Section 718.117, Florida Statutes 2009
718.117 Termination of condominium.--
(1) LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS.--The Legislature finds that condominiums are created as authorized by statute. In circumstances that may create economic waste, areas of disrepair, or obsolescence of a condominium property for its intended use and thereby lower property tax values, the Legislature further finds that it is the public policy of this state to provide by statute a method to preserve the value of the property interests and the rights of alienation thereof that owners have in the condominium property before and after termination. The Legislature further finds that it is contrary to the public policy of this state to require the continued operation of a condominium when to do so constitutes economic waste or when the ability to do so is made impossible by law or regulation. This section applies to all condominiums in this state in existence on or after July 1, 2007.
(2) TERMINATION BECAUSE OF ECONOMIC WASTE OR IMPOSSIBILITY.--
(a) Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary in the declaration, the condominium form of ownership of a property may be terminated by a plan of termination approved by the lesser of the lowest percentage of voting interests necessary to amend the declaration or as otherwise provided in the declaration for approval of termination when:
1. The total estimated cost of repairs necessary to restore the improvements to their former condition or bring them into compliance with applicable laws or regulations exceeds the combined fair market value of all units in the condominium after completion of the repairs; or
2. It becomes impossible to operate or reconstruct a condominium in its prior physical configuration because of land use laws or regulations.
(b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), a condominium in which 75 percent or more of the units are timeshare units may be terminated only pursuant to a plan of termination approved by 80 percent of the total voting interests of the association and the holders of 80 percent of the original principal amount of outstanding recorded mortgage liens of timeshare estates in the condominium, unless the declaration provides for a lower voting percentage.
(3) OPTIONAL TERMINATION.--Except as provided in subsection (2) or unless the declaration provides for a lower percentage, the condominium form of ownership of the property may be terminated pursuant to a plan of termination approved by at least 80 percent of the total voting interests of the condominium if not more than 10 percent of the total voting interests of the condominium have rejected the plan of termination by negative vote or by providing written objections thereto. This subsection does not apply to condominiums in which 75 percent or more of the units are timeshare units.
(4) EXEMPTION.--A plan of termination is not an amendment subject to s. 718.110(4).
(5) MORTGAGE LIENHOLDERS.--Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary in the declaration or this chapter, approval of a plan of termination by the holder of a recorded mortgage lien affecting a condominium parcel in which fewer than 75 percent of the units are timeshare units is not required unless the plan of termination will result in less than the full satisfaction of the mortgage lien affecting the condominium parcel. If such approval is required and not given, a holder of a recorded mortgage lien who objects to the plan of termination may contest the plan as provided in subsection (16). At the time of sale, the lien shall be transferred to the proportionate share of the proceeds assigned to the condominium parcel in the plan of termination or as subsequently modified by the court.
(6) POWERS IN CONNECTION WITH TERMINATION.--The approval of the plan of termination does not terminate the association. It shall continue in existence following approval of the plan of termination with all powers and duties it had before approval of the plan. Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary in the declaration or bylaws, after approval of the plan the board shall:
(a) Employ directors, agents, attorneys, and other professionals to liquidate or conclude its affairs.
(b) Conduct the affairs of the association as necessary for the liquidation or termination.
(c) Carry out contracts and collect, pay, and settle debts and claims for and against the association.
(d) Defend suits brought against the association.
(e) Sue in the name of the association for all sums due or owed to the association or to recover any of its property.
(f) Perform any act necessary to maintain, repair, or demolish unsafe or uninhabitable improvements or other condominium property in compliance with applicable codes.
(g) Sell at public or private sale or exchange, convey, or otherwise dispose of assets of the association for an amount deemed to be in the best interests of the association, and execute bills of sale and deeds of conveyance in the name of the association.
(h) Collect and receive rents, profits, accounts receivable, income, maintenance fees, special assessments, or insurance proceeds for the association.
(i) Contract and do anything in the name of the association which is proper or convenient to terminate the affairs of the association.
(7) NATURAL DISASTERS.--
(a) If, after a natural disaster, the identity of the directors or their right to hold office is in doubt, if they are deceased or unable to act, if they fail or refuse to act, or if they cannot be located, any interested person may petition the circuit court to determine the identity of the directors or, if found to be in the best interests of the unit owners, to appoint a receiver to conclude the affairs of the association after a hearing following notice to such persons as the court directs. Lienholders shall be given notice of the petition and have the right to propose persons for the consideration by the court as receiver. If a receiver is appointed, the court shall direct the receiver to provide to all unit owners written notice of his or her appointment as receiver. Such notice shall be mailed or delivered within 10 days after the appointment. Notice by mail to a unit owner shall be sent to the address used by the county property appraiser for notice to the unit owner.
(b) The receiver shall have all powers given to the board pursuant to the declaration, bylaws, and subsection (6), and any other powers that are necessary to conclude the affairs of the association and are set forth in the order of appointment. The appointment of the receiver is subject to the bonding requirements of such order. The order shall also provide for the payment of a reasonable fee to the receiver from the sources identified in the order, which may include rents, profits, incomes, maintenance fees, or special assessments collected from the condominium property.
(8) REPORTS AND REPLACEMENT OF RECEIVER.--
(a) The association, receiver, or termination trustee shall prepare reports each quarter following the approval of the plan of termination setting forth the status and progress of the termination, costs and fees incurred, the date the termination is expected to be completed, and the current financial condition of the association, receivership, or trusteeship and provide copies of the report by regular mail to the unit owners and lienors at the mailing address provided to the association by the unit owners and the lienors.
(b) The unit owners of an association in termination may recall or remove members of the board of administration with or without cause at any time as provided in s. 718.112(2)(j).
(c) The lienors of an association in termination representing at least 50 percent of the outstanding amount of liens may petition the court for the appointment of a termination trustee, which shall be granted upon good cause shown.
(9) PLAN OF TERMINATION.--The plan of termination must be a written document executed in the same manner as a deed by unit owners having the requisite percentage of voting interests to approve the plan and by the termination trustee. A copy of the proposed plan of termination shall be given to all unit owners, in the same manner as for notice of an annual meeting, at least 14 days prior to the meeting at which the plan of termination is to be voted upon or prior to or simultaneously with the distribution of the solicitation seeking execution of the plan of termination or written consent to or joinder in the plan. A unit owner may document assent to the plan by executing the plan or by consent to or joinder in the plan in the manner of a deed. A plan of termination and the consents or joinders of unit owners and, if required, consents or joinders of mortgagees must be recorded in the public records of each county in which any portion of the condominium is located. The plan is effective only upon recordation or at a later date specified in the plan.
(10) PLAN OF TERMINATION; REQUIRED PROVISIONS.--The plan of termination must specify:
(a) The name, address, and powers of the termination trustee.
(b) A date after which the plan of termination is void if it has not been recorded.
(c) The interests of the respective unit owners in the association property, common surplus, and other assets of the association, which shall be the same as the respective interests of the unit owners in the common elements immediately before the termination, unless otherwise provided in the declaration.
(d) The interests of the respective unit owners in any proceeds from the sale of the condominium property. The plan of termination may apportion those proceeds pursuant to any method prescribed in subsection (12). If, pursuant to the plan of termination, condominium property or real property owned by the association is to be sold following termination, the plan must provide for the sale and may establish any minimum sale terms.
(e) Any interests of the respective unit owners in insurance proceeds or condemnation proceeds that are not used for repair or reconstruction at the time of termination. Unless the declaration expressly addresses the distribution of insurance proceeds or condemnation proceeds, the plan of termination may apportion those proceeds pursuant to any method prescribed in subsection (12).
(11) PLAN OF TERMINATION; OPTIONAL PROVISIONS; CONDITIONAL TERMINATION.--
(a) The plan of termination may provide that each unit owner retains the exclusive right of possession to the portion of the real estate that formerly constituted the unit, in which case the plan must specify the conditions of possession.
(b) In a conditional termination, the plan must specify the conditions for termination. A conditional plan does not vest title in the termination trustee until the plan and a certificate executed by the association with the formalities of a deed, confirming that the conditions in the conditional plan have been satisfied or waived by the requisite percentage of the voting interests, have been recorded.
(12) ALLOCATION OF PROCEEDS OF SALE OF CONDOMINIUM PROPERTY.--
(a) Unless the declaration expressly provides for the allocation of the proceeds of sale of condominium property, the plan of termination must first apportion the proceeds between the aggregate value of all units and the value of the common elements, based on their respective fair market values immediately before the termination, as determined by one or more independent appraisers selected by the association or termination trustee.
(b) The portion of proceeds allocated to the units shall be further apportioned among the individual units. The apportionment is deemed fair and reasonable if it is so determined by the unit owners, who may approve the plan of termination by any of the following methods:
1. The respective values of the units based on the fair market values of the units immediately before the termination, as determined by one or more independent appraisers selected by the association or termination trustee;
2. The respective values of the units based on the most recent market value of the units before the termination, as provided in the county property appraiser's records; or
3. The respective interests of the units in the common elements specified in the declaration immediately before the termination.
(c) The methods of apportionment in paragraph (b) do not prohibit any other method of apportioning the proceeds of sale allocated to the units agreed upon in the plan of termination. The portion of the proceeds allocated to the common elements shall be apportioned among the units based upon their respective interests in the common elements as provided in the declaration.
(d) Liens that encumber a unit shall be transferred to the proceeds of sale of the condominium property and the proceeds of sale or other distribution of association property, common surplus, or other association assets attributable to such unit in their same priority. The proceeds of any sale of condominium property pursuant to a plan of termination may not be deemed to be common surplus or association property.
(13) TERMINATION TRUSTEE.--The association shall serve as termination trustee unless another person is appointed in the plan of termination. If the association is unable, unwilling, or fails to act as trustee, any unit owner may petition the court to appoint a trustee. Upon the date of the recording or at a later date specified in the plan, title to the condominium property vests in the trustee. Unless prohibited by the plan, the termination trustee shall be vested with the powers given to the board pursuant to the declaration, bylaws, and subsection (6). If the association is not the termination trustee, the trustee's powers shall be coextensive with those of the association to the extent not prohibited in the plan of termination or the order of appointment. If the association is not the termination trustee, the association shall transfer any association property to the trustee. If the association is dissolved, the trustee shall also have such other powers necessary to conclude the affairs of the association.
(14) TITLE VESTED IN TERMINATION TRUSTEE.--If termination is pursuant to a plan of termination under subsection (2) or subsection (3), the unit owners' rights and title as tenants in common in undivided interests in the condominium property vest in the termination trustee when the plan is recorded or at a later date specified in the plan. The unit owners thereafter become the beneficiaries of the proceeds realized from the plan of termination. The termination trustee may deal with the condominium property or any interest therein if the plan confers on the trustee the authority to protect, conserve, manage, sell, or dispose of the condominium property. The trustee, on behalf of the unit owners, may contract for the sale of real property, but the contract is not binding on the unit owners until the plan is approved pursuant to subsection (2) or subsection (3).
(a) Within 30 days after a plan of termination has been recorded, the termination trustee shall deliver by certified mail, return receipt requested, notice to all unit owners, lienors of the condominium property, and lienors of all units at their last known addresses that a plan of termination has been recorded. The notice must include the book and page number of the public records in which the plan was recorded, notice that a copy of the plan shall be furnished upon written request, and notice that the unit owner or lienor has the right to contest the fairness of the plan.
(b) The trustee, within 90 days after the effective date of the plan, shall provide to the division a certified copy of the recorded plan, the date the plan was recorded, and the county, book, and page number of the public records in which the plan is recorded.
(16) RIGHT TO CONTEST.--A unit owner or lienor may contest a plan of termination by initiating a summary procedure pursuant to s. 51.011 within 90 days after the date the plan is recorded. A unit owner or lienor who does not contest the plan within the 90-day period is barred from asserting or prosecuting a claim against the association, the termination trustee, any unit owner, or any successor in interest to the condominium property. In an action contesting a plan of termination, the person contesting the plan has the burden of pleading and proving that the apportionment of the proceeds from the sale among the unit owners was not fair and reasonable. The apportionment of sale proceeds is presumed fair and reasonable if it was determined pursuant to the methods prescribed in subsection (12). The court shall determine the rights and interests of the parties and order the plan of termination to be implemented if it is fair and reasonable. If the court determines that the plan of termination is not fair and reasonable, the court may void the plan or may modify the plan to apportion the proceeds in a fair and reasonable manner pursuant to this section based upon the proceedings and order the modified plan of termination to be implemented. In such action, the prevailing party shall recover reasonable attorney's fees and costs.
(a) Following termination of the condominium, the condominium property, association property, common surplus, and other assets of the association shall be held by the termination trustee, as trustee for unit owners and holders of liens on the units, in their order of priority.
(b) Not less than 30 days before the first distribution, the termination trustee shall deliver by certified mail, return receipt requested, a notice of the estimated distribution to all unit owners, lienors of the condominium property, and lienors of each unit at their last known addresses stating a good faith estimate of the amount of the distributions to each class and the procedures and deadline for notifying the termination trustee of any objections to the amount. The deadline must be at least 15 days after the date the notice was mailed. The notice may be sent with or after the notice required by subsection (15). If a unit owner or lienor files a timely objection with the termination trustee, the trustee need not distribute the funds and property allocated to the respective unit owner or lienor until the trustee has had a reasonable time to determine the validity of the adverse claim. In the alternative, the trustee may interplead the unit owner, lienor, and any other person claiming an interest in the unit and deposit the funds allocated to the unit in the court registry, at which time the condominium property, association property, common surplus, and other assets of the association are free of all claims and liens of the parties to the suit. In an interpleader action, the trustee and prevailing party may recover reasonable attorney's fees and costs.
(c) The proceeds from any sale of condominium property or association property and any remaining condominium property or association property, common surplus, and other assets shall be distributed in the following priority:
1. To pay the reasonable termination trustee's fees and costs and accounting fees and costs.
2. To lienholders of liens recorded prior to the recording of the declaration.
3. To purchase-money lienholders on units to the extent necessary to satisfy their liens; however, the distribution may not exceed a unit owner's share of the proceeds.
4. To lienholders of liens of the association which have been consented to under s. 718.121(1).
5. To creditors of the association, as their interests appear.
6. To unit owners, the proceeds of any sale of condominium property subject to satisfaction of liens on each unit in their order of priority, in shares specified in the plan of termination, unless objected to by a unit owner or lienor as provided in paragraph (b).
7. To unit owners, the remaining condominium property, subject to satisfaction of liens on each unit in their order of priority, in shares specified in the plan of termination, unless objected to by a unit owner or a lienor as provided in paragraph (b).
8. To unit owners, the proceeds of any sale of association property, the remaining association property, common surplus, and other assets of the association, subject to satisfaction of liens on each unit in their order of priority, in shares specified in the plan of termination, unless objected to by a unit owner or a lienor as provided in paragraph (b).
(d) After determining that all known debts and liabilities of an association in the process of termination have been paid or adequately provided for, the termination trustee shall distribute the remaining assets pursuant to the plan of termination. If the termination is by court proceeding or subject to court supervision, the distribution may not be made until any period for the presentation of claims ordered by the court has elapsed.
(e) Assets held by an association upon a valid condition requiring return, transfer, or conveyance, which condition has occurred or will occur, shall be returned, transferred, or conveyed in accordance with the condition. The remaining association assets shall be distributed pursuant to paragraph (c).
(f) Distribution may be made in money, property, or securities and in installments or as a lump sum, if it can be done fairly and ratably and in conformity with the plan of termination. Distribution shall be made as soon as is reasonably consistent with the beneficial liquidation of the assets.
(18) ASSOCIATION STATUS.--The termination of a condominium does not change the corporate status of the association that operated the condominium property. The association continues to exist to conclude its affairs, prosecute and defend actions by or against it, collect and discharge obligations, dispose of and convey its property, and collect and divide its assets, but not to act except as necessary to conclude its affairs.
(19) CREATION OF ANOTHER CONDOMINIUM.--The termination of a condominium does not bar the creation by the termination trustee of another condominium affecting any portion of the same property.
(20) EXCLUSION.--This section does not apply to the termination of a condominium incident to a merger of that condominium with one or more other condominiums under s. 718.110(7).
History.--s. 1, ch. 76-222; s. 4, ch. 88-148; s. 47, ch. 95-274; s. 3, ch. 98-195; s. 57, ch. 2000-302; s. 1, ch. 2007-226; s. 11, ch. 2008-28; s. 2, ch. 2008-202; s. 6, ch. 2008-240.