Section 720.303, Florida Statutes 2003
720.303 Association powers and duties; meetings of board; official records; budgets; financial reporting.--
(1) POWERS AND DUTIES.--An association which operates a community as defined in s. 720.301, must be operated by an association that is a Florida corporation. After October 1, 1995, the association must be incorporated and the initial governing documents must be recorded in the official records of the county in which the community is located. An association may operate more than one community. The officers and directors of an association have a fiduciary relationship to the members who are served by the association. The powers and duties of an association include those set forth in this chapter and, except as expressly limited or restricted in this chapter, those set forth in the governing documents. After control of the association is obtained by unit owners other than the developer, the association may institute, maintain, settle, or appeal actions or hearings in its name on behalf of all members concerning matters of common interest to the members, including, but not limited to, the common areas; roof or structural components of a building, or other improvements for which the association is responsible; mechanical, electrical, or plumbing elements serving an improvement or building for which the association is responsible; representations of the developer pertaining to any existing or proposed commonly used facility; and protesting ad valorem taxes on commonly used facilities. The association may defend actions in eminent domain or bring inverse condemnation actions. Before commencing litigation against any party in the name of the association involving amounts in controversy in excess of $100,000, the association must obtain the affirmative approval of a majority of the voting interests at a meeting of the membership at which a quorum has been attained. This subsection does not limit any statutory or common-law right of any individual member or class of members to bring any action without participation by the association. A member does not have
authority to act for the association by virtue of being a member. An association may have more than one class of members and may issue membership certificates.
(2) BOARD MEETINGS.--A meeting of the board of directors of an association occurs whenever a quorum of the board gathers to conduct association business. All meetings of the board must be open to all members except for meetings between the board and its attorney with respect to proposed or pending litigation where the contents of the discussion would otherwise be governed by the attorney-client privilege. Notices of all board meetings must be posted in a conspicuous place in the community at least 48 hours in advance of a meeting, except in an emergency. In the alternative, if notice is not posted in a conspicuous place in the community, notice of each board meeting must be mailed or delivered to each member at least 7 days before the meeting, except in an emergency. Notwithstanding this general notice requirement, for communities with more than 100 members, the bylaws may provide for a reasonable alternative to posting or mailing of notice for each board meeting, including publication of notice, provision of a schedule of board meetings, or the conspicuous posting and repeated broadcasting of the notice on a closed-circuit cable television system serving the homeowners' association. However, if broadcast notice is used in lieu of a notice posted physically in the community, the notice must be broadcast at least four times every broadcast hour of each day that a posted notice is otherwise required. When broadcast notice is provided, the notice and agenda must be broadcast in a manner and for a sufficient continuous length of time so as to allow an average reader to observe the notice and read and comprehend the entire content of the notice and the agenda. The bylaws or amended bylaws may provide for giving notice by electronic transmission in a manner authorized by law for meetings of the board of directors, committee meetings requiring notice under this section, and annual and special meetings of the members; however, a member must consent in writing to receiving notice by electronic
transmission. An assessment may not be levied at a board meeting unless the notice of the meeting includes a statement that assessments will be considered and the nature of the assessments. Directors may not vote by proxy or by secret ballot at board meetings, except that secret ballots may be used in the election of officers. This subsection also applies to the meetings of any committee or other similar body, when a final decision will be made regarding the expenditure of association funds, and to any body vested with the power to approve or disapprove architectural decisions with respect to a specific parcel of residential property owned by a member of the community.
(3) MINUTES.--Minutes of all meetings of the members of an association and of the board of directors of an association must be maintained in written form or in another form that can be converted into written form within a reasonable time. A vote or abstention from voting on each matter voted upon for each director present at a board meeting must be recorded in the minutes.
(4) OFFICIAL RECORDS.--The association shall maintain each of the following items, when applicable, which constitute the official records of the association:
(a) Copies of any plans, specifications, permits, and warranties related to improvements constructed on the common areas or other property that the association is obligated to maintain, repair, or replace.
(b) A copy of the bylaws of the association and of each amendment to the bylaws.
(c) A copy of the articles of incorporation of the association and of each amendment thereto.
(d) A copy of the declaration of covenants and a copy of each amendment thereto.
(e) A copy of the current rules of the homeowners' association.
(f) The minutes of all meetings of the board of directors and of the members, which minutes must be retained for at least 7 years.
(g) A current roster of all members and their mailing addresses and parcel identifications. The association shall also maintain the electronic mailing addresses and the numbers designated by members for receiving notice sent by electronic transmission of those members consenting to receive notice by electronic transmission. The electronic mailing addresses and numbers provided by unit owners to receive notice by electronic transmission shall be removed from association records when consent to receive notice by electronic transmission is revoked. However, the association is not liable for an erroneous disclosure of the electronic mail address or the number for receiving electronic transmission of notices.
(h) All of the association's insurance policies or a copy thereof, which policies must be retained for at least 7 years.
(i) A current copy of all contracts to which the association is a party, including, without limitation, any management agreement, lease, or other contract under which the association has any obligation or responsibility. Bids received by the association for work to be performed must also be considered official records and must be kept for a period of 1 year.
(j) The financial and accounting records of the association, kept according to good accounting practices. All financial and accounting records must be maintained for a period of at least 7 years. The financial and accounting records must include:
1. Accurate, itemized, and detailed records of all receipts and expenditures.
2. A current account and a periodic statement of the account for each member, designating the name and current address of each member who is obligated to pay assessments, the due date and amount of each assessment or other charge against the member, the date and amount of each payment on the account, and the balance due.
3. All tax returns, financial statements, and financial reports of the association.
4. Any other records that identify, measure, record, or communicate financial information.
(5) INSPECTION AND COPYING OF RECORDS.--The official records shall be maintained within the state and must be open to inspection and available for photocopying by members or their authorized agents at reasonable times and places within 10 business days after receipt of a written request for access. This subsection may be complied with by having a copy of the official records available for inspection or copying in the community.
(a) The failure of an association to provide access to the records within 10 business days after receipt of a written request creates a rebuttable presumption that the association willfully failed to comply with this subsection.
(b) A member who is denied access to official records is entitled to the actual damages or minimum damages for the association's willful failure to comply with this subsection. The minimum damages are to be $50 per calendar day up to 10 days, the calculation to begin on the 11th business day after receipt of the written request.
(c) The association may adopt reasonable written rules governing the frequency, time, location, notice, and manner of inspections, and may impose fees to cover the costs of providing copies of the official records, including, without limitation, the costs of copying. The association shall maintain an adequate number of copies of the recorded governing documents, to ensure their availability to members and prospective members, and may charge only its actual costs for reproducing and furnishing these documents to those persons who are entitled to receive them.
(6) BUDGETS.--The association shall prepare an annual budget. The budget must reflect the estimated revenues and expenses for that year and the estimated surplus or deficit as of the end of the current year. The budget must set out separately all fees or charges for recreational amenities, whether owned by the association, the developer, or another person. The association shall provide each member with a copy of the annual budget or a written notice that a copy of the budget is available upon request at no charge to the member. The copy must be provided to the member within the time limits set forth in subsection (5).
(7) FINANCIAL REPORTING.--The association shall prepare an annual financial report within 60 days after the close of the fiscal year. The association shall, within the time limits set forth in subsection (5), provide each member with a copy of the annual financial report or a written notice that a copy of the financial report is available upon request at no charge to the member. The financial report must consist of either:
(a) Financial statements presented in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles; or
(b) A financial report of actual receipts and expenditures, cash basis, which report must show:
1. The amount of receipts and expenditures by classification; and
2. The beginning and ending cash balances of the association.
(8) ASSOCIATION FUNDS; COMMINGLING.--
(a) All association funds held by a developer shall be maintained separately in the association's name. Reserve and operating funds of the association shall not be commingled prior to turnover except the association may jointly invest reserve funds; however, such jointly invested funds must be accounted for separately.
(b) No developer in control of a homeowners' association shall commingle any association funds with his or her funds or with the funds of any other homeowners' association or community association.
(9) APPLICABILITY.--Sections 617.1601-617.1604 do not apply to a homeowners' association in which the members have the inspection and copying rights set forth in this section.
History.--s. 35, ch. 92-49; s. 54, ch. 95-274; s. 1, ch. 97-311; s. 1, ch. 98-261; s. 46, ch. 2000-258; s. 12, ch. 2003-14; s. 3, ch. 2003-79.
Note.--Former s. 617.303.