October 20, 2020
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       Florida Senate - 2009                             CS for SB 2604
       
       
       
       By the Committee on Regulated Industries; and Senator Gardiner
       
       
       
       
       580-04978-09                                          20092604c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to residential properties; amending s.
    3         718.112, F.S.; requiring that each newly elected
    4         director certify certain information to the secretary
    5         of the association; providing that a failure to timely
    6         file the statement of certification automatically
    7         disqualifies the director from service on the
    8         association’s board of directors; requiring that the
    9         secretary of the association retain a director’s
   10         certification for inspection by the members for a
   11         specified period after a director’s election; amending
   12         s. 720.303, F.S.; revising provisions relating to
   13         homeowners’ association board meetings, inspection and
   14         copying of records, and reserve accounts of budgets;
   15         prohibiting certain association personnel from
   16         receiving a salary or compensation; providing
   17         exceptions; conforming a cross-reference to changes
   18         made by the act; amending s. 720.305, F.S.;
   19         authorizing fines assessed against members in excess
   20         of a specified amount to become a lien against a
   21         parcel; amending s. 720.306, F.S.; providing
   22         requirements for secret ballots; requiring newly
   23         elected members of a board of directors to make
   24         certain certifications in writing to the association;
   25         providing for disqualification for failure to make
   26         such certifications; requiring that an association
   27         retain certifications for a specified period; creating
   28         s. 720.315, F.S.; prohibiting the board of directors
   29         of a homeowners’ association from passing more than
   30         one special assessment per calendar year under certain
   31         circumstances; requiring that each special assessment
   32         be adopted at a board meeting conducted solely for the
   33         purpose of discussing and adopting such assessment;
   34         requiring that the board provide a notice for a
   35         specified period before such meeting; providing
   36         procedures for providing such notice; requiring that
   37         such notice contain certain information; requiring
   38         that the meeting be held in the same county in which
   39         the association is located; limiting the amount of a
   40         special assessment and restricting the manner in which
   41         moneys collected pursuant thereto may be used;
   42         providing that lots or units owned by the developer
   43         are subject to the same payment requirements and
   44         deadlines as those owned by members; providing
   45         exceptions; prohibiting a developer from delaying
   46         payment of a special assessment based on the use of a
   47         developer’s guarantee; requiring that a board of
   48         directors initiate or authorize collection efforts
   49         against units owned by a developer under certain
   50         circumstances; providing that failure of the board to
   51         take certain action constitutes a defense to
   52         nonpayment of a special assessment for certain members
   53         of the association; amending s. 720.401, F.S.;
   54         requiring that the disclosure summary to prospective
   55         parcel owners include additional provisions; amending
   56         s. 34.01, F.S.; correcting a cross-reference to
   57         conform to changes made by the act; amending s.
   58         720.302, F.S.; correcting a cross-reference to conform
   59         to changes made by the act; providing legislative
   60         intent; repealing s. 720.311, F.S., relating to a
   61         procedure for dispute resolution in homeowners’
   62         associations; creating part IV of ch. 720, F.S.,
   63         relating to dispute resolution; creating s. 720.501,
   64         F.S.; providing a short title; creating s. 720.502,
   65         F.S.; providing legislative findings; creating s.
   66         720.503, F.S.; providing applicability of provisions
   67         for mediation and arbitration applicable to disputes
   68         in homeowners’ associations; providing exceptions;
   69         providing for applicability; tolling applicable
   70         statutes of limitations; creating s. 720.504, F.S.;
   71         requiring that a notice of dispute be delivered before
   72         referral to mediation or arbitration; creating s.
   73         720.505, F.S.; creating a statutory notice form for
   74         referral to mediation; requiring delivery by certified
   75         mail or personal delivery; setting deadlines;
   76         requiring that parties share certain costs; requiring
   77         the selection of a mediator and meeting times;
   78         providing penalties for failure to mediate; creating
   79         s. 720.506, F.S.; providing an opt-out provision;
   80         creating s. 720.507, F.S.; providing a statutory
   81         notice form for referral to arbitration; requiring
   82         delivery by certified mail or personal delivery;
   83         providing deadlines; requiring that parties share
   84         certain costs; requiring the selection of an
   85         arbitrator and meeting times; providing penalties for
   86         failure to arbitrate; creating s. 720.508, F.S.;
   87         providing rules of procedure; providing for
   88         confidentiality; providing that settlement agreements
   89         resulting from a mediation or arbitration proceeding
   90         do not have precedential value in other proceedings
   91         involving other parties; providing that arbitration
   92         awards have precedential value under specified
   93         conditions; creating s. 720.509, F.S.; setting
   94         qualifications for mediators and arbitrators; creating
   95         s. 720.510, F.S.; providing for the enforcement of
   96         mediation agreements and arbitration awards; providing
   97         an effective date.
   98  
   99  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
  100  
  101         Section 1. Paragraph (d) of subsection (2) of section
  102  718.112, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  103         718.112 Bylaws.—
  104         (2) REQUIRED PROVISIONS.—The bylaws shall provide for the
  105  following and, if they do not do so, shall be deemed to include
  106  the following:
  107         (d) Unit owner meetings.—
  108         1. There shall be an annual meeting of the unit owners held
  109  at the location provided in the association bylaws and, if the
  110  bylaws are silent as to the location, the meeting shall be held
  111  within 45 miles of the condominium property. However, such
  112  distance requirement does not apply to an association governing
  113  a timeshare condominium. Unless the bylaws provide otherwise, a
  114  vacancy on the board caused by the expiration of a director’s
  115  term shall be filled by electing a new board member, and the
  116  election shall be by secret ballot; however, if the number of
  117  vacancies equals or exceeds the number of candidates, no
  118  election is required. The terms of all members of the board
  119  shall expire at the annual meeting and such board members may
  120  stand for reelection unless otherwise permitted by the bylaws.
  121  In the event that the bylaws permit staggered terms of no more
  122  than 2 years and upon approval of a majority of the total voting
  123  interests, the association board members may serve 2-year
  124  staggered terms. If no person is interested in or demonstrates
  125  an intention to run for the position of a board member whose
  126  term has expired according to the provisions of this
  127  subparagraph, such board member whose term has expired shall be
  128  automatically reappointed to the board of administration and
  129  need not stand for reelection. In a condominium association of
  130  more than 10 units, coowners of a unit may not serve as members
  131  of the board of directors at the same time. Any unit owner
  132  desiring to be a candidate for board membership shall comply
  133  with subparagraph 3. A person who has been suspended or removed
  134  by the division under this chapter, or who is delinquent in the
  135  payment of any fee or assessment as provided in paragraph (n),
  136  is not eligible for board membership. A person who has been
  137  convicted of any felony in this state or in a United States
  138  District or Territorial Court, or who has been convicted of any
  139  offense in another jurisdiction that would be considered a
  140  felony if committed in this state, is not eligible for board
  141  membership unless such felon’s civil rights have been restored
  142  for a period of no less than 5 years as of the date on which
  143  such person seeks election to the board. The validity of an
  144  action by the board is not affected if it is later determined
  145  that a member of the board is ineligible for board membership
  146  due to having been convicted of a felony.
  147         2. The bylaws shall provide the method of calling meetings
  148  of unit owners, including annual meetings. Written notice, which
  149  notice must include an agenda, shall be mailed, hand delivered,
  150  or electronically transmitted to each unit owner at least 14
  151  days prior to the annual meeting and shall be posted in a
  152  conspicuous place on the condominium property at least 14
  153  continuous days preceding the annual meeting. Upon notice to the
  154  unit owners, the board shall by duly adopted rule designate a
  155  specific location on the condominium property or association
  156  property upon which all notices of unit owner meetings shall be
  157  posted; however, if there is no condominium property or
  158  association property upon which notices can be posted, this
  159  requirement does not apply. In lieu of or in addition to the
  160  physical posting of notice of any meeting of the unit owners on
  161  the condominium property, the association may, by reasonable
  162  rule, adopt a procedure for conspicuously posting and repeatedly
  163  broadcasting the notice and the agenda on a closed-circuit cable
  164  television system serving the condominium association. However,
  165  if broadcast notice is used in lieu of a notice posted
  166  physically on the condominium property, the notice and agenda
  167  must be broadcast at least four times every broadcast hour of
  168  each day that a posted notice is otherwise required under this
  169  section. When broadcast notice is provided, the notice and
  170  agenda must be broadcast in a manner and for a sufficient
  171  continuous length of time so as to allow an average reader to
  172  observe the notice and read and comprehend the entire content of
  173  the notice and the agenda. Unless a unit owner waives in writing
  174  the right to receive notice of the annual meeting, such notice
  175  shall be hand delivered, mailed, or electronically transmitted
  176  to each unit owner. Notice for meetings and notice for all other
  177  purposes shall be mailed to each unit owner at the address last
  178  furnished to the association by the unit owner, or hand
  179  delivered to each unit owner. However, if a unit is owned by
  180  more than one person, the association shall provide notice, for
  181  meetings and all other purposes, to that one address which the
  182  developer initially identifies for that purpose and thereafter
  183  as one or more of the owners of the unit shall so advise the
  184  association in writing, or if no address is given or the owners
  185  of the unit do not agree, to the address provided on the deed of
  186  record. An officer of the association, or the manager or other
  187  person providing notice of the association meeting, shall
  188  provide an affidavit or United States Postal Service certificate
  189  of mailing, to be included in the official records of the
  190  association affirming that the notice was mailed or hand
  191  delivered, in accordance with this provision.
  192         3. The members of the board shall be elected by written
  193  ballot or voting machine. Proxies shall in no event be used in
  194  electing the board, either in general elections or elections to
  195  fill vacancies caused by recall, resignation, or otherwise,
  196  unless otherwise provided in this chapter. Not less than 60 days
  197  before a scheduled election, the association shall mail,
  198  deliver, or electronically transmit, whether by separate
  199  association mailing or included in another association mailing,
  200  delivery, or transmission, including regularly published
  201  newsletters, to each unit owner entitled to a vote, a first
  202  notice of the date of the election along with a certification
  203  form provided by the division attesting that he or she has read
  204  and understands, to the best of his or her ability, the
  205  governing documents of the association and the provisions of
  206  this chapter and any applicable rules. Any unit owner or other
  207  eligible person desiring to be a candidate for the board must
  208  give written notice to the association not less than 40 days
  209  before a scheduled election. Together with the written notice
  210  and agenda as set forth in subparagraph 2., the association
  211  shall mail, deliver, or electronically transmit a second notice
  212  of the election to all unit owners entitled to vote therein,
  213  together with a ballot which shall list all candidates. Upon
  214  request of a candidate, the association shall include an
  215  information sheet, no larger than 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches,
  216  which must be furnished by the candidate not less than 35 days
  217  before the election, along with the signed certification form
  218  provided for in this subparagraph, to be included with the
  219  mailing, delivery, or transmission of the ballot, with the costs
  220  of mailing, delivery, or electronic transmission and copying to
  221  be borne by the association. The association is not liable for
  222  the contents of the information sheets prepared by the
  223  candidates. In order to reduce costs, the association may print
  224  or duplicate the information sheets on both sides of the paper.
  225  The division shall by rule establish voting procedures
  226  consistent with the provisions contained herein, including rules
  227  establishing procedures for giving notice by electronic
  228  transmission and rules providing for the secrecy of ballots.
  229  Elections shall be decided by a plurality of those ballots cast.
  230  There shall be no quorum requirement; however, at least 20
  231  percent of the eligible voters must cast a ballot in order to
  232  have a valid election of members of the board. No unit owner
  233  shall permit any other person to vote his or her ballot, and any
  234  such ballots improperly cast shall be deemed invalid, provided
  235  any unit owner who violates this provision may be fined by the
  236  association in accordance with s. 718.303. A unit owner who
  237  needs assistance in casting the ballot for the reasons stated in
  238  s. 101.051 may obtain assistance in casting the ballot. The
  239  regular election shall occur on the date of the annual meeting.
  240  The provisions of this subparagraph shall not apply to timeshare
  241  condominium associations. Notwithstanding the provisions of this
  242  subparagraph, an election is not required unless more candidates
  243  file notices of intent to run or are nominated than board
  244  vacancies exist.
  245         4. Any approval by unit owners called for by this chapter
  246  or the applicable declaration or bylaws, including, but not
  247  limited to, the approval requirement in s. 718.111(8), shall be
  248  made at a duly noticed meeting of unit owners and shall be
  249  subject to all requirements of this chapter or the applicable
  250  condominium documents relating to unit owner decisionmaking,
  251  except that unit owners may take action by written agreement,
  252  without meetings, on matters for which action by written
  253  agreement without meetings is expressly allowed by the
  254  applicable bylaws or declaration or any statute that provides
  255  for such action.
  256         5. Unit owners may waive notice of specific meetings if
  257  allowed by the applicable bylaws or declaration or any statute.
  258  If authorized by the bylaws, notice of meetings of the board of
  259  administration, unit owner meetings, except unit owner meetings
  260  called to recall board members under paragraph (j), and
  261  committee meetings may be given by electronic transmission to
  262  unit owners who consent to receive notice by electronic
  263  transmission.
  264         6. Unit owners shall have the right to participate in
  265  meetings of unit owners with reference to all designated agenda
  266  items. However, the association may adopt reasonable rules
  267  governing the frequency, duration, and manner of unit owner
  268  participation.
  269         7. Any unit owner may tape record or videotape a meeting of
  270  the unit owners subject to reasonable rules adopted by the
  271  division.
  272         8. Unless otherwise provided in the bylaws, any vacancy
  273  occurring on the board before the expiration of a term may be
  274  filled by the affirmative vote of the majority of the remaining
  275  directors, even if the remaining directors constitute less than
  276  a quorum, or by the sole remaining director. In the alternative,
  277  a board may hold an election to fill the vacancy, in which case
  278  the election procedures must conform to the requirements of
  279  subparagraph 3. unless the association governs 10 units or less
  280  and has opted out of the statutory election process, in which
  281  case the bylaws of the association control. Unless otherwise
  282  provided in the bylaws, a board member appointed or elected
  283  under this section shall fill the vacancy for the unexpired term
  284  of the seat being filled. Filling vacancies created by recall is
  285  governed by paragraph (j) and rules adopted by the division.
  286         9.Within 30 days after being elected to the board of
  287  directors, a new director shall certify in writing to the
  288  secretary of the association that he or she has read the
  289  association’s declarations of covenants and restrictions,
  290  articles of incorporation, bylaws, and current written policies,
  291  that he or she will work to uphold such documents and policies
  292  to the best of his or her ability, and that he or she will
  293  faithfully discharge his or her fiduciary responsibility to the
  294  association’s members. Failure to timely file the statement
  295  automatically disqualifies the director from service on the
  296  association’s board of directors. The secretary shall cause the
  297  association to retain a director’s certification for inspection
  298  by the members for 5 years after a director’s election. Failure
  299  to have such certification on file does not affect the validity
  300  of any appropriate action.
  301  
  302  Notwithstanding subparagraphs (b)2. and (d)3., an association of
  303  10 or fewer units may, by the affirmative vote of a majority of
  304  the total voting interests, provide for different voting and
  305  election procedures in its bylaws, which vote may be by a proxy
  306  specifically delineating the different voting and election
  307  procedures. The different voting and election procedures may
  308  provide for elections to be conducted by limited or general
  309  proxy.
  310         Section 2. Paragraph (b) of subsection (2), paragraphs (a)
  311  and (c) of subsection (5), paragraphs (b), (c), (d), (f), and
  312  (g) of subsection (6), and paragraphs (b) and (d) of subsection
  313  (10) of section 720.303, Florida Statutes, are amended, and
  314  subsection (12) is added to that section, to read:
  315         720.303 Association powers and duties; meetings of board;
  316  official records; budgets; financial reporting; association
  317  funds; recalls.—
  318         (2) BOARD MEETINGS.—
  319         (b) Members have the right to attend all meetings of the
  320  board and to speak on any matter placed on the agenda by
  321  petition of the voting interests for at least 3 minutes. The
  322  association may adopt written reasonable rules expanding the
  323  right of members to speak and governing the frequency, duration,
  324  and other manner of member statements, which rules must be
  325  consistent with this paragraph and may include a sign-up sheet
  326  for members wishing to speak. Notwithstanding any other law, the
  327  requirement that board meetings and committee meetings be open
  328  to the members is inapplicable to meetings between the board or
  329  a committee and the association’s attorney to discuss proposed
  330  or pending litigation, or with respect to meetings of the board
  331  held for the purpose of discussing personnel matters are not
  332  required to be open to the members.
  333         (5) INSPECTION AND COPYING OF RECORDS.—The official records
  334  shall be maintained within the state and must be open to
  335  inspection and available for photocopying by members or their
  336  authorized agents at reasonable times and places within 10
  337  business days after receipt of a written request for access.
  338  This subsection may be complied with by having a copy of the
  339  official records available for inspection or copying in the
  340  community. If the association has a photocopy machine available
  341  where the records are maintained, it must provide parcel owners
  342  with copies on request during the inspection if the entire
  343  request is limited to no more than 25 pages.
  344         (a) The failure of an association to provide access to the
  345  records within 10 business days after receipt of a written
  346  request submitted by certified mail, return receipt requested,
  347  creates a rebuttable presumption that the association willfully
  348  failed to comply with this subsection.
  349         (c) The association may adopt reasonable written rules
  350  governing the frequency, time, location, notice, records to be
  351  inspected, and manner of inspections, but may not require impose
  352  a requirement that a parcel owner to demonstrate any proper
  353  purpose for the inspection, state any reason for the inspection,
  354  or limit a parcel owner’s right to inspect records to less than
  355  one 8-hour business day per month. The association may impose
  356  fees to cover the costs of providing copies of the official
  357  records, including, without limitation, the costs of copying.
  358  The association may charge up to 50 cents per page for copies
  359  made on the association’s photocopier. If the association does
  360  not have a photocopy machine available where the records are
  361  kept, or if the records requested to be copied exceed 25 pages
  362  in length, the association may have copies made by an outside
  363  vendor or association management company personnel and may
  364  charge the actual cost of copying, including any reasonable
  365  costs involving personnel fees and charges at an hourly rate for
  366  employee time to cover administrative costs to the association.
  367  The association shall maintain an adequate number of copies of
  368  the recorded governing documents, to ensure their availability
  369  to members and prospective members. Notwithstanding the
  370  provisions of this paragraph, the following records are shall
  371  not be accessible to members or parcel owners:
  372         1. Any record protected by the lawyer-client privilege as
  373  described in s. 90.502 and any record protected by the work
  374  product privilege, including, but not limited to, any record
  375  prepared by an association attorney or prepared at the
  376  attorney’s express direction which reflects a mental impression,
  377  conclusion, litigation strategy, or legal theory of the attorney
  378  or the association and which was prepared exclusively for civil
  379  or criminal litigation or for adversarial administrative
  380  proceedings or which was prepared in anticipation of imminent
  381  civil or criminal litigation or imminent adversarial
  382  administrative proceedings until the conclusion of the
  383  litigation or adversarial administrative proceedings.
  384         2. Information obtained by an association in connection
  385  with the approval of the lease, sale, or other transfer of a
  386  parcel.
  387         3. Disciplinary, health, insurance, and personnel records,
  388  including payroll records, of the association’s employees.
  389         4. Medical records of parcel owners or community residents.
  390         (6) BUDGETS.—
  391         (b) In addition to annual operating expenses, the budget
  392  may include reserve accounts for capital expenditures and
  393  deferred maintenance for which the association is responsible.
  394  If reserve accounts are not established pursuant to paragraph
  395  (d), funding of such reserves shall be limited to the extent
  396  that the governing documents do not limit increases in
  397  assessments, including reserves. If the budget of the
  398  association includes reserve accounts established pursuant to
  399  paragraph (d), such reserves shall be determined, maintained,
  400  and waived in the manner provided in this subsection. Once an
  401  association provides for reserve accounts pursuant to paragraph
  402  (d) in the budget, the association shall thereafter determine,
  403  maintain, and waive reserves in compliance with this subsection.
  404  The provisions of this section do not preclude the termination
  405  of a reserve account established pursuant to this paragraph upon
  406  approval of a majority of the voting interests of the
  407  association. Upon such approval, the terminating reserve account
  408  shall be removed from the budget.
  409         (c)1. If the budget of the association does not provide for
  410  reserve accounts pursuant to paragraph (d) governed by this
  411  subsection and the association is responsible for the repair and
  412  maintenance of capital improvements that may result in a special
  413  assessment if reserves are not provided, each financial report
  414  for the preceding fiscal year required by subsection (7) shall
  415  contain the following statement in conspicuous type: THE BUDGET
  416  OF THE ASSOCIATION DOES NOT PROVIDE FOR RESERVE ACCOUNTS FOR
  417  CAPITAL EXPENDITURES AND DEFERRED MAINTENANCE THAT MAY RESULT IN
  418  SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS. OWNERS MAY ELECT TO PROVIDE FOR RESERVE
  419  ACCOUNTS PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 720.303(6),
  420  FLORIDA STATUTES, UPON OBTAINING THE APPROVAL OF NOT LESS THAN A
  421  MAJORITY OF THE TOTAL VOTING INTERESTS OF THE ASSOCIATION BY
  422  VOTE OF THE MEMBERS AT A MEETING OR BY WRITTEN CONSENT.
  423         2.If the budget of the association does provide for
  424  funding accounts for deferred expenditures, including, but not
  425  limited to, funds for capital expenditures and deferred
  426  maintenance, but such accounts are not created or established
  427  pursuant to paragraph (d), each financial report for the
  428  preceding fiscal year required under subsection (7) must also
  429  contain the following statement in conspicuous type: THE BUDGET
  430  OF THE ASSOCIATION DOES PROVIDE FOR LIMITED VOLUNTARY DEFERRED
  431  EXPENDITURE ACCOUNTS, INCLUDING CAPITAL EXPENDITURES AND
  432  DEFERRED MAINTENANCE, SUBJECT TO LIMITS ON FUNDING CONTAINED IN
  433  OUR GOVERNING DOCUMENTS. BECAUSE THE OWNERS HAVE NOT ELECTED TO
  434  PROVIDE FOR RESERVE ACCOUNTS PURSUANT TO SECTION 720.303(6),
  435  FLORIDA STATUTES, THESE FUNDS ARE NOT SUBJECT TO THE
  436  RESTRICTIONS ON USE OF SUCH FUNDS SET FORTH IN THAT STATUTE, NOR
  437  ARE RESERVES CALCULATED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THAT STATUTE.
  438         (d) An association shall be deemed to have provided for
  439  reserve accounts if when reserve accounts have been initially
  440  established by the developer or if when the membership of the
  441  association affirmatively elects to provide for reserves. If
  442  reserve accounts are not initially provided for by the
  443  developer, the membership of the association may elect to do so
  444  upon the affirmative approval of not less than a majority of the
  445  total voting interests of the association. Such approval may be
  446  obtained attained by vote of the members at a duly called
  447  meeting of the membership or by the upon a written consent of
  448  executed by not less than a majority of the total voting
  449  interests in the community. The approval action of the
  450  membership shall state that reserve accounts shall be provided
  451  for in the budget and shall designate the components for which
  452  the reserve accounts are to be established. Upon approval by the
  453  membership, the board of directors shall include provide for the
  454  required reserve accounts for inclusion in the budget in the
  455  next fiscal year following the approval and in each year
  456  thereafter. Once established as provided in this subsection, the
  457  reserve accounts shall be funded or maintained or shall have
  458  their funding waived in the manner provided in paragraph (f).
  459         (f) After one or more Once a reserve account or reserve
  460  accounts are established, the membership of the association,
  461  upon a majority vote at a meeting at which a quorum is present,
  462  may provide for no reserves or less reserves than required by
  463  this section. If a meeting of the unit owners has been called to
  464  determine whether to waive or reduce the funding of reserves and
  465  no such result is achieved or a quorum is not present, the
  466  reserves as included in the budget shall go into effect. After
  467  the turnover, the developer may vote its voting interest to
  468  waive or reduce the funding of reserves. Any vote taken pursuant
  469  to this subsection to waive or reduce reserves is shall be
  470  applicable only to one budget year.
  471         (g) Funding formulas for reserves authorized by this
  472  section shall be based on either a separate analysis of each of
  473  the required assets or a pooled analysis of two or more of the
  474  required assets.
  475         1. If the association maintains separate reserve accounts
  476  for each of the required assets, the amount of the contribution
  477  to each reserve account is shall be the sum of the following two
  478  calculations:
  479         a. The total amount necessary, if any, to bring a negative
  480  component balance to zero.
  481         b. The total estimated deferred maintenance expense or
  482  estimated replacement cost of the reserve component less the
  483  estimated balance of the reserve component as of the beginning
  484  of the period for which the budget will be in effect. The
  485  remainder, if greater than zero, shall be divided by the
  486  estimated remaining useful life of the component.
  487  
  488  The formula may be adjusted each year for changes in estimates
  489  and deferred maintenance performed during the year and may
  490  include factors such as inflation and earnings on invested
  491  funds.
  492         2. If the association maintains a pooled account of two or
  493  more of the required reserve assets, the amount of the
  494  contribution to the pooled reserve account as disclosed on the
  495  proposed budget may shall not be less than that required to
  496  ensure that the balance on hand at the beginning of the period
  497  for which the budget will go into effect plus the projected
  498  annual cash inflows over the remaining estimated useful life of
  499  all of the assets that make up the reserve pool are equal to or
  500  greater than the projected annual cash outflows over the
  501  remaining estimated useful lives of all of the assets that make
  502  up the reserve pool, based on the current reserve analysis. The
  503  projected annual cash inflows may include estimated earnings
  504  from investment of principal and accounts receivable minus the
  505  allowance for doubtful accounts. The reserve funding formula may
  506  shall not include any type of balloon payments.
  507         (10) RECALL OF DIRECTORS.—
  508         (b)1. Board directors may be recalled by an agreement in
  509  writing or by written ballot without a membership meeting. The
  510  agreement in writing or the written ballots, or a copy thereof,
  511  shall be served on the association by certified mail or by
  512  personal service in the manner authorized by chapter 48 and the
  513  Florida Rules of Civil Procedure.
  514         2. The board shall duly notice and hold a meeting of the
  515  board within 5 full business days after receipt of the agreement
  516  in writing or written ballots. At the meeting, the board shall
  517  either certify the written ballots or written agreement to
  518  recall a director or directors of the board, in which case such
  519  director or directors shall be recalled effective immediately
  520  and shall turn over to the board within 5 full business days any
  521  and all records and property of the association in their
  522  possession, or proceed as described in paragraph (d).
  523         3. When it is determined by the department pursuant to
  524  binding arbitration proceedings that an initial recall effort
  525  was defective, written recall agreements or written ballots used
  526  in the first recall effort and not found to be defective may be
  527  reused in one subsequent recall effort. However, in no event is
  528  a written agreement or written ballot valid for more than 120
  529  days after it has been signed by the member.
  530         4. Any rescission or revocation of a member’s written
  531  recall ballot or agreement must be in writing and, in order to
  532  be effective, must be delivered to the association before the
  533  association is served with the written recall agreements or
  534  ballots.
  535         5. The agreement in writing or ballot shall list at least
  536  as many possible replacement directors as there are directors
  537  subject to the recall, when at least a majority of the board is
  538  sought to be recalled; the person executing the recall
  539  instrument may vote for as many replacement candidates as there
  540  are directors subject to the recall.
  541         (d) If the board determines not to certify the written
  542  agreement or written ballots to recall a director or directors
  543  of the board or does not certify the recall by a vote at a
  544  meeting, the board shall, within 5 full business days after the
  545  meeting, initiate file with the department a petition for
  546  binding arbitration pursuant to the applicable procedures in s.
  547  720.507 ss. 718.112(2)(j) and 718.1255 and the rules adopted
  548  thereunder. For the purposes of this section, the members who
  549  voted at the meeting or who executed the agreement in writing
  550  shall constitute one party under the petition for arbitration.
  551  If the arbitrator certifies the recall as to any director or
  552  directors of the board, the recall will be effective upon
  553  mailing of the final order of arbitration to the association.
  554  The director or directors so recalled shall deliver to the board
  555  any and all records of the association in their possession
  556  within 5 full business days after the effective date of the
  557  recall.
  558         (12)COMPENSATION PROHIBITED.—A director, officer, or
  559  committee member of the association may not receive directly or
  560  indirectly any salary or compensation from the association for
  561  the performance of duties as a director, officer, or committee
  562  member and may not in any other way benefit financially from
  563  service to the association. This subsection does not preclude:
  564         (a)Participation by such person in a financial benefit
  565  accruing to all or a significant number of members as a result
  566  of actions lawfully taken by the board or a committee of which
  567  he or she is a member, including, but not limited to, routine
  568  maintenance, repair, or replacement of community assets.
  569         (b)Reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses incurred by
  570  such person on behalf of the association, subject to approval in
  571  accordance with procedures established by the association’s
  572  governing documents or, in the absence of such procedures, in
  573  accordance with an approval process established by the board.
  574         (c)Any recovery of insurance proceeds derived from a
  575  policy of insurance maintained by the association for the
  576  benefit of its members.
  577         (d)Any fee or compensation authorized in the governing
  578  documents.
  579         (e)Any fee or compensation authorized in advance by a vote
  580  of a majority of the voting interests voting in person or by
  581  proxy at a meeting of the members.
  582         Section 3. Subsection (2) of section 720.305, Florida
  583  Statutes, is amended to read:
  584         720.305 Obligations of members; remedies at law or in
  585  equity; levy of fines and suspension of use rights.—
  586         (2) If the governing documents so provide, an association
  587  may suspend, for a reasonable period of time, the rights of a
  588  member or a member’s tenants, guests, or invitees, or both, to
  589  use common areas and facilities and may levy reasonable fines of
  590  up to, not to exceed $100 per violation, against any member or
  591  any tenant, guest, or invitee. A fine may be levied on the basis
  592  of each day of a continuing violation, with a single notice and
  593  opportunity for hearing, except that a no such fine may not
  594  shall exceed $1,000 in the aggregate unless otherwise provided
  595  in the governing documents. A fine of less than $1,000 may shall
  596  not become a lien against a parcel. In any action to recover a
  597  fine, the prevailing party is entitled to collect its reasonable
  598  attorney’s fees and costs from the nonprevailing party as
  599  determined by the court.
  600         (a) A fine or suspension may not be imposed without notice
  601  of at least 14 days’ notice days to the person sought to be
  602  fined or suspended and an opportunity for a hearing before a
  603  committee of at least three members appointed by the board who
  604  are not officers, directors, or employees of the association, or
  605  the spouse, parent, child, brother, or sister of an officer,
  606  director, or employee. If the committee, by majority vote, does
  607  not approve a proposed fine or suspension, it may not be
  608  imposed.
  609         (b) The requirements of this subsection do not apply to the
  610  imposition of suspensions or fines upon any member because of
  611  the failure of the member to pay assessments or other charges
  612  when due if such action is authorized by the governing
  613  documents.
  614         (c) Suspension of common-area-use rights does shall not
  615  impair the right of an owner or tenant of a parcel to have
  616  vehicular and pedestrian ingress to and egress from the parcel,
  617  including, but not limited to, the right to park.
  618         Section 4. Subsections (8) and (9) of section 720.306,
  619  Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
  620         720.306 Meetings of members; voting and election
  621  procedures; amendments.—
  622         (8) PROXY VOTING.—The members have the right, unless
  623  otherwise provided in this subsection or in the governing
  624  documents, to vote in person or by proxy.
  625         (a) To be valid, a proxy must be dated, must state the
  626  date, time, and place of the meeting for which it was given, and
  627  must be signed by the authorized person who executed the proxy.
  628  A proxy is effective only for the specific meeting for which it
  629  was originally given, as the meeting may lawfully be adjourned
  630  and reconvened from time to time, and automatically expires 90
  631  days after the date of the meeting for which it was originally
  632  given. A proxy is revocable at any time at the pleasure of the
  633  person who executes it. If the proxy form expressly so provides,
  634  any proxy holder may appoint, in writing, a substitute to act in
  635  his or her place.
  636         (b)If the governing documents permit voting by secret
  637  ballot by members who are not in attendance at a meeting of the
  638  members for the election of directors, such ballots shall be
  639  placed in an inner envelope with no identifying markings and
  640  mailed or delivered to the association in an outer envelope
  641  bearing identifying information reflecting the name of the
  642  member, the lot or parcel for which the vote is being cast, and
  643  the signature of the lot or parcel owner casting that ballot. If
  644  the eligibility of the member to vote is confirmed and no other
  645  ballot has been submitted for that lot or parcel, the inner
  646  envelope shall be removed from the outer envelope bearing the
  647  identification information, placed with the ballots which were
  648  personally cast, and opened when the ballots are counted. If
  649  more than one ballot is submitted for a lot or parcel, the
  650  ballots for that lot or parcel shall be disqualified. Any vote
  651  by ballot received after the closing of the balloting may not be
  652  considered.
  653         (9) ELECTIONS; BOARD MEMBER CERTIFICATION.—
  654         (a) Elections of directors must be conducted in accordance
  655  with the procedures set forth in the governing documents of the
  656  association. All members of the association are shall be
  657  eligible to serve on the board of directors, and a member may
  658  nominate himself or herself as a candidate for the board at a
  659  meeting where the election is to be held or, if the election
  660  process allows voting by absentee ballot, in advance of the
  661  balloting. Except as otherwise provided in the governing
  662  documents, boards of directors must be elected by a plurality of
  663  the votes cast by eligible voters. Any election dispute between
  664  a member and an association must be submitted to mandatory
  665  binding arbitration with the division. Such proceedings shall be
  666  conducted in the manner provided by s. 720.507 s. 718.1255 and
  667  the procedural rules adopted by the division.
  668         (b)Within 30 days after being elected to the board of
  669  directors, a new director shall certify in writing to the
  670  secretary of the association that he or she has read the
  671  association’s declarations of covenants and restrictions,
  672  articles of incorporation, bylaws, and current written policies
  673  and that he or she will work to uphold each to the best of his
  674  or her ability and will faithfully discharge his or her
  675  fiduciary responsibility to the association’s members. Failure
  676  to timely file such statement shall automatically disqualify the
  677  director from service on the association’s board of directors.
  678  The secretary shall cause the association to retain a director’s
  679  certification for inspection by the members for 5 years after a
  680  director’s election. Failure to have such certification on file
  681  does not affect the validity of any appropriate action.
  682         Section 5. Section 720.315, Florida Statutes, is created to
  683  read:
  684         720.315Passage of special assessments before turnover by
  685  developer.—
  686         (1)Before the turnover of an association by a developer as
  687  described in this chapter, the board of directors may not pass
  688  more than one special assessment during a calendar year.
  689         (2)Each special assessment must be adopted at a meeting of
  690  the board conducted solely for the purpose of discussing and
  691  adopting such assessment. The location of the meeting must be in
  692  the same county in which the association is located. The board
  693  shall provide at least 30 days’ notice of the meeting by:
  694         (a)Posting a sign in the association’s common area listing
  695  the date, time, and location of the meeting and containing, in
  696  at least 36-point, boldface type, the words “SPECIAL MEETING
  697  REGARDING PROPOSED SPECIAL ASSESSMENT.”
  698         (b)Mailing to all members of the association, at the
  699  address contained in the association’s membership log or, if the
  700  association does not maintain a membership log, at the address
  701  of the property located within the association, a letter
  702  containing:
  703         1.The date, time, and location of the meeting;
  704         2.The amount of the proposed special assessment to be
  705  assessed to each member of the association;
  706         3.A copy of each document used or relied upon by the
  707  association or its agents in calculating the amount of the
  708  special assessment; and
  709         4.A letter of explanation from a certified public
  710  accountant disclosing the method and manner used to calculate
  711  the amount of the special assessment.
  712         (3)The proposed special assessment may not exceed 20
  713  percent of the current year’s regular annual assessment. Moneys
  714  collected as a result of a special assessment may not be used to
  715  supplement or fund reserve items.
  716         (4)Lots or units owned by the developer, excluding common
  717  areas, are subject to the same payment requirements or payment
  718  deadlines as those owned by members, effective on the date on
  719  which a special assessment is adopted by the board. The
  720  developer may not delay payment of a special assessment based on
  721  the use of a developer’s guarantee. If the board existing before
  722  turnover of the association initiates or authorizes collection
  723  efforts against any member for nonpayment of the special
  724  assessment, it must simultaneously initiate or authorize
  725  collection efforts against any developer-owned units or property
  726  if the special assessment has not been paid by the developer. If
  727  the board fails to pursue the developer for nonpayment of the
  728  special assessment in the same manner and at the same time it
  729  pursues members for nonpayment, a presumption of selective
  730  enforcement is created which constitutes a defense that may be
  731  raised by a member as a complete defense to nonpayment of the
  732  special assessment.
  733         Section 6. Paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of section
  734  720.401, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  735         720.401 Prospective purchasers subject to association
  736  membership requirement; disclosure required; covenants;
  737  assessments; contract cancellation.—
  738         (1)(a) A prospective parcel owner in a community must be
  739  presented a disclosure summary before executing the contract for
  740  sale. The disclosure summary must be in a form substantially
  741  similar to the following form:
  742  
  743                         DISCLOSURE SUMMARY                        
  744                                 FOR                               
  745                         (NAME OF COMMUNITY)                       
  746  
  747         1. AS A PURCHASER OF PROPERTY IN THIS COMMUNITY, YOU WILL
  748  BE OBLIGATED TO BE A MEMBER OF A HOMEOWNERS’ ASSOCIATION.
  749         2. THERE HAVE BEEN OR WILL BE RECORDED RESTRICTIVE
  750  COVENANTS GOVERNING THE USE AND OCCUPANCY OF PROPERTIES IN THIS
  751  COMMUNITY.
  752         3. YOU WILL BE OBLIGATED TO PAY ASSESSMENTS TO THE
  753  ASSOCIATION. ASSESSMENTS MAY BE SUBJECT TO PERIODIC CHANGE. IF
  754  APPLICABLE, THE CURRENT AMOUNT IS $.... PER .... YOU WILL ALSO
  755  BE OBLIGATED TO PAY ANY SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS IMPOSED BY THE
  756  ASSOCIATION. SUCH SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS MAY BE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
  757  IF APPLICABLE, THE CURRENT AMOUNT IS $.... PER ....
  758         4. YOU MAY BE OBLIGATED TO PAY SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS TO THE
  759  RESPECTIVE MUNICIPALITY, COUNTY, OR SPECIAL DISTRICT. ALL
  760  ASSESSMENTS ARE SUBJECT TO PERIODIC CHANGE.
  761         5. YOUR FAILURE TO PAY SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS OR ASSESSMENTS
  762  LEVIED BY A MANDATORY HOMEOWNERS’ ASSOCIATION MAY COULD RESULT
  763  IN A LIEN ON YOUR PROPERTY.
  764         6. THERE MAY BE AN OBLIGATION TO PAY RENT OR LAND USE FEES
  765  FOR RECREATIONAL OR OTHER COMMONLY USED FACILITIES AS AN
  766  OBLIGATION OF MEMBERSHIP IN THE HOMEOWNERS’ ASSOCIATION. IF
  767  APPLICABLE, THE CURRENT AMOUNT IS $ .... PER ....
  768         7. IF THE ASSOCIATION IS STILL UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE
  769  DEVELOPER, THE DEVELOPER MAY HAVE THE RIGHT TO AMEND THE
  770  RESTRICTIVE COVENANTS WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE ASSOCIATION
  771  MEMBERSHIP OR THE APPROVAL OF THE PARCEL OWNERS.
  772         8. THE STATEMENTS CONTAINED IN THIS DISCLOSURE FORM ARE
  773  ONLY SUMMARY IN NATURE, AND, AS A PROSPECTIVE PURCHASER, YOU
  774  SHOULD REFER TO THE COVENANTS AND THE ASSOCIATION GOVERNING
  775  DOCUMENTS BEFORE PURCHASING PROPERTY.
  776         9. THESE DOCUMENTS ARE EITHER MATTERS OF PUBLIC RECORD AND
  777  CAN BE OBTAINED FROM THE RECORD OFFICE IN THE COUNTY WHERE THE
  778  PROPERTY IS LOCATED, OR, IF ARE NOT RECORDED, AND CAN BE
  779  OBTAINED FROM THE DEVELOPER.
  780         10.THERE MAY BE AN OBLIGATION TO PAY ASSESSMENTS (TAXES OR
  781  FEES) TO A RESIDENTIAL COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT FOR THE
  782  PURPOSE OF RETIRING BOND OBLIGATIONS USED TO CONSTRUCT
  783  INFRASTRUCTURE OR OTHER IMPROVEMENTS.
  784         11.YOU ARE JOINTLY AND SEVERALLY LIABLE WITH THE PREVIOUS
  785  OWNER OF YOUR PROPERTY FOR ALL UNPAID ASSESSMENTS THAT CAME DUE
  786  UP TO THE TIME OF TRANSFER OF TITLE.
  787  
  788         DATE: PURCHASER:
  789         PURCHASER:
  790  
  791  The disclosure must be supplied by the developer, or by the
  792  parcel owner if the sale is by an owner that is not the
  793  developer. Any contract or agreement for sale shall refer to and
  794  incorporate the disclosure summary and shall include, in
  795  prominent language, a statement that the potential buyer should
  796  not execute the contract or agreement until he or she has they
  797  have received and read the disclosure summary required by this
  798  section.
  799         Section 7. Paragraph (d) of subsection (1) of section
  800  34.01, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  801         34.01 Jurisdiction of county court.—
  802         (1) County courts shall have original jurisdiction:
  803         (d) Of disputes occurring in the homeowners’ associations
  804  as described in part IV of chapter 720 s. 720.311(2)(a), which
  805  shall be concurrent with jurisdiction of the circuit courts.
  806         Section 8. Subsection (2) of section 720.302, Florida
  807  Statutes, is amended to read:
  808         720.302 Purposes, scope, and application.—
  809         (2) The Legislature recognizes that it is not in the best
  810  interest of homeowners’ associations or the individual
  811  association members thereof to create or impose a bureau or
  812  other agency of state government to regulate the affairs of
  813  homeowners’ associations. However, in accordance with part IV of
  814  this chapter s. 720.311, the Legislature finds that homeowners’
  815  associations and their individual members will benefit from an
  816  expedited alternative process for resolution of election and
  817  recall disputes and presuit mediation of other disputes
  818  involving covenant enforcement in homeowner’s associations and
  819  deed-restricted communities using the procedures provided in
  820  part IV of and authorizes the department to hear, administer,
  821  and determine these disputes as more fully set forth in this
  822  chapter. Further, the Legislature recognizes that certain
  823  contract rights have been created for the benefit of homeowners’
  824  associations and members thereof as well as deed-restricted
  825  communities before the effective date of this act and that part
  826  IV of this chapter is ss. 720.301-720.407 are not intended to
  827  impair such contract rights, including, but not limited to, the
  828  rights of the developer to complete the community as initially
  829  contemplated.
  830         Section 9. Section 720.311, Florida Statutes, is repealed.
  831         Section 10. Part IV of chapter 720, Florida Statutes, to be
  832  entitled “Dispute Resolution,” consisting of sections 720.501,
  833  720.502, 720.503, 720.504, 720.505, 720.506, 720.507, 720.508,
  834  720.509, and 720.510, is created to read:
  835         720.501Short title.—This part may be cited as the “Home
  836  Court Advantage Dispute Resolution Act.”
  837         720.502Legislative findings.—The Legislature finds that
  838  alternative dispute resolution has made progress in reducing
  839  court dockets and trials and in offering a more efficient, cost
  840  effective option to litigation.
  841         720.503Applicability of this part.—
  842         (1)Unless otherwise provided in this part, before a
  843  dispute described in this part between a homeowners’ association
  844  and a parcel owner or owners, or a dispute between parcel owners
  845  within the same homeowners’ association, may be filed in court,
  846  the dispute is subject to presuit mediation pursuant to s.
  847  720.505 or presuit arbitration pursuant to s. 720.507, at the
  848  option of the aggrieved party who initiates the first formal
  849  action of alternative dispute resolution under this part. The
  850  parties may mutually agree to participate in both presuit
  851  mediation and presuit arbitration before the suit is filed by
  852  either party.
  853         (2)Unless otherwise provided in this part, the mediation
  854  and arbitration provisions of this part are limited to disputes
  855  between an association and a parcel owner or owners or between
  856  parcel owners regarding the use of or changes to the parcel or
  857  the common areas under the governing documents and other
  858  disputes involving violations of the recorded declaration of
  859  covenants or other governing documents, disputes arising
  860  concerning the enforcement of the governing documents or any
  861  amendments thereto, and disputes involving access to the
  862  official records of the association. A dispute concerning a
  863  title to any parcel or common area, the interpretation or
  864  enforcement of any warranty, the levy of a fee or assessment,
  865  the collection of an assessment levied against a party, the
  866  eviction or other removal of a tenant from a parcel, alleged
  867  breaches of fiduciary duty by one or more directors, or any
  868  action to collect mortgage indebtedness or to foreclose a
  869  mortgage is not subject to the provisions of this part.
  870         (3)All disputes arising after the effective date of this
  871  part involving the election of the board of directors for an
  872  association or the recall of any member of the board or officer
  873  of the association are not eligible for presuit mediation under
  874  s. 720.505, but are subject to binding presuit arbitration under
  875  s. 720.507.
  876         (4)In any dispute subject to presuit mediation or presuit
  877  arbitration under this part for which emergency relief is
  878  required, a motion for temporary injunctive relief may be filed
  879  with the court without first complying with the presuit
  880  mediation or presuit arbitration requirements of this part.
  881  After any issues regarding emergency or temporary relief are
  882  resolved, the court may refer the parties to a mediation program
  883  administered by the courts or require mediation or arbitration
  884  under this part.
  885         (5)The mailing of a statutory notice of presuit mediation
  886  or presuit arbitration as provided in this part shall toll the
  887  applicable statute of limitations during the pendency of the
  888  mediation or arbitration and for a period of 30 days following
  889  the conclusion of either proceeding. The 30-day period starts
  890  upon the filing of the mediator’s notice of impasse or the
  891  arbitrator’s written arbitration award. If the parties mutually
  892  agree to participate in both presuit mediation and presuit
  893  arbitration under this part, the tolling of the applicable
  894  statute of limitations for each such alternative dispute
  895  resolution proceeding shall be consecutive.
  896         720.504Notice of dispute.—Before giving the statutory
  897  notice to proceed under presuit mediation or presuit arbitration
  898  under this part, the aggrieved association or parcel owner shall
  899  first provide written notice of the dispute to the responding
  900  party in the manner provided by this section.
  901         (1)The notice of dispute shall be delivered to the
  902  responding party by certified mail, return receipt requested, or
  903  shall be hand delivered, and the person making delivery shall
  904  file with the notice of mediation either the proof of receipt of
  905  mailing or an affidavit stating the date and time of the
  906  delivery of the notice of dispute. If the notice is delivered by
  907  certified mail, return receipt requested, and the responding
  908  party fails or refuses to accept delivery, notice shall be
  909  considered properly delivered for purposes of this section on
  910  the date of the first attempted delivery.
  911         (2)The notice of dispute must state with specificity the
  912  nature of the dispute, including the date, time, and location of
  913  each event that is the subject of the dispute and the action
  914  requested to resolve the dispute. The notice must also include
  915  the text of any provision in the governing documents, including
  916  the rules and regulations, of the association which form the
  917  basis of the dispute.
  918         (3)Unless the parties otherwise agree in writing to a
  919  longer time period, the party receiving the notice of dispute
  920  has 10 days following the date of receipt of notice to resolve
  921  the dispute. If the alleged dispute has not been resolved within
  922  the 10-day period, the aggrieved party may proceed under this
  923  part at any time thereafter within the applicable statute of
  924  limitations.
  925         (4)A copy of the notice and the text of the provision in
  926  the governing documents, or the rules and regulations, of the
  927  association which are the basis of the dispute, along with proof
  928  of service of the notice of dispute and a copy of any written
  929  responses received from the responding party, shall be included
  930  as an exhibit to any demand for mediation or arbitration under
  931  this part.
  932         720.505Presuit mediation.—
  933         (1)Disputes between an association and a parcel owner or
  934  owners and between parcel owners must be submitted to presuit
  935  mediation before the dispute may be filed in court; or, at the
  936  election of the party initiating the presuit procedures, such
  937  dispute may be submitted to presuit arbitration pursuant to s.
  938  720.507 before the dispute may be filed in court. An aggrieved
  939  party who elects to use the presuit mediation procedure under
  940  this section shall serve on the responding party a written
  941  notice of presuit mediation in substantially the following form:
  942  
  943                STATUTORY NOTICE OF PRESUIT MEDIATION              
  944  
  945         THE ALLEGED AGGRIEVED PARTY, ____________________, HEREBY
  946  DEMANDS THAT ____________________, AS THE RESPONDING PARTY,
  947  ENGAGE IN MANDATORY PRESUIT MEDIATION IN CONNECTION WITH THE
  948  FOLLOWING DISPUTES WITH YOU, WHICH BY STATUTE ARE OF A TYPE THAT
  949  ARE SUBJECT TO PRESUIT MEDIATION:
  950  
  951         ATTACHED IS A COPY OF THE PRIOR NOTICE OF VIOLATION WHICH
  952  DETAILS THE SPECIFIC NATURE OF THE DISPUTE(S) TO BE MEDIATED AND
  953  THE AUTHORITY SUPPORTING A FINDING OF A VIOLATION AS TO EACH
  954  DISPUTE, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE APPLICABLE
  955  PROVISIONS OF THE GOVERNING DOCUMENTS OF THE ASSOCIATION
  956  BELIEVED TO APPLY TO THE DISPUTE BETWEEN THE PARTIES, AND A COPY
  957  OF THE NOTICE YOU RECEIVED OR REFUSED AND COPIES OF ANY WRITTEN
  958  RESPONSE(S) RECEIVED FROM YOU ABOUT THIS DISPUTE.
  959  
  960         PURSUANT TO PART IV OF CHAPTER 720, FLORIDA STATUTES, THIS
  961  DEMAND TO RESOLVE THE DISPUTE THROUGH PRESUIT MEDIATION IS
  962  REQUIRED BEFORE A LAWSUIT CAN BE FILED CONCERNING THE DISPUTE.
  963  PURSUANT TO FLORIDA STATUTES, THE PARTIES ARE REQUIRED TO ENGAGE
  964  IN PRESUIT MEDIATION WITH A NEUTRAL THIRD-PARTY MEDIATOR IN
  965  ORDER TO ATTEMPT TO RESOLVE THIS DISPUTE WITHOUT COURT ACTION,
  966  AND THE AGGRIEVED PARTY DEMANDS THAT YOU PARTICIPATE IN THIS
  967  PROCESS. UNLESS YOU RESPOND TO THIS NOTICE BY FILING WITH THE
  968  AGGRIEVED PARTY A NOTICE OF OPTING OUT AND DEMAND FOR
  969  ARBITRATION UNDER SECTION 720.506, FLORIDA STATUTES, YOUR
  970  FAILURE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE MEDIATION PROCESS MAY RESULT IN A
  971  LAWSUIT BEING FILED IN COURT AGAINST YOU WITHOUT FURTHER NOTICE.
  972  
  973         THE PROCESS OF MEDIATION INVOLVES A SUPERVISED NEGOTIATION
  974  PROCESS IN WHICH A TRAINED, NEUTRAL THIRD-PARTY MEDIATOR MEETS
  975  WITH BOTH PARTIES AND ASSISTS THEM IN EXPLORING POSSIBLE
  976  OPPORTUNITIES FOR RESOLVING PART OR ALL OF THE DISPUTE. BY
  977  AGREEING TO PARTICIPATE IN PRESUIT MEDIATION, YOU ARE NOT BOUND
  978  IN ANY WAY TO CHANGE YOUR POSITION. FURTHERMORE, THE MEDIATOR
  979  HAS NO AUTHORITY TO MAKE ANY DECISIONS IN THIS MATTER OR TO
  980  DETERMINE WHO IS RIGHT OR WRONG AND MERELY ACTS AS A FACILITATOR
  981  TO ENSURE THAT EACH PARTY UNDERSTANDS THE POSITION OF THE OTHER
  982  PARTY AND THAT ALL OPTIONS FOR REASONABLE SETTLEMENT ARE FULLY
  983  EXPLORED.
  984  
  985         IF AN AGREEMENT IS REACHED, IT SHALL BE REDUCED TO WRITING
  986  AND BECOME A BINDING AND ENFORCEABLE CONTRACT BETWEEN THE
  987  PARTIES. A RESOLUTION OF ONE OR MORE DISPUTES IN THIS FASHION
  988  AVOIDS THE NEED TO LITIGATE THESE ISSUES IN COURT. THE FAILURE
  989  TO REACH AN AGREEMENT, OR THE FAILURE OF A PARTY TO PARTICIPATE
  990  IN THE PROCESS, RESULTS IN THE MEDIATOR DECLARING AN IMPASSE IN
  991  THE MEDIATION, AFTER WHICH THE AGGRIEVED PARTY MAY PROCEED TO
  992  FILE A LAWSUIT ON ALL OUTSTANDING, UNSETTLED DISPUTES. IF YOU
  993  HAVE FAILED OR REFUSED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE ENTIRE MEDIATION
  994  PROCESS, YOU WILL NOT BE ENTITLED TO RECOVER ATTORNEY’S FEES IF
  995  YOU PREVAIL IN A SUBSEQUENT COURT PROCEEDING INVOLVING THE SAME
  996  DISPUTE.
  997  
  998         THE AGGRIEVED PARTY HAS SELECTED FROM A LIST OF ELIGIBLE,
  999  QUALIFIED MEDIATORS AT LEAST FIVE CERTIFIED MEDIATORS WHO THE
 1000  AGGRIEVED PARTY BELIEVES TO BE NEUTRAL AND QUALIFIED TO MEDIATE
 1001  THE DISPUTE. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO SELECT ANY ONE OF THESE
 1002  MEDIATORS. THE FACT THAT ONE PARTY MAY BE FAMILIAR WITH ONE OR
 1003  MORE OF THE LISTED MEDIATORS DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE MEDIATOR
 1004  CANNOT ACT AS A NEUTRAL AND IMPARTIAL FACILITATOR. THE NAMES OF
 1005  THE MEDIATORS THAT THE AGGRIEVED PARTY HEREBY SUBMITS TO YOU,
 1006  AND FROM WHOM YOU MAY CHOOSE ONE; THEIR CURRENT ADDRESSES; THEIR
 1007  TELEPHONE NUMBERS; AND THEIR HOURLY RATES ARE AS FOLLOWS:
 1008  
 1009         (LIST THE NAMES, ADDRESSES, TELEPHONE NUMBERS, AND HOURLY
 1010  RATES OF THE MEDIATORS. OTHER PERTINENT INFORMATION ABOUT THE
 1011  BACKGROUND OF THE MEDIATORS MAY BE INCLUDED AS AN ATTACHMENT.)
 1012  
 1013         YOU MAY CONTACT THE OFFICES OF THESE MEDIATORS TO CONFIRM
 1014  THAT EACH OF THE ABOVE-LISTED MEDIATORS WILL BE NEUTRAL AND WILL
 1015  NOT SHOW ANY FAVORITISM TOWARD EITHER PARTY. UNLESS OTHERWISE
 1016  AGREED TO BY THE PARTIES, PART IV OF CHAPTER 720, FLORIDA
 1017  STATUTES, REQUIRES THAT THE PARTIES SHARE THE COSTS OF PRESUIT
 1018  MEDIATION EQUALLY, INCLUDING THE FEE CHARGED BY THE MEDIATOR. AN
 1019  AVERAGE MEDIATION MAY REQUIRE 3 TO 4 HOURS OF THE MEDIATOR’S
 1020  TIME, INCLUDING SOME PREPARATION TIME, AND THE PARTIES WOULD
 1021  NEED TO EQUALLY SHARE THE MEDIATOR’S FEES AS WELL AS BE
 1022  RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL OF THEIR OWN ATTORNEY’S FEES IF THEY CHOOSE
 1023  TO EMPLOY AN ATTORNEY IN CONNECTION WITH THE MEDIATION. HOWEVER,
 1024  USE OF AN ATTORNEY IS NOT REQUIRED AND IS AT THE OPTION OF EACH
 1025  PARTY. THE MEDIATORS MAY REQUIRE THE ADVANCE PAYMENT OF SOME OR
 1026  ALL OF THE ANTICIPATED FEES. THE AGGRIEVED PARTY HEREBY AGREES
 1027  TO PAY OR PREPAY ONE-HALF OF THE SELECTED MEDIATOR’S ESTIMATED
 1028  FEES AND TO FORWARD THIS AMOUNT OR SUCH OTHER REASONABLE ADVANCE
 1029  DEPOSITS AS THE MEDIATOR REQUIRES FOR THIS PURPOSE UPON THE
 1030  SELECTION OF THE MEDIATOR. ANY FUNDS DEPOSITED WILL BE RETURNED
 1031  TO YOU IF THESE FUNDS ARE IN EXCESS OF YOUR SHARE OF THE
 1032  MEDIATOR FEES INCURRED.
 1033  
 1034         TO BEGIN YOUR PARTICIPATION IN PRESUIT MEDIATION TO TRY TO
 1035  RESOLVE THE DISPUTE WITH YOU AND AVOID FURTHER LEGAL ACTION,
 1036  PLEASE SIGN BELOW AND CLEARLY INDICATE WHICH MEDIATOR IS
 1037  ACCEPTABLE TO YOU FROM THE FIVE MEDIATORS LISTED BY THE
 1038  AGGRIEVED PARTY ABOVE.
 1039  
 1040         YOU MUST RESPOND IN WRITING TO THIS STATUTORY NOTICE OF
 1041  PRESUIT MEDIATION WITHIN 20 DAYS. IN YOUR RESPONSE YOU MUST
 1042  PROVIDE A LISTING OF AT LEAST THREE DATES AND TIMES IN WHICH YOU
 1043  ARE AVAILABLE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE MEDIATION WHICH ARE WITHIN
 1044  90 DAYS AFTER THE POSTMARKED DATE OF THE MAILING OF THIS NOTICE
 1045  OF PRESUIT MEDIATION OR WITHIN 90 DAYS AFTER THE DATE YOU WERE
 1046  SERVED WITH A COPY OF THIS NOTICE. THE AGGRIEVED PARTY WILL THEN
 1047  ASK THE MEDIATOR TO SCHEDULE A MUTUALLY CONVENIENT TIME AND
 1048  PLACE FOR THE MEDIATION CONFERENCE TO BE HELD. IF YOU DO NOT
 1049  PROVIDE A LIST OF AVAILABLE DATES AND TIMES, THE MEDIATOR IS
 1050  AUTHORIZED TO SCHEDULE A MEDIATION CONFERENCE WITHOUT TAKING
 1051  YOUR SCHEDULE AND CONVENIENCE INTO CONSIDERATION. IN NO EVENT
 1052  WILL THE MEDIATION CONFERENCE BE LATER THAN 90 DAYS AFTER THE
 1053  NOTICE OF PRESUIT MEDIATION WAS FIRST SERVED, UNLESS ALL PARTIES
 1054  MUTUALLY AGREE OTHERWISE. IN THE EVENT THAT YOU FAIL TO RESPOND
 1055  WITHIN 20 DAYS AFTER THE DATE OF THIS NOTICE, FAIL TO PROVIDE
 1056  THE MEDIATOR WITH DATES AND TIMES IN WHICH YOU ARE AVAILABLE FOR
 1057  THE MEDIATION CONFERENCE, FAIL TO AGREE TO AT LEAST ONE OF THE
 1058  MEDIATORS THAT THE AGGRIEVED PARTY HAS LISTED, FAIL TO PAY OR
 1059  PREPAY TO THE MEDIATOR ONE-HALF OF THE COSTS INVOLVED, OR FAIL
 1060  TO APPEAR AND PARTICIPATE AT THE SCHEDULED MEDIATION, THE
 1061  AGGRIEVED PARTY WILL BE AUTHORIZED TO PROCEED WITH THE FILING OF
 1062  A LAWSUIT AGAINST YOU WITHOUT FURTHER NOTICE. IN ANY SUBSEQUENT
 1063  COURT ACTION, THE AGGRIEVED PARTY MAY SEEK AN AWARD OF
 1064  REASONABLE ATTORNEY’S FEES AND COSTS INCURRED IN ATTEMPTING TO
 1065  OBTAIN MEDIATION.
 1066  
 1067         PLEASE GIVE THIS MATTER YOUR IMMEDIATE ATTENTION. BY LAW,
 1068  YOUR RESPONSE MUST BE MAILED BY CERTIFIED, FIRST-CLASS MAIL,
 1069  RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED, TO THE AGGRIEVED PARTY LISTED ABOVE AT
 1070  THE ADDRESS SHOWN ON THIS NOTICE AND POSTMARKED NO MORE THAN 20
 1071  DAYS AFTER THE DATE OF THE POSTMARKED DATE FOR THIS NOTICE OR
 1072  WITHIN 20 DAYS AFTER THE DATE UPON WHICH YOU WERE SERVED WITH A
 1073  COPY OF THIS NOTICE.
 1074  
 1075         ________________________
 1076         SIGNATURE OF AGGRIEVED PARTY
 1077  
 1078         ______________________
 1079         PRINTED NAME OF AGGRIEVED PARTY
 1080  
 1081         RESPONDING PARTY: YOUR SIGNATURE BELOW INDICATES YOUR
 1082  ACCEPTANCE OF THE AGREEMENT TO MEDIATE.
 1083  
 1084                        AGREEMENT TO MEDIATE                       
 1085  
 1086         THE UNDERSIGNED HEREBY AGREES TO PARTICIPATE IN PRESUIT
 1087  MEDIATION AND AGREES TO ATTEND A MEDIATION CONDUCTED BY THE
 1088  FOLLOWING MEDIATOR(S) LISTED BELOW AS ACCEPTABLE TO MEDIATE THIS
 1089  DISPUTE:
 1090  
 1091         (LIST ONE ACCEPTABLE MEDIATOR FROM THOSE LISTED BY THE
 1092  AGGRIEVED PARTY.)
 1093  
 1094         THE UNDERSIGNED HEREBY REPRESENTS THAT HE OR SHE CAN ATTEND
 1095  AND PARTICIPATE IN THE PRESUIT MEDIATION AT THE FOLLOWING DATES
 1096  AND TIMES:
 1097  
 1098         (LIST AT LEAST THREE AVAILABLE DATES AND TIMES WITHIN THE
 1099  90-DAY TIME LIMIT DESCRIBED ABOVE.)
 1100  
 1101         I/WE FURTHER AGREE TO PAY OR PREPAY ONE-HALF OF THE
 1102  MEDIATOR’S FEES AND TO FORWARD SUCH ADVANCE DEPOSITS AS THE
 1103  MEDIATOR MAY REQUIRE FOR THIS PURPOSE.
 1104  
 1105         ______________________________
 1106         SIGNATURE OF RESPONDING PARTY #1
 1107         ______________________________
 1108         TELEPHONE CONTACT INFORMATION
 1109  
 1110         ______________________________
 1111         SIGNATURE AND TELEPHONE CONTACT INFORMATION OF RESPONDING
 1112  PARTY #2, IF APPLICABLE. IF THE PROPERTY IS OWNED BY MORE THAN
 1113  ONE PERSON, ALL OWNERS MUST SIGN, OR A PERSON MAY SIGN WHO IS
 1114  ACTING UNDER AUTHORITY OF A VALID POWER OF ATTORNEY GRANTED BY
 1115  AN OWNER.
 1116  
 1117         (2)(a)Service of the notice of presuit mediation shall be
 1118  effected either by personal service, as provided in chapter 48,
 1119  or by certified mail, return receipt requested, in a letter in
 1120  substantial conformity with the form provided in subsection (1),
 1121  with an additional copy being sent by regular first-class mail
 1122  to the address of the responding party as it last appears on the
 1123  books and records of the association or, if not available, then
 1124  as it last appears in the official records of the county
 1125  property appraiser where the parcel in dispute is located. The
 1126  responding party has either 20 days after the postmarked date of
 1127  the mailing of the statutory notice or 20 days after the date
 1128  the responding party is served with a copy of the notice to
 1129  serve a written response to the aggrieved party. The response
 1130  shall be served by certified mail, return receipt requested,
 1131  with an additional copy being sent by regular first-class mail
 1132  to the address shown on the statutory notice. The date of the
 1133  postmark on the envelope for the response constitutes the date
 1134  that the response is served. Once the parties have agreed on a
 1135  mediator, the mediator may schedule or reschedule the mediation
 1136  for a date and time mutually convenient to the parties within 90
 1137  days after the date of service of the statutory notice. After
 1138  the 90-day period, the mediator may reschedule the mediation
 1139  only upon the mutual written agreement of all the parties.
 1140         (b)The parties shall share the costs of presuit mediation
 1141  equally, including the fee charged by the mediator, if any,
 1142  unless the parties agree otherwise, and the mediator may require
 1143  advance payment of his or her reasonable fees and costs. Each
 1144  party is responsible for that party’s own attorney’s fees if a
 1145  party chooses to be represented by an attorney at the mediation.
 1146         (c)The party responding to the aggrieved party may provide
 1147  a notice of opting out under s. 720.506 and demand arbitration
 1148  or may sign the agreement to mediate included in the notice of
 1149  presuit mediation. A responding party signing the agreement to
 1150  mediate must clearly indicate the name of the mediator who is
 1151  acceptable from the five names provided by the aggrieved party
 1152  and must provide a list of dates and times in which the
 1153  responding party is available to participate in the mediation
 1154  within 90 days after the date the responding party was served,
 1155  either by a process server or by certified mail, with the
 1156  statutory notice of presuit mediation.
 1157         (d)The mediator who has been selected and agreed to
 1158  mediate must schedule the mediation conference at a mutually
 1159  convenient time and place within that 90-day period; however, if
 1160  the responding party does not provide a list of available dates
 1161  and times, the mediator is authorized to schedule a mediation
 1162  conference without taking the responding party’s schedule and
 1163  convenience into consideration. Within 10 days after the
 1164  designation of the mediator, the mediator shall coordinate with
 1165  the parties and notify the parties in writing of the date, time,
 1166  and place of the mediation conference.
 1167         (e)The mediation conference must be held on the scheduled
 1168  date and may be rescheduled if a rescheduled date is approved by
 1169  the mediator. However, in no event shall the mediation be held
 1170  later than 90 days after the notice of presuit mediation was
 1171  first served, unless all parties mutually agree in writing
 1172  otherwise. If the presuit mediation is not completed within the
 1173  required time limits, the mediator shall declare an impasse,
 1174  unless the mediation date is extended by mutual written
 1175  agreement by all parties and approved by the mediator.
 1176         (f)If the responding party fails to respond within 30 days
 1177  after the date of service of the statutory notice of presuit
 1178  mediation, fails to agree to at least one of the mediators
 1179  listed by the aggrieved party in the notice, fails to pay or
 1180  prepay to the mediator one-half of the costs of the mediator, or
 1181  fails to appear and participate at the scheduled mediation, the
 1182  aggrieved party is authorized to proceed with the filing of a
 1183  lawsuit without further notice.
 1184         (g)1.The failure of any party to respond to the statutory
 1185  notice of presuit mediation within 20 days, the failure to agree
 1186  upon a mediator, the failure to provide a listing of dates and
 1187  times in which the responding party is available to participate
 1188  in the mediation within 90 days after the date the responding
 1189  party was served with the statutory notice of presuit mediation,
 1190  the failure to make payment of fees and costs within the time
 1191  established by the mediator, or the failure to appear for a
 1192  scheduled mediation session without the approval of the
 1193  mediator, constitutes in each instance a failure or refusal to
 1194  participate in the mediation process and operates as an impasse
 1195  in the presuit mediation by such party, entitling the other
 1196  party to file a lawsuit in court and to seek an award of the
 1197  costs and attorney’s fees associated with the mediation.
 1198         2.Persons who fail or refuse to participate in the entire
 1199  mediation process may not recover attorney’s fees and costs in
 1200  subsequent litigation relating to the same dispute between the
 1201  same parties. If any presuit mediation session cannot be
 1202  scheduled and conducted within 90 days after the offer to
 1203  participate in mediation was filed, through no fault of either
 1204  party, then an impasse shall be deemed to have occurred unless
 1205  the parties mutually agree in writing to extend this deadline.
 1206  In the event of such impasse, each party is responsible for its
 1207  own costs and attorney’s fees and one-half of any mediator fees
 1208  and filing fees, and either party may file a lawsuit in court
 1209  regarding the dispute.
 1210         720.506Opt out of presuit mediation.—A party served with a
 1211  notice of presuit mediation under s. 720.505 may opt out of
 1212  presuit mediation and demand that the dispute proceed under
 1213  nonbinding arbitration as follows:
 1214         (1)In lieu of a response to the notice of presuit
 1215  mediation as required under s. 720.505, the responding party may
 1216  serve upon the aggrieved party, in the same manner as the
 1217  response to a notice for presuit mediation under s. 720.505, a
 1218  notice of opting out of mediation and demand that the dispute
 1219  instead proceed to presuit arbitration under s. 720.507.
 1220         (2)The aggrieved party shall be relieved from having to
 1221  satisfy the requirements of s. 720.504 as a condition precedent
 1222  to filing the demand for presuit arbitration.
 1223         (3)Except as otherwise provided in this part, the choice
 1224  of which presuit alternative dispute resolution procedure is
 1225  used is at the election of the aggrieved party who first
 1226  initiated such proceeding after complying with the provisions of
 1227  s. 720.504.
 1228         720.507Presuit arbitration.—
 1229         (1)Disputes between an association and a parcel owner or
 1230  owners and disputes between parcel owners are subject to a
 1231  demand for presuit arbitration pursuant to this section before
 1232  the dispute may be filed in court. A party who elects to use the
 1233  presuit arbitration procedure under this part shall serve on the
 1234  responding party a written notice of presuit arbitration in
 1235  substantially the following form:
 1236  
 1237               STATUTORY NOTICE OF PRESUIT ARBITRATION             
 1238  
 1239         THE ALLEGED AGGRIEVED PARTY, ____________________, HEREBY
 1240  DEMANDS THAT ____________________, AS THE RESPONDING PARTY,
 1241  ENGAGE IN MANDATORY PRESUIT ARBITRATION IN CONNECTION WITH THE
 1242  FOLLOWING DISPUTES WITH YOU, WHICH BY STATUTE ARE OF A TYPE THAT
 1243  ARE SUBJECT TO PRESUIT ARBITRATION:
 1244  
 1245         (LIST SPECIFIC NATURE OF THE DISPUTE OR DISPUTES TO BE
 1246  ARBITRATED AND THE AUTHORITY SUPPORTING A FINDING OF A VIOLATION
 1247  AS TO EACH DISPUTE, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, ALL
 1248  APPLICABLE PROVISIONS OF THE GOVERNING DOCUMENTS BELIEVED TO
 1249  APPLY TO THE DISPUTE BETWEEN THE PARTIES.)
 1250  
 1251         PURSUANT TO PART IV OF CHAPTER 720, FLORIDA STATUTES, THIS
 1252  DEMAND TO RESOLVE THE DISPUTE THROUGH PRESUIT ARBITRATION IS
 1253  REQUIRED BEFORE A LAWSUIT CAN BE FILED CONCERNING THE DISPUTE.
 1254  PURSUANT TO FLORIDA STATUTES, THE PARTIES ARE REQUIRED TO ENGAGE
 1255  IN PRESUIT ARBITRATION WITH A NEUTRAL THIRD-PARTY ARBITRATOR IN
 1256  ORDER TO ATTEMPT TO RESOLVE THIS DISPUTE WITHOUT COURT ACTION,
 1257  AND THE AGGRIEVED PARTY DEMANDS THAT YOU PARTICIPATE IN THIS
 1258  PROCESS. IF YOU FAIL TO PARTICIPATE IN THE ARBITRATION PROCESS,
 1259  A LAWSUIT MAY BE BROUGHT AGAINST YOU IN COURT WITHOUT FURTHER
 1260  WARNING.
 1261  
 1262         THE PROCESS OF ARBITRATION INVOLVES A NEUTRAL THIRD PERSON
 1263  WHO CONSIDERS THE LAW AND FACTS PRESENTED BY THE PARTIES AND
 1264  RENDERS A WRITTEN DECISION CALLED AN “ARBITRATION AWARD.”
 1265  PURSUANT TO SECTION 720.507, FLORIDA STATUTES, THE ARBITRATION
 1266  AWARD SHALL BE FINAL UNLESS A LAWSUIT IS FILED IN A COURT OF
 1267  COMPETENT JURISDICTION FOR THE JUDICIAL CIRCUIT IN WHICH THE
 1268  PARCEL(S) GOVERNED BY THE HOMEOWNERS’ ASSOCIATION IS/ARE LOCATED
 1269  WITHIN 30 DAYS AFTER THE DATE OF THE ARBITRATION AWARD.
 1270  
 1271         IF A SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT IS REACHED BEFORE THE ARBITRATION
 1272  AWARD, IT SHALL BE REDUCED TO WRITING AND BECOME A BINDING AND
 1273  ENFORCEABLE CONTRACT OF THE PARTIES. A RESOLUTION OF ONE OR MORE
 1274  DISPUTES IN THIS FASHION AVOIDS THE NEED TO ARBITRATE THESE
 1275  ISSUES OR TO LITIGATE THESE ISSUES IN COURT AND SHALL BE THE
 1276  SAME AS A SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT REACHED BETWEEN THE PARTIES UNDER
 1277  SECTION 720.505, FLORIDA STATUTES. THE FAILURE OF A PARTY TO
 1278  PARTICIPATE IN THE ARBITRATION PROCESS MAY RESULT IN THE
 1279  ARBITRATOR ISSUING AN ARBITRATION AWARD BY DEFAULT IN THE
 1280  ARBITRATION. IF YOU HAVE FAILED OR REFUSED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE
 1281  ENTIRE ARBITRATION PROCESS, YOU WILL NOT BE ENTITLED TO RECOVER
 1282  ATTORNEY’S FEES, EVEN IF YOU PREVAIL IN A SUBSEQUENT COURT
 1283  PROCEEDING INVOLVING THE SAME DISPUTE BETWEEN THE SAME PARTIES.
 1284  
 1285         THE AGGRIEVED PARTY HAS SELECTED AT LEAST FIVE ARBITRATORS
 1286  WHO THE AGGRIEVED PARTY BELIEVES TO BE NEUTRAL AND QUALIFIED TO
 1287  ARBITRATE THE DISPUTE. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO SELECT ANY ONE OF
 1288  THE ARBITRATORS. THE FACT THAT ONE PARTY MAY BE FAMILIAR WITH
 1289  ONE OR MORE OF THE LISTED ARBITRATORS DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE
 1290  ARBITRATOR CANNOT ACT AS A NEUTRAL AND IMPARTIAL ARBITRATOR. ANY
 1291  ARBITRATOR WHO CANNOT ACT IN THIS CAPACITY IS REQUIRED ETHICALLY
 1292  TO DECLINE TO ACCEPT ENGAGEMENT. THE NAMES OF THE FIVE
 1293  ARBITRATORS THAT THE AGGRIEVED PARTY HAS CHOSEN, AND FROM WHICH
 1294  YOU MAY SELECT ONE; THEIR CURRENT ADDRESSES; THEIR TELEPHONE
 1295  NUMBERS; AND THEIR HOURLY RATES, ARE AS FOLLOWS:
 1296  
 1297         (LIST THE NAMES, ADDRESSES, TELEPHONE NUMBERS, AND HOURLY
 1298  RATES OF AT LEAST FIVE ARBITRATORS.
 1299  
 1300         YOU MAY CONTACT THE OFFICES OF THESE ARBITRATORS TO CONFIRM
 1301  THAT THE LISTED ARBITRATORS WILL BE NEUTRAL AND WILL NOT SHOW
 1302  ANY FAVORITISM TOWARD EITHER PARTY.
 1303  
 1304         UNLESS OTHERWISE AGREED TO BY THE PARTIES, PART IV OF
 1305  CHAPTER 720, FLORIDA STATUTES, REQUIRES THAT THE PARTIES SHARE
 1306  THE COSTS OF PRESUIT ARBITRATION EQUALLY, INCLUDING THE FEE
 1307  CHARGED BY THE ARBITRATOR. THE PARTIES ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR
 1308  OWN ATTORNEY’S FEES IF THEY CHOOSE TO EMPLOY AN ATTORNEY IN
 1309  CONNECTION WITH THE ARBITRATION. HOWEVER, USE OF AN ATTORNEY TO
 1310  REPRESENT YOU FOR THE ARBITRATION IS NOT REQUIRED. THE
 1311  ARBITRATOR SELECTED MAY REQUIRE THE ADVANCE PAYMENT OF SOME OR
 1312  ALL OF THE ANTICIPATED FEES. THE AGGRIEVED PARTY HEREBY AGREES
 1313  TO PAY OR PREPAY ONE-HALF OF THE SELECTED ARBITRATOR’S ESTIMATED
 1314  FEES AND TO FORWARD THIS AMOUNT OR SUCH OTHER REASONABLE ADVANCE
 1315  DEPOSITS AS THE ARBITRATOR WHO IS SELECTED REQUIRES FOR THIS
 1316  PURPOSE. ANY FUNDS DEPOSITED WILL BE RETURNED TO YOU IF THESE
 1317  FUNDS ARE IN EXCESS OF YOUR SHARE OF THE FEES INCURRED.
 1318  
 1319         PLEASE SIGN THE AGREEMENT TO ARBITRATE BELOW AND CLEARLY
 1320  INDICATE THE NAME OF THE ARBITRATOR WHO IS ACCEPTABLE TO YOU
 1321  FROM THE NAMES LISTED BY THE AGGRIEVED PARTY.
 1322  
 1323         YOU MUST RESPOND IN WRITING TO THIS STATUTORY NOTICE WITHIN
 1324  20 DAYS AFTER THE DATE THAT THE NOTICE OF PRESUIT ARBITRATION
 1325  WAS EITHER PERSONALLY SERVED ON YOU OR 20 DAYS AFTER THE
 1326  POSTMARKED DATE THAT THIS NOTICE OF PRESUIT ARBITRATION WAS SENT
 1327  TO YOU BY CERTIFIED MAIL. YOU MUST ALSO PROVIDE A LIST OF AT
 1328  LEAST THREE DATES AND TIMES IN WHICH YOU ARE AVAILABLE TO
 1329  PARTICIPATE IN THE ARBITRATION WHICH ARE WITHIN 90 DAYS AFTER
 1330  THE DATE YOU WERE PERSONALLY SERVED OR WITHIN 90 DAYS AFTER THE
 1331  POSTMARKED DATE OF THE CERTIFIED MAILING OF THIS STATUTORY
 1332  NOTICE OF PRESUIT ARBITRATION. A COPY OF THIS NOTICE AND YOUR
 1333  RESPONSE WILL BE PROVIDED BY THE AGGRIEVED PARTY TO THE
 1334  ARBITRATOR SELECTED, AND THE ARBITRATOR WILL SCHEDULE A MUTUALLY
 1335  CONVENIENT TIME AND PLACE FOR THE ARBITRATION CONFERENCE TO BE
 1336  HELD. IF YOU DO NOT PROVIDE A LIST OF AVAILABLE DATES AND TIMES,
 1337  THE ARBITRATOR IS AUTHORIZED TO SCHEDULE AN ARBITRATION
 1338  CONFERENCE WITHOUT TAKING YOUR SCHEDULE AND CONVENIENCE INTO
 1339  CONSIDERATION. THE ARBITRATION CONFERENCE MUST BE HELD ON THE
 1340  SCHEDULED DATE, OR ANY RESCHEDULED DATE APPROVED BY THE
 1341  ARBITRATOR. IN NO EVENT WILL THE ARBITRATION CONFERENCE BE LATER
 1342  THAN 90 DAYS AFTER NOTICE OF THE PRESUIT ARBITRATION WAS FIRST
 1343  SERVED, UNLESS ALL PARTIES MUTUALLY AGREE IN WRITING OTHERWISE.
 1344  IF THE ARBITRATION IS NOT COMPLETED WITHIN THE REQUIRED TIME
 1345  LIMITS, THE ARBITRATOR SHALL ISSUE AN ARBITRATION AWARD, UNLESS
 1346  THE HEARING IS EXTENDED BY MUTUAL WRITTEN AGREEMENT OF THE
 1347  PARTIES AND APPROVED BY THE ARBITRATOR. IN THE EVENT THAT YOU
 1348  FAIL TO RESPOND WITHIN 20 DAYS AFTER THE DATE YOU WERE SERVED
 1349  WITH A COPY OF THIS NOTICE, FAIL TO PROVIDE THE ARBITRATOR WITH
 1350  DATES AND TIMES IN WHICH YOU ARE AVAILABLE FOR THE ARBITRATION
 1351  CONFERENCE, FAIL TO AGREE TO ONE OF THE ARBITRATORS THAT THE
 1352  AGGRIEVED PARTY HAS NAMED, FAIL TO PAY OR PREPAY TO THE
 1353  ARBITRATOR ONE-HALF OF THE COSTS INVOLVED AS REQUIRED, OR FAIL
 1354  TO APPEAR AND PARTICIPATE AT THE SCHEDULED ARBITRATION
 1355  CONFERENCE, THE AGGRIEVED PARTY MAY REQUEST THE ARBITRATOR TO
 1356  ISSUE AN ARBITRATION AWARD. IN THE SUBSEQUENT COURT ACTION, THE
 1357  AGGRIEVED PARTY IS ENTITLED TO RECOVER AN AWARD OF REASONABLE
 1358  ATTORNEY’S FEES AND COSTS, INCLUDING ANY FEES PAID TO THE
 1359  ARBITRATOR, INCURRED IN OBTAINING AN ARBITRATION AWARD PURSUANT
 1360  TO SECTION 720.507, FLORIDA STATUTES.
 1361  
 1362         PLEASE GIVE THIS MATTER YOUR IMMEDIATE ATTENTION. BY LAW,
 1363  YOUR RESPONSE MUST BE POSTMARKED AND MAILED BY CERTIFIED, FIRST
 1364  CLASS MAIL, RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED, TO THE ADDRESS SHOWN ON
 1365  THIS NOTICE OF PRESUIT ARBITRATION.
 1366  
 1367         _________________________
 1368         SIGNATURE OF AGGRIEVED PARTY
 1369  
 1370         ______________________
 1371         PRINTED NAME OF AGGRIEVED PARTY
 1372  
 1373         RESPONDING PARTY: YOUR SIGNATURE BELOW INDICATES YOUR
 1374         ACCEPTANCE OF THE AGREEMENT TO ARBITRATE.
 1375  
 1376                       AGREEMENT TO ARBITRATE                      
 1377  
 1378         THE UNDERSIGNED HEREBY AGREES TO PARTICIPATE IN PRESUIT
 1379  ARBITRATION AND AGREES TO ATTEND AN ARBITRATION CONDUCTED BY THE
 1380  FOLLOWING ARBITRATOR LISTED BELOW AS SOMEONE WHO WOULD BE
 1381  ACCEPTABLE TO ARBITRATE THIS DISPUTE:
 1382  
 1383         (IN YOUR RESPONSE, SELECT THE NAME OF ONE ARBITRATOR THAT
 1384  IS ACCEPTABLE TO YOU FROM THOSE ARBITRATORS LISTED BY THE
 1385  AGGRIEVED PARTY.)
 1386  
 1387         THE UNDERSIGNED HEREBY REPRESENTS THAT HE OR SHE IS
 1388  AVAILABLE AND ABLE TO ATTEND AND PARTICIPATE IN THE PRESUIT
 1389  ARBITRATION CONFERENCE AT THE FOLLOWING DATES AND TIMES:
 1390  
 1391         (LIST ALL AVAILABLE DATES AND TIMES, OF WHICH THERE MUST BE
 1392  AT LEAST THREE, WITHIN 90 DAYS AFTER THE DATE ON WHICH YOU WERE
 1393  SERVED, EITHER BY A PROCESS SERVER OR BY CERTIFIED MAIL, WITH
 1394  THE NOTICE OF PRESUIT ARBITRATION.)
 1395  
 1396         I/WE FURTHER AGREE TO PAY OR PREPAY ONE-HALF OF THE
 1397  ARBITRATOR’S FEES AND TO FORWARD SUCH ADVANCE DEPOSITS AS THE
 1398  ARBITRATOR MAY REQUIRE FOR THIS PURPOSE.
 1399  
 1400         ______________________________
 1401         SIGNATURE OF RESPONDING PARTY #1
 1402         ______________________________
 1403         TELEPHONE CONTACT INFORMATION
 1404  
 1405         ______________________________
 1406         SIGNATURE AND TELEPHONE CONTACT INFORMATION OF RESPONDING
 1407  PARTY #2, IF APPLICABLE. IF THE PROPERTY IS OWNED BY MORE THAN
 1408  ONE PERSON, ALL OWNERS MUST SIGN, OR A PERSON MAY SIGN WHO IS
 1409  ACTING UNDER AUTHORITY OF A VALID POWER OF ATTORNEY GRANTED BY
 1410  AN OWNER.
 1411  
 1412         (2)(a)Service of the statutory notice of presuit
 1413  arbitration shall be effected either by personal service, as
 1414  provided in chapter 48, or by certified mail, return receipt
 1415  requested, in a letter in substantial conformity with the form
 1416  provided in subsection (1), with an additional copy being sent
 1417  by regular first-class mail to the address of the responding
 1418  party as it last appears on the books and records of the
 1419  association, or if not available, the last address as it appears
 1420  on the official records of the county property appraiser for the
 1421  county in which the property is situated that is subject to the
 1422  association documents. The responding party has 20 days after
 1423  the postmarked date of the certified mailing of the statutory
 1424  notice of presuit arbitration or 20 days after the date the
 1425  responding party is personally served with the statutory notice
 1426  of presuit arbitration to serve a written response to the
 1427  aggrieved party. The response shall be served by certified mail,
 1428  return receipt requested, with an additional copy being sent by
 1429  regular first-class mail to the address shown on the statutory
 1430  notice of presuit arbitration. The postmarked date on the
 1431  envelope of the response constitutes the date the response was
 1432  served.
 1433         (b)The parties shall share the costs of presuit
 1434  arbitration equally, including the fee charged by the
 1435  arbitrator, if any, unless the parties agree otherwise, and the
 1436  arbitrator may require advance payment of his or her reasonable
 1437  fees and costs. Each party is responsible for all of their own
 1438  attorney’s fees if a party chooses to be represented by an
 1439  attorney for the arbitration proceedings.
 1440         (c)1.The party responding to the aggrieved party must sign
 1441  the agreement to arbitrate included in the notice of presuit
 1442  arbitration and clearly indicate the name of the arbitrator who
 1443  is acceptable of those arbitrators listed by the aggrieved
 1444  party. The responding party must provide a list of at least
 1445  three dates and times in which the responding party is available
 1446  to participate in the arbitration conference within 90 days
 1447  after the date the responding party was served with the
 1448  statutory notice of presuit arbitration.
 1449         2.The arbitrator must schedule the arbitration conference
 1450  at a mutually convenient time and place, but if the responding
 1451  party does not provide a list of available dates and times, the
 1452  arbitrator is authorized to schedule an arbitration conference
 1453  without taking the responding party’s schedule and convenience
 1454  into consideration. Within 10 days after the designation of the
 1455  arbitrator, the arbitrator shall notify the parties in writing
 1456  of the date, time, and place of the arbitration conference.
 1457         3.The arbitration conference must be held on the scheduled
 1458  date and may be rescheduled if a rescheduled date is approved by
 1459  the arbitrator. However, the arbitration hearing may not be held
 1460  later than 90 days after the notice of presuit arbitration was
 1461  first served, unless all parties mutually agree in writing
 1462  otherwise. If the arbitration hearing is not completed within
 1463  the required time limits, the arbitrator may issue an
 1464  arbitration award, unless the time for the hearing is extended
 1465  as provided herein. If the responding party fails to respond
 1466  within 20 days after the date of statutory notice of presuit
 1467  arbitration, fails to agree to at least one of the arbitrators
 1468  that have been listed by the aggrieved party in the presuit
 1469  notice of arbitration, fails to pay or prepay to the arbitrator
 1470  one-half of the costs involved, or fails to appear and
 1471  participate at the scheduled arbitration, the aggrieved party is
 1472  authorized to proceed with a request that the arbitrator issue
 1473  an arbitration award.
 1474         (d)1.The failure of any party to respond to the statutory
 1475  notice of presuit arbitration within 20 days, the failure to
 1476  select one of the five arbitrators listed by the aggrieved
 1477  party, the failure to provide a listing of dates and times in
 1478  which the responding party is available to participate in the
 1479  arbitration conference within 90 days after the date of the
 1480  responding party being served with the statutory notice of
 1481  presuit arbitration, the failure to make payment of fees and
 1482  costs as required within the time established by the arbitrator,
 1483  or the failure to appear for an arbitration conference without
 1484  the approval of the arbitrator, entitles the other party to
 1485  request the arbitrator to enter an arbitration award, including
 1486  an award of the reasonable costs and attorney’s fees associated
 1487  with the arbitration.
 1488         2.Persons who fail or refuse to participate in the entire
 1489  arbitration process may not recover attorney’s fees and costs in
 1490  any subsequent litigation proceeding relating to the same
 1491  dispute involving the same parties.
 1492         (3)(a)In an arbitration proceeding, the arbitrator may not
 1493  consider any unsuccessful mediation of the dispute.
 1494         (b)An arbitrator in a proceeding initiated pursuant to the
 1495  provisions of this part may shorten the time for discovery or
 1496  otherwise limit discovery in a manner consistent with the policy
 1497  goals of this part to reduce the time and expense of litigating
 1498  homeowners’ association disputes initiated pursuant to this
 1499  chapter and to promote an expeditious alternative dispute
 1500  resolution procedure for parties to such actions.
 1501         (4)At the request of any party to the arbitration, the
 1502  arbitrator may issue subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses
 1503  and the production of books, records, documents, and other
 1504  evidence, and any party on whose behalf a subpoena is issued may
 1505  apply to the court for orders compelling such attendance and
 1506  production. Subpoenas shall be served and are enforceable in the
 1507  manner provided by the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure.
 1508  Discovery may, at the discretion of the arbitrator, be permitted
 1509  in the manner provided by the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure.
 1510         (5)The final arbitration award shall be sent to the
 1511  parties in writing no later than 30 days after the date of the
 1512  arbitration hearing, absent extraordinary circumstances
 1513  necessitating a later filing the reasons for which shall be
 1514  stated in the final award if filed more than 30 days after the
 1515  date of the final session of the arbitration conference. An
 1516  agreed arbitration award is final in those disputes in which the
 1517  parties have mutually agreed to be bound. An arbitration award
 1518  decided by the arbitrator is final unless a lawsuit seeking a
 1519  trial de novo is filed in a court of competent jurisdiction
 1520  within 30 days after the date of the arbitration award. The
 1521  right to file for a trial de novo entitles the parties to file a
 1522  complaint in the appropriate trial court for a judicial
 1523  resolution of the dispute. The prevailing party in an
 1524  arbitration proceeding shall be awarded the costs of the
 1525  arbitration and reasonable attorney’s fees in an amount
 1526  determined by the arbitrator.
 1527         (6)The party filing a motion for a trial de novo shall be
 1528  assessed the other party’s arbitration costs, court costs, and
 1529  other reasonable costs, including attorney’s fees, investigation
 1530  expenses, and expenses for expert or other testimony or evidence
 1531  incurred after the arbitration hearing, if the judgment upon the
 1532  trial de novo is not more favorable than the final arbitration
 1533  award.
 1534         720.508Rules of procedure.—
 1535         (1)Presuit mediation and presuit arbitration proceedings
 1536  under this part must be conducted in accordance with the
 1537  applicable Florida Rules of Civil Procedure and rules governing
 1538  mediations and arbitrations under chapter 44, except that this
 1539  part shall be controlling to the extent of any conflict with
 1540  other applicable rules or statutes. The arbitrator may shorten
 1541  any applicable time period and otherwise limit the scope of
 1542  discovery on request of the parties or within the discretion of
 1543  the arbitrator exercised consistent with the purpose and
 1544  objective of reducing the expense and expeditiously concluding
 1545  proceedings under this part.
 1546         (2)Presuit mediation proceedings under s. 720.505 are
 1547  privileged and confidential to the same extent as court-ordered
 1548  mediation under chapter 44. An arbitrator or judge may not
 1549  consider any information or evidence arising from the presuit
 1550  mediation proceeding except in a proceeding to impose sanctions
 1551  for failure to attend a presuit mediation session or to enforce
 1552  a mediated settlement agreement.
 1553         (3)Persons who are not parties to the dispute may not
 1554  attend the presuit mediation conference without consent of all
 1555  parties, with the exception of counsel for the parties and a
 1556  corporate representative designated by the association. Presuit
 1557  mediations under this part are not a board meeting for purposes
 1558  of notice and participation set forth in this chapter.
 1559         (4)Attendance at a mediation conference by the board of
 1560  directors does not require notice or participation by nonboard
 1561  members as otherwise required by this chapter for meetings of
 1562  the board.
 1563         (5)Settlement agreements resulting from a mediation or
 1564  arbitration proceeding do not have precedential value in
 1565  proceedings involving parties other than those participating in
 1566  the mediation or arbitration.
 1567         (6)Arbitration awards by an arbitrator have precedential
 1568  value in other proceedings involving the same association or
 1569  with respect to the same parcel owner.
 1570         720.509Mediators and arbitrators; qualifications and
 1571  registration.—A person is authorized to conduct mediation or
 1572  arbitration under this part if he or she has been certified as a
 1573  circuit court civil mediator under the requirements adopted
 1574  pursuant to s. 44.106, is a member in good standing with The
 1575  Florida Bar, and otherwise meets all other requirements imposed
 1576  by chapter 44.
 1577         720.510Enforcement of mediation agreement or arbitration
 1578  award.—
 1579         (1)A mediation settlement may be enforced through the
 1580  county or circuit court, as applicable, and any costs and
 1581  attorney’s fees incurred in the enforcement of a settlement
 1582  agreement reached at mediation shall be awarded to the
 1583  prevailing party in any enforcement action.
 1584         (2)Any party to an arbitration proceeding may enforce an
 1585  arbitration award by filing a petition in a court of competent
 1586  jurisdiction in which the homeowners’ association is located.
 1587  The prevailing party in such proceeding shall be awarded
 1588  reasonable attorney’s fees and costs incurred in such
 1589  proceeding.
 1590         (3)If a complaint is filed seeking a trial de novo, the
 1591  arbitration award shall be stayed and a petition to enforce the
 1592  award may not be granted. Such award, however, is admissible in
 1593  the court proceeding seeking a trial de novo.
 1594         Section 11. This act shall take effect July 1, 2009.

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