFERENCE WITHOUT TAKING YOUR
 2421         SCHEDULE AND CONVENIENCE INTO CONSIDERATION. IN NO
 2422         EVENT SHALL THE MEDIATION CONFERENCE BE LATER THAN 90
 2423         DAYS AFTER THE NOTICE OF PRESUIT MEDIATION WAS FIRST
 2424         SERVED UNLESS ALL PARTIES MUTUALLY AGREE OTHERWISE. IN
 2425         THE EVENT THAT YOU FAIL TO RESPOND WITHIN 20 DAYS
 2426         AFTER THE DATE OF THIS NOTICE, FAIL TO PROVIDE THE
 2427         MEDIATOR WITH DATES AND TIMES IN WHICH YOU ARE
 2428         AVAILABLE FOR THE MEDIATION CONFERENCE, FAIL TO AGREE
 2429         TO ONE OF THE MEDIATORS THAT THE AGGRIEVED PARTY HAS
 2430         LISTED, FAIL TO PAY OR PREPAY TO THE MEDIATOR ONE-HALF
 2431         OF THE COSTS INVOLVED, OR FAIL TO APPEAR AND
 2432         PARTICIPATE AT THE SCHEDULED MEDIATION, THE AGGRIEVED
 2433         PARTY WILL BE AUTHORIZED TO PROCEED WITH THE FILING OF
 2434         A LAWSUIT AGAINST YOU WITHOUT FURTHER NOTICE. IN ANY
 2435         SUBSEQUENT COURT ACTION, THE AGGRIEVED PARTY MAY SEEK
 2436         AN AWARD OF REASONABLE ATTORNEY’S FEES AND COSTS
 2437         INCURRED IN ATTEMPTING TO OBTAIN MEDIATION.
 2438  
 2439         PLEASE GIVE THIS MATTER YOUR IMMEDIATE ATTENTION. BY
 2440         LAW, YOUR RESPONSE MUST BE MAILED BY CERTIFIED, FIRST
 2441         CLASS MAIL, RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED, TO THE AGGRIEVED
 2442         PARTY LISTED ABOVE AT THE ADDRESS SHOWN ON THIS NOTICE
 2443         AND POSTMARKED NO MORE THAN 20 DAYS AFTER THE DATE OF
 2444         THE POSTMARKED DATE FOR THIS NOTICE OR WITHIN 20 DAYS
 2445         AFTER THE DATE UPON WHICH YOU WERE SERVED WITH A COPY
 2446         OF THIS NOTICE.
 2447  
 2448         ________________________
 2449         SIGNATURE OF AGGRIEVED PARTY
 2450  
 2451         ______________________
 2452         PRINTED NAME OF AGGRIEVED PARTY
 2453  
 2454         RESPONDING PARTY: YOUR SIGNATURE BELOW INDICATES YOUR
 2455         ACCEPTANCE OF THE AGREEMENT TO MEDIATE.
 2456  
 2457                        AGREEMENT TO MEDIATE                       
 2458  
 2459         THE UNDERSIGNED HEREBY AGREES TO PARTICIPATE IN
 2460         PRESUIT MEDIATION AND AGREES TO ATTEND A MEDIATION
 2461         CONDUCTED BY THE MEDIATOR LISTED BELOW AS ACCEPTABLE
 2462         TO MEDIATE THIS DISPUTE:
 2463  
 2464         (LIST ONE ACCEPTABLE MEDIATOR FROM THOSE LISTED BY THE
 2465         AGGRIEVED PARTY.)
 2466  
 2467         THE UNDERSIGNED HEREBY REPRESENTS THAT HE OR SHE CAN
 2468         ATTEND AND PARTICIPATE IN THE PRESUIT MEDIATION AT THE
 2469         FOLLOWING DATES AND TIMES:
 2470  
 2471         (LIST AT LEAST THREE AVAILABLE DATES AND TIMES WITHIN
 2472         THE 90-DAY TIME LIMIT DESCRIBED ABOVE.)
 2473  
 2474         I/WE FURTHER AGREE TO PAY OR PREPAY ONE-HALF OF THE
 2475         MEDIATOR’S FEES AND TO FORWARD SUCH ADVANCE DEPOSITS
 2476         AS THE MEDIATOR MAY REQUIRE FOR THIS PURPOSE.
 2477  
 2478         ______________________________
 2479         SIGNATURE OF RESPONDING PARTY #1
 2480         ______________________________
 2481         TELEPHONE CONTACT INFORMATION
 2482  
 2483         ______________________________
 2484         SIGNATURE AND TELEPHONE CONTACT INFORMATION OF
 2485         RESPONDING PARTY #2, IF APPLICABLE. IF THE PROPERTY IS
 2486         OWNED BY MORE THAN ONE PERSON, ALL OWNERS MUST SIGN,
 2487         OR A PERSON MAY SIGN WHO IS ACTING UNDER AUTHORITY OF
 2488         A VALID POWER OF ATTORNEY GRANTED BY AN OWNER.
 2489  
 2490         (2)(a) Service of the notice of presuit mediation shall be
 2491  effected either by personal service, as provided in chapter 48,
 2492  or by certified mail, return receipt requested, in a letter in
 2493  substantial conformity with the form provided in subsection (1),
 2494  with an additional copy being sent by regular first-class mail,
 2495  to the address of the responding party as it last appears on the
 2496  books and records of the association or, if not available, then
 2497  as it last appears in the official records of the county
 2498  property appraiser where the parcel in dispute is located. The
 2499  responding party has 20 days after the postmarked date of the
 2500  mailing of the statutory notice or the date the responding party
 2501  is served with a copy of the notice to serve a written response
 2502  to the aggrieved party. The response shall be served by
 2503  certified mail, return receipt requested, with an additional
 2504  copy being sent by regular first-class mail, to the address
 2505  shown on the statutory notice. The date of the postmark on the
 2506  envelope for the response shall constitute the date that the
 2507  response is served. Once the parties have agreed on a mediator,
 2508  the mediator may schedule or reschedule the mediation for a date
 2509  and time mutually convenient to the parties within 90 days after
 2510  the date of service of the statutory notice. After such 90-day
 2511  period, the mediator may reschedule the mediation only upon the
 2512  mutual written agreement of all the parties.
 2513         (b) The parties shall share the costs of presuit mediation
 2514  equally, including the fee charged by the mediator, if any,
 2515  unless the parties agree otherwise, and the mediator may require
 2516  advance payment of his or her reasonable fees and costs. Each
 2517  party shall be responsible for that party’s own attorney’s fees
 2518  if a party chooses to be represented by an attorney at the
 2519  mediation.
 2520         (c) The party responding to the aggrieved party may provide
 2521  a notice of opting out under s. 720.506 and demand arbitration
 2522  or may sign the agreement to mediate included in the notice of
 2523  presuit mediation. A responding party signing the agreement to
 2524  mediate must clearly indicate the name of the mediator who is
 2525  acceptable from the five names provided by the aggrieved party
 2526  and must provide a list of dates and times in which the
 2527  responding party is available to participate in the mediation
 2528  within 90 days after the date the responding party was served,
 2529  either by process server or by certified mail, with the
 2530  statutory notice of presuit mediation.
 2531         (d) The mediator who has been selected and agreed to
 2532  mediate must schedule the mediation conference at a mutually
 2533  convenient time and place within that 90-day period; but, if the
 2534  responding party does not provide a list of available dates and
 2535  times, the mediator is authorized to schedule a mediation
 2536  conference without taking the responding party’s schedule and
 2537  convenience into consideration. Within 10 days after the
 2538  designation of the mediator, the mediator shall coordinate with
 2539  the parties and notify the parties in writing of the date, time,
 2540  and place of the mediation conference.
 2541         (e) The mediation conference must be held on the scheduled
 2542  date and may be rescheduled if a rescheduled date is approved by
 2543  the mediator. However, in no event shall the mediation be held
 2544  later than 90 days after the notice of presuit mediation was
 2545  first served, unless all parties mutually agree in writing
 2546  otherwise. If the presuit mediation is not completed within the
 2547  required time limits, the mediator shall declare an impasse
 2548  unless the mediation date is extended by mutual written
 2549  agreement by all parties and approved by the mediator.
 2550         (f) If the responding party fails to respond within 20 days
 2551  after the date of service of the statutory notice of presuit
 2552  mediation, fails to agree to at least one of the mediators
 2553  listed by the aggrieved party in the notice, fails to pay or
 2554  prepay to the mediator one-half of the costs of the mediator, or
 2555  fails to appear and participate at the scheduled mediation, the
 2556  aggrieved party shall be authorized to proceed with the filing
 2557  of a lawsuit without further notice.
 2558         (g)1. The failure of any party to respond to the statutory
 2559  notice of presuit mediation within 20 days, the failure to agree
 2560  upon a mediator, the failure to provide a listing of dates and
 2561  times in which the responding party is available to participate
 2562  in the mediation within 90 days after the date the responding
 2563  party was served with the statutory notice of presuit mediation,
 2564  the failure to make payment of fees and costs within the time
 2565  established by the mediator, or the failure to appear for a
 2566  scheduled mediation session without the approval of the mediator
 2567  shall in each instance constitute a failure or refusal to
 2568  participate in the mediation process and shall operate as an
 2569  impasse in the presuit mediation by such party, entitling the
 2570  other party to file a lawsuit in court and to seek an award of
 2571  the costs and attorney’s fees associated with the mediation.
 2572         2. Persons who fail or refuse to participate in the entire
 2573  mediation process may not recover attorney’s fees and costs in
 2574  subsequent litigation relating to the same dispute between the
 2575  same parties. If any presuit mediation session cannot be
 2576  scheduled and conducted within 90 days after the offer to
 2577  participate in mediation was filed, through no fault of either
 2578  party, then an impasse shall be deemed to have occurred unless
 2579  the parties mutually agree in writing to extend this deadline.
 2580  In the event of such impasse, each party shall be responsible
 2581  for its own costs and attorney’s fees and one-half of any
 2582  mediator fees and filing fees, and either party may file a
 2583  lawsuit in court regarding the dispute.
 2584         720.506 Opt-out of presuit mediation.—A party served with a
 2585  notice of presuit mediation under s. 720.505 may opt out of
 2586  presuit mediation and demand that the dispute proceed under
 2587  nonbinding arbitration as follows:
 2588         (1) In lieu of a response to the notice of presuit
 2589  mediation as required under s. 720.505, the responding party may
 2590  serve upon the aggrieved party, in the same manner as the
 2591  response to a notice for presuit mediation under s. 720.505, a
 2592  notice of opting out of mediation and demand that the dispute
 2593  instead proceed to presuit arbitration under s. 720.507.
 2594         (2) The aggrieved party shall be relieved from having to
 2595  satisfy the requirements of s. 720.504 as a condition precedent
 2596  to filing the demand for presuit arbitration.
 2597         (3) Except as otherwise provided in this part, the choice
 2598  of which presuit alternative dispute resolution procedure is
 2599  used shall be at the election of the aggrieved party who first
 2600  initiated such proceeding after complying with the provisions of
 2601  s. 720.504.
 2602         720.507 Presuit arbitration.—
 2603         (1) Disputes between an association and a parcel owner or
 2604  owners or between parcel owners are subject to a demand for
 2605  presuit arbitration pursuant to this section before the dispute
 2606  may be filed in court. A party who elects to use the presuit
 2607  arbitration procedure under this part shall serve on the
 2608  responding party a written notice of presuit arbitration in
 2609  substantially the following form:
 2610  
 2611               STATUTORY NOTICE OF PRESUIT ARBITRATION             
 2612  
 2613         THE ALLEGED AGGRIEVED PARTY, ____________________,
 2614         HEREBY DEMANDS THAT ____________________, AS THE
 2615         RESPONDING PARTY, ENGAGE IN MANDATORY PRESUIT
 2616         ARBITRATION IN CONNECTION WITH THE FOLLOWING
 2617         DISPUTE(S) WITH YOU, WHICH BY STATUTE ARE OF A TYPE
 2618         THAT ARE SUBJECT TO PRESUIT ARBITRATION:
 2619  
 2620         (LIST SPECIFIC NATURE OF THE DISPUTE OR DISPUTES TO BE
 2621         ARBITRATED AND THE AUTHORITY SUPPORTING A FINDING OF A
 2622         VIOLATION AS TO EACH DISPUTE, INCLUDING, BUT NOT
 2623         LIMITED TO, ALL APPLICABLE PROVISIONS OF THE GOVERNING
 2624         DOCUMENTS BELIEVED TO APPLY TO THE DISPUTE BETWEEN THE
 2625         PARTIES.)
 2626  
 2627         PURSUANT TO PART IV OF CHAPTER 720, FLORIDA STATUTES,
 2628         THIS DEMAND TO RESOLVE THE DISPUTE THROUGH PRESUIT
 2629         ARBITRATION IS REQUIRED BEFORE A LAWSUIT CAN BE FILED
 2630         CONCERNING THE DISPUTE. PURSUANT TO FLORIDA STATUTES,
 2631         THE PARTIES ARE REQUIRED TO ENGAGE IN PRESUIT
 2632         ARBITRATION WITH A NEUTRAL THIRD-PARTY ARBITRATOR IN
 2633         ORDER TO ATTEMPT TO RESOLVE THIS DISPUTE WITHOUT COURT
 2634         ACTION, AND THE AGGRIEVED PARTY DEMANDS THAT YOU
 2635         PARTICIPATE IN THIS PROCESS. IF YOU FAIL TO
 2636         PARTICIPATE IN THE ARBITRATION PROCESS, A LAWSUIT MAY
 2637         BE BROUGHT AGAINST YOU IN COURT WITHOUT FURTHER
 2638         WARNING.
 2639  
 2640         THE PROCESS OF ARBITRATION INVOLVES A NEUTRAL THIRD
 2641         PERSON WHO CONSIDERS THE LAW AND FACTS PRESENTED BY
 2642         THE PARTIES AND RENDERS A WRITTEN DECISION CALLED AN
 2643         “ARBITRATION AWARD.” PURSUANT TO SECTION 720.507,
 2644         FLORIDA STATUTES, THE ARBITRATION AWARD SHALL BE FINAL
 2645         UNLESS A LAWSUIT IS FILED IN A COURT OF COMPETENT
 2646         JURISDICTION FOR THE JUDICIAL CIRCUIT IN WHICH THE
 2647         PARCEL(S) GOVERNED BY THE HOMEOWNERS’ ASSOCIATION
 2648         IS/ARE LOCATED WITHIN 30 DAYS AFTER THE DATE OF THE
 2649         ARBITRATION AWARD.
 2650  
 2651         IF A SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT IS REACHED BEFORE THE
 2652         ARBITRATION AWARD, IT SHALL BE REDUCED TO WRITING AND
 2653         BECOME A BINDING AND ENFORCEABLE CONTRACT OF THE
 2654         PARTIES. A RESOLUTION OF ONE OR MORE DISPUTES IN THIS
 2655         FASHION AVOIDS THE NEED TO ARBITRATE THESE ISSUES OR
 2656         TO LITIGATE THESE ISSUES IN COURT AND SHALL BE THE
 2657         SAME AS A SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT REACHED BETWEEN THE
 2658         PARTIES UNDER SECTION 720.505, FLORIDA STATUTES. THE
 2659         FAILURE OF A PARTY TO PARTICIPATE IN THE ARBITRATION
 2660         PROCESS MAY RESULT IN THE ARBITRATOR ISSUING AN
 2661         ARBITRATION AWARD BY DEFAULT IN THE ARBITRATION. IF
 2662         YOU HAVE FAILED OR REFUSED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE
 2663         ENTIRE ARBITRATION PROCESS, YOU WILL NOT BE ENTITLED
 2664         TO RECOVER ATTORNEY’S FEES IF YOU PREVAIL IN A
 2665         SUBSEQUENT COURT PROCEEDING INVOLVING THE SAME
 2666         DISPUTE.
 2667  
 2668         THE AGGRIEVED PARTY HAS SELECTED AT LEAST FIVE
 2669         ARBITRATORS WHO THE AGGRIEVED PARTY BELIEVES TO BE
 2670         NEUTRAL AND QUALIFIED TO ARBITRATE THE DISPUTE. YOU
 2671         HAVE THE RIGHT TO SELECT ANY ONE OF THE ARBITRATORS.
 2672         THE FACT THAT ONE PARTY MAY BE FAMILIAR WITH ONE OR
 2673         MORE OF THE LISTED ARBITRATORS DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE
 2674         ARBITRATOR CANNOT ACT AS A NEUTRAL AND IMPARTIAL
 2675         ARBITRATOR. ANY ARBITRATOR WHO CANNOT ACT IN THIS
 2676         CAPACITY IS REQUIRED ETHICALLY TO DECLINE TO ACCEPT
 2677         ENGAGEMENT. THE NAMES OF THE FIVE ARBITRATORS THAT THE
 2678         AGGRIEVED PARTY HAS CHOSEN FROM WHICH YOU MAY SELECT
 2679         ONE, AND THEIR CURRENT ADDRESSES, TELEPHONE NUMBERS,
 2680         AND HOURLY RATES, ARE AS FOLLOWS:
 2681  
 2682         (LIST THE NAMES, ADDRESSES, TELEPHONE NUMBERS, AND
 2683         HOURLY RATES OF AT LEAST FIVE ARBITRATORS.)
 2684  
 2685         YOU MAY CONTACT THE OFFICES OF THESE ARBITRATORS TO
 2686         CONFIRM THAT THE LISTED ARBITRATORS WILL BE NEUTRAL
 2687         AND WILL NOT SHOW ANY FAVORITISM TOWARD EITHER PARTY.
 2688  
 2689         UNLESS OTHERWISE AGREED TO BY THE PARTIES, PART IV OF
 2690         CHAPTER 720, FLORIDA STATUTES, REQUIRES THAT THE
 2691         PARTIES SHARE THE COSTS OF PRESUIT ARBITRATION
 2692         EQUALLY, INCLUDING THE FEE CHARGED BY THE ARBITRATOR.
 2693         THE PARTIES SHALL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR OWN
 2694         ATTORNEY’S FEES IF THEY CHOOSE TO EMPLOY AN ATTORNEY
 2695         IN CONNECTION WITH THE ARBITRATION. HOWEVER, USE OF AN
 2696         ATTORNEY TO REPRESENT YOU FOR THE ARBITRATION IS NOT
 2697         REQUIRED. THE ARBITRATOR SELECTED MAY REQUIRE THE
 2698         ADVANCE PAYMENT OF SOME OR ALL OF THE ANTICIPATED
 2699         FEES. THE AGGRIEVED PARTY HEREBY AGREES TO PAY OR
 2700         PREPAY ONE-HALF OF THE SELECTED ARBITRATOR’S ESTIMATED
 2701         FEES AND TO FORWARD THIS AMOUNT OR SUCH OTHER
 2702         REASONABLE ADVANCE DEPOSITS AS THE ARBITRATOR WHO IS
 2703         SELECTED REQUIRES FOR THIS PURPOSE. ANY FUNDS
 2704         DEPOSITED WILL BE RETURNED TO YOU IF THESE FUNDS ARE
 2705         IN EXCESS OF YOUR SHARE OF THE FEES INCURRED.
 2706  
 2707         PLEASE SIGN THE AGREEMENT TO ARBITRATE BELOW AND
 2708         CLEARLY INDICATE THE NAME OF THE ARBITRATOR WHO IS
 2709         ACCEPTABLE TO YOU FROM THE NAMES LISTED BY THE
 2710         AGGRIEVED PARTY.
 2711  
 2712         YOU MUST RESPOND IN WRITING TO THIS STATUTORY NOTICE
 2713         WITHIN 20 DAYS AFTER THE DATE THAT THE NOTICE OF
 2714         PRESUIT ARBITRATION WAS PERSONALLY SERVED ON YOU OR
 2715         THE POSTMARKED DATE THAT THIS NOTICE OF PRESUIT
 2716         ARBITRATION WAS SENT TO YOU BY CERTIFIED MAIL. YOU
 2717         MUST ALSO PROVIDE A LIST OF AT LEAST THREE DATES AND
 2718         TIMES IN WHICH YOU ARE AVAILABLE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE
 2719         ARBITRATION THAT ARE WITHIN 90 DAYS AFTER THE DATE YOU
 2720         WERE PERSONALLY SERVED OR WITHIN 90 DAYS AFTER THE
 2721         POSTMARKED DATE OF THE CERTIFIED MAILING OF THIS
 2722         STATUTORY NOTICE OF PRESUIT ARBITRATION. A COPY OF
 2723         THIS NOTICE AND YOUR RESPONSE WILL BE PROVIDED BY THE
 2724         AGGRIEVED PARTY TO THE ARBITRATOR SELECTED, AND THE
 2725         ARBITRATOR WILL SCHEDULE A MUTUALLY CONVENIENT TIME
 2726         AND PLACE FOR THE ARBITRATION CONFERENCE TO BE HELD.
 2727         IF YOU DO NOT PROVIDE A LIST OF AVAILABLE DATES AND
 2728         TIMES, THE ARBITRATOR IS AUTHORIZED TO SCHEDULE AN
 2729         ARBITRATION CONFERENCE WITHOUT TAKING YOUR SCHEDULE
 2730         AND CONVENIENCE INTO CONSIDERATION. THE ARBITRATION
 2731         CONFERENCE MUST BE HELD ON THE SCHEDULED DATE, OR ANY
 2732         RESCHEDULED DATE APPROVED BY THE ARBITRATOR. IN NO
 2733         EVENT SHALL THE ARBITRATION CONFERENCE BE LATER THAN
 2734         90 DAYS AFTER NOTICE OF THE PRESUIT ARBITRATION WAS
 2735         FIRST SERVED, UNLESS ALL PARTIES MUTUALLY AGREE IN
 2736         WRITING OTHERWISE. IF THE ARBITRATION IS NOT COMPLETED
 2737         WITHIN THE REQUIRED TIME LIMITS, THE ARBITRATOR SHALL
 2738         ISSUE AN ARBITRATION AWARD, UNLESS THE HEARING IS
 2739         EXTENDED BY MUTUAL WRITTEN AGREEMENT OF THE PARTIES
 2740         AND APPROVED BY THE ARBITRATOR. IN THE EVENT THAT YOU
 2741         FAIL TO RESPOND WITHIN 20 DAYS AFTER THE DATE YOU WERE
 2742         SERVED WITH A COPY OF THIS NOTICE, FAIL TO PROVIDE THE
 2743         ARBITRATOR WITH DATES AND TIMES IN WHICH YOU ARE
 2744         AVAILABLE FOR THE ARBITRATION CONFERENCE, FAIL TO
 2745         AGREE TO ONE OF THE ARBITRATORS THAT THE AGGRIEVED
 2746         PARTY HAS NAMED, FAIL TO PAY OR PREPAY TO THE
 2747         ARBITRATOR ONE-HALF OF THE COSTS INVOLVED AS REQUIRED,
 2748         OR FAIL TO APPEAR AND PARTICIPATE AT THE SCHEDULED
 2749         ARBITRATION CONFERENCE, THE AGGRIEVED PARTY MAY
 2750         REQUEST THE ARBITRATOR TO ISSUE AN ARBITRATION AWARD.
 2751         IN ANY SUBSEQUENT COURT ACTION, THE AGGRIEVED PARTY
 2752         SHALL BE ENTITLED TO RECOVER AN AWARD OF REASONABLE
 2753         ATTORNEY’S FEES AND COSTS, INCLUDING ANY FEES PAID TO
 2754         THE ARBITRATOR, INCURRED IN OBTAINING AN ARBITRATION
 2755         AWARD PURSUANT TO SECTION 720.507, FLORIDA STATUTES.
 2756  
 2757         PLEASE GIVE THIS MATTER YOUR IMMEDIATE ATTENTION. BY
 2758         LAW, YOUR RESPONSE MUST BE POSTMARKED AND MAILED BY
 2759         CERTIFIED, FIRST-CLASS MAIL, RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED,
 2760         TO THE ADDRESS SHOWN ON THIS NOTICE OF PRESUIT
 2761         ARBITRATION.
 2762  
 2763         _________________________
 2764         Signature of aggrieved party
 2765  
 2766         ______________________
 2767         PRINTED NAME OF AGGRIEVED PARTY
 2768  
 2769         RESPONDING PARTY: YOUR SIGNATURE BELOW INDICATES YOUR
 2770         ACCEPTANCE OF THE AGREEMENT TO ARBITRATE.
 2771  
 2772                       AGREEMENT TO ARBITRATE                      
 2773  
 2774         THE UNDERSIGNED HEREBY AGREES TO PARTICIPATE IN
 2775         PRESUIT ARBITRATION AND AGREES TO ATTEND AN
 2776         ARBITRATION CONDUCTED BY THE FOLLOWING ARBITRATOR
 2777         LISTED BELOW AS SOMEONE WHO WOULD BE ACCEPTABLE TO
 2778         ARBITRATE THIS DISPUTE:
 2779  
 2780         (IN YOUR RESPONSE, SELECT THE NAME OF ONE ARBITRATOR
 2781         THAT IS ACCEPTABLE TO YOU FROM THOSE ARBITRATORS
 2782         LISTED BY THE AGGRIEVED PARTY.)
 2783  
 2784         THE UNDERSIGNED HEREBY REPRESENTS THAT HE OR SHE IS
 2785         AVAILABLE AND ABLE TO ATTEND AND PARTICIPATE IN THE
 2786         PRESUIT ARBITRATION CONFERENCE AT THE FOLLOWING DATES
 2787         AND TIMES:
 2788  
 2789         (LIST ALL AVAILABLE DATES AND TIMES, OF WHICH THERE
 2790         MUST BE AT LEAST THREE, WITHIN 90 DAYS AFTER THE DATE
 2791         ON WHICH YOU WERE SERVED, EITHER BY PROCESS SERVER OR
 2792         BY CERTIFIED MAIL, WITH THE NOTICE OF PRESUIT
 2793         ARBITRATION.)
 2794  
 2795         I/WE FURTHER AGREE TO PAY OR PREPAY ONE-HALF OF THE
 2796         ARBITRATOR’S FEES AND TO FORWARD SUCH ADVANCE DEPOSITS
 2797         AS THE ARBITRATOR MAY REQUIRE FOR THIS PURPOSE.
 2798  
 2799         ______________________________
 2800         SIGNATURE OF RESPONDING PARTY #1
 2801         ______________________________
 2802         TELEPHONE CONTACT INFORMATION
 2803  
 2804         ______________________________
 2805         SIGNATURE AND TELEPHONE CONTACT INFORMATION OF
 2806         RESPONDING PARTY #2, IF APPLICABLE. IF THE PROPERTY IS
 2807         OWNED BY MORE THAN ONE PERSON, ALL OWNERS MUST SIGN,
 2808         OR A PERSON MAY SIGN WHO IS ACTING UNDER AUTHORITY OF
 2809         A VALID POWER OF ATTORNEY GRANTED BY AN OWNER.
 2810  
 2811         (2)(a) Service of the notice of presuit arbitration shall
 2812  be effected either by personal service, as provided in chapter
 2813  48, or by certified mail, return receipt requested, in a letter
 2814  in substantial conformity with the form provided in subsection
 2815  (1), with an additional copy being sent by regular first-class
 2816  mail, to the address of the responding party as it last appears
 2817  on the books and records of the association or, if not
 2818  available, the last address as it appears on the official
 2819  records of the county property appraiser for the county in which
 2820  the property is situated that is subject to the association
 2821  documents. The responding party has 20 days after the postmarked
 2822  date of the certified mailing of the statutory notice of presuit
 2823  arbitration or the date the responding party is personally
 2824  served with the statutory notice of presuit arbitration to serve
 2825  a written response to the aggrieved party. The response shall be
 2826  served by certified mail, return receipt requested, with an
 2827  additional copy being sent by regular first-class mail, to the
 2828  address shown on the statutory notice of presuit arbitration.
 2829  The postmarked date on the envelope of the response shall
 2830  constitute the date the response was served.
 2831         (b) The parties shall share the costs of presuit
 2832  arbitration equally, including the fee charged by the
 2833  arbitrator, if any, unless the parties agree otherwise, and the
 2834  arbitrator may require advance payment of his or her reasonable
 2835  fees and costs. Each party shall be responsible for that party’s
 2836  own attorney’s fees if a party chooses to be represented by an
 2837  attorney for the arbitration proceedings.
 2838         (c)1. The party responding to the aggrieved party must sign
 2839  the agreement to arbitrate included in the notice of presuit
 2840  arbitration and clearly indicate the name of the arbitrator who
 2841  is acceptable of those arbitrators listed by the aggrieved
 2842  party. The responding party must provide a list of at least
 2843  three dates and times in which the responding party is available
 2844  to participate in the arbitration conference within 90 days
 2845  after the date the responding party was served with the
 2846  statutory notice of presuit arbitration.
 2847         2. The arbitrator must schedule the arbitration conference
 2848  at a mutually convenient time and place, but if the responding
 2849  party does not provide a list of available dates and times, the
 2850  arbitrator is authorized to schedule an arbitration conference
 2851  without taking the responding party’s schedule and convenience
 2852  into consideration. Within 10 days after the designation of the
 2853  arbitrator, the arbitrator shall notify the parties in writing
 2854  of the date, time, and place of the arbitration conference.
 2855         3. The arbitration conference must be held on the scheduled
 2856  date and may be rescheduled if approved by the arbitrator.
 2857  However, in no event shall the arbitration hearing be later than
 2858  90 days after the notice of presuit arbitration was first
 2859  served, unless all parties mutually agree in writing otherwise.
 2860  If the arbitration hearing is not completed within the required
 2861  time limits, the arbitrator may issue an arbitration award
 2862  unless the time for the hearing is extended as provided herein.
 2863         4. If the responding party fails to respond within 20 days
 2864  after the date of statutory notice of presuit arbitration, fails
 2865  to agree to at least one of the arbitrators that have been
 2866  listed by the aggrieved party in the presuit notice of
 2867  arbitration, fails to pay or prepay to the arbitrator one-half
 2868  of the costs involved, or fails to appear and participate at the
 2869  scheduled arbitration, the aggrieved party is authorized to
 2870  proceed with a request that the arbitrator issue an arbitration
 2871  award.
 2872         (d)1. The failure of any party to respond to the statutory
 2873  notice of presuit arbitration within 20 days, the failure to
 2874  select one of the arbitrators listed by the aggrieved party, the
 2875  failure to provide a listing of dates and times in which the
 2876  responding party is available to participate in the arbitration
 2877  conference within 90 days after the date of the responding party
 2878  being served with the statutory notice of presuit arbitration,
 2879  the failure to make payment of fees and costs as required within
 2880  the time established by the arbitrator, or the failure to appear
 2881  for an arbitration conference without the approval of the
 2882  arbitrator shall entitle the other party to request the
 2883  arbitrator to enter an arbitration award, including an award of
 2884  the reasonable costs and attorney’s fees associated with the
 2885  arbitration.
 2886         2. Persons who fail or refuse to participate in the entire
 2887  arbitration process may not recover attorney’s fees and costs in
 2888  any subsequent litigation proceeding relating to the same
 2889  dispute involving the same parties.
 2890         (3)(a) In an arbitration proceeding, the arbitrator may not
 2891  consider any unsuccessful mediation of the dispute.
 2892         (b) An arbitrator in a proceeding initiated pursuant to
 2893  this part may shorten the time for discovery or otherwise limit
 2894  discovery in a manner consistent with the policy goals of this
 2895  part to reduce the time and expense of litigating homeowners’
 2896  association disputes initiated pursuant to this chapter and to
 2897  promote an expeditious alternative dispute resolution procedure
 2898  for parties to such actions.
 2899         (4) At the request of any party to the arbitration, the
 2900  arbitrator may issue subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses
 2901  and the production of books, records, documents, and other
 2902  evidence, and any party on whose behalf a subpoena is issued may
 2903  apply to the court for orders compelling such attendance and
 2904  production. Subpoenas shall be served and are enforceable in the
 2905  manner provided by the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure.
 2906  Discovery may, at the discretion of the arbitrator, be permitted
 2907  in the manner provided by the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure.
 2908         (5) The final arbitration award shall be sent to the
 2909  parties in writing no later than 30 days after the date of the
 2910  arbitration hearing, absent extraordinary circumstances
 2911  necessitating a later filing the reasons for which shall be
 2912  stated in the final award if filed more than 30 days after the
 2913  date of the final session of the arbitration conference. An
 2914  agreed arbitration award is final in those disputes in which the
 2915  parties have mutually agreed to be bound. An arbitration award
 2916  decided by the arbitrator is final unless a lawsuit seeking a
 2917  trial de novo is filed in a court of competent jurisdiction
 2918  within 30 days after the date of the arbitration award. The
 2919  right to file for a trial de novo entitles the parties to file a
 2920  complaint in the appropriate trial court for a judicial
 2921  resolution of the dispute. The prevailing party in an
 2922  arbitration proceeding shall be awarded the costs of the
 2923  arbitration and reasonable attorney’s fees in an amount
 2924  determined by the arbitrator.
 2925         (6) The party filing a motion for a trial de novo shall be
 2926  assessed the other party’s arbitration costs, court costs, and
 2927  other reasonable costs, including attorney’s fees, investigation
 2928  expenses, and expenses for expert or other testimony or evidence
 2929  incurred after the arbitration hearing, if the judgment upon the
 2930  trial de novo is not more favorable than the final arbitration
 2931  award.
 2932         720.508 Rules of procedure.—
 2933         (1) Presuit mediation and presuit arbitration proceedings
 2934  under this part must be conducted in accordance with the
 2935  applicable Florida Rules of Civil Procedure and rules governing
 2936  mediations and arbitrations under chapter 44, except that this
 2937  part shall be controlling to the extent of any conflict with
 2938  other applicable rules or statutes. The arbitrator may shorten
 2939  any applicable time period and otherwise limit the scope of
 2940  discovery on request of the parties or within the discretion of
 2941  the arbitrator exercised consistent with the purpose and
 2942  objective of reducing the expense and expeditiously concluding
 2943  proceedings under this part.
 2944         (2) Presuit mediation proceedings under s. 720.505 are
 2945  privileged and confidential to the same extent as court-ordered
 2946  mediation under chapter 44. An arbitrator or judge may not
 2947  consider any information or evidence arising from the presuit
 2948  mediation proceeding except in a proceeding to impose sanctions
 2949  for failure to attend a presuit mediation session or to enforce
 2950  a mediated settlement agreement.
 2951         (3) Persons who are not parties to the dispute may not
 2952  attend the presuit mediation conference without consent of all
 2953  parties, with the exception of counsel for the parties and a
 2954  corporate representative designated by the association. Presuit
 2955  mediations under this part are not a board meeting for purposes
 2956  of notice and participation set forth in this chapter.
 2957         (4) Attendance at a mediation conference by the board of
 2958  directors shall not require notice or participation by nonboard
 2959  members as otherwise required by this chapter for meetings of
 2960  the board.
 2961         (5) Settlement agreements resulting from a mediation or
 2962  arbitration proceeding do not have precedential value in
 2963  proceedings involving parties other than those participating in
 2964  the mediation or arbitration.
 2965         (6) Arbitration awards by an arbitrator shall have
 2966  precedential value in other proceedings involving the same
 2967  association or with respect to the same parcel owner.
 2968         720.509 Mediators and arbitrators; qualifications.—A person
 2969  is authorized to conduct mediation or arbitration under this
 2970  part if he or she has been certified as a circuit court civil
 2971  mediator under the requirements adopted pursuant to s. 44.106,
 2972  is a member in good standing with The Florida Bar, and otherwise
 2973  meets all other requirements imposed by chapter 44.
 2974         720.510 Enforcement of mediation agreement or arbitration
 2975  award.—
 2976         (1) A mediation settlement may be enforced through the
 2977  county or circuit court, as applicable, and any costs and
 2978  attorney’s fees incurred in the enforcement of a settlement
 2979  agreement reached at mediation shall be awarded to the
 2980  prevailing party in any enforcement action.
 2981         (2) Any party to an arbitration proceeding may enforce an
 2982  arbitration award by filing a petition in a court of competent
 2983  jurisdiction in which the homeowners’ association is located.
 2984  The prevailing party in such proceeding shall be awarded
 2985  reasonable attorney’s fees and costs incurred in such
 2986  proceeding.
 2987         (3) If a complaint is filed seeking a trial de novo, the
 2988  arbitration award shall be stayed and a petition to enforce the
 2989  award may not be granted. Such award, however, shall be
 2990  admissible in the court proceeding seeking a trial de novo.
 2991         Section 25. All new residential construction in any deed
 2992  restricted community that requires mandatory membership in the
 2993  association under chapter 718, chapter 719, or chapter 720,
 2994  Florida Statutes, must comply with the provisions of Pub. L. No.
 2995  110-140, Title XIV, ss. 1402 to 1406, 15 U.S.C. ss. 8001-8005.
 2996         Section 26. This act shall take effect July 1, 2010.

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