Village of Lake Tarpon, Inc

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CHAPTER 619

NONPROFIT COOPERATIVE ASSOCIATIONS

619.01  Nonprofit cooperative associations; powers.

619.02  Associations not in restraint of trade.

619.03  Prohibitions; membership; assignment.

619.04  Articles of incorporation.

619.05  Amendment of articles of incorporation.

619.06  Bylaws.

619.07  Special powers; marketing contracts; voluntary dissolution.

619.08  May own stock in certain corporations.

619.09  Quo warranto to test validity of incorporation.

619.01  Nonprofit cooperative associations; powers.--Three or more persons engaged in the production, preserving, drying, packing, canning, bottling, shipping, or marketing of agricultural products, as defined in s. 618.01, or in the manufacture or preparation of any confection, extracts, oils, juices, or byproducts, or three or more persons engaged in the production and marketing of aquatic products and sponges, may form a nonprofit cooperative association under the provisions of this chapter to carry on said business. Such associations shall have and may exercise powers authorized by this chapter, powers, necessarily incidental thereto, and all other powers granted to private corporations by the laws of this state, except such powers as are inconsistent with those granted by this chapter.

History.--s. 1, ch. 5958, 1909; RGS 4510; s. 1, ch. 9144, 1923; s. 1, ch. 10097, 1925; CGL 6509; s. 1, ch. 14544, 1929; s. 2, ch. 74-88; s. 1, ch. 88-34.

619.02  Associations not in restraint of trade.--No association organized under this chapter shall be deemed to be a combination in restraint of trade or an illegal monopoly; or an attempt to lessen competition to fix prices arbitrarily, nor shall the marketing contracts, or any agreements authorized in this chapter be considered illegal or in restraint of trade.

History.--s. 1, ch. 5958, 1909; RGS 4510; s. 1, ch. 9144, 1923; s. 1, ch. 10097, 1925; CGL 6509; s. 1, ch. 14544, 1929.

619.03  Prohibitions; membership; assignment.--Such associations shall not have a capital stock, and its business shall not be carried on for profit. Any person, or any number of persons, in addition to the original incorporators, may become members of such association, upon such terms and conditions as to membership and subject to such rules and regulations as to their, and each of their, contract and other rights and liabilities between it and the member, as the said association shall provide in its bylaws. The association shall issue a certificate of membership to each member but the said membership, or the said certificate thereof, shall not be assigned by a member to any other person, nor shall the assigns thereof be entitled to membership in the association or to any property rights or interest therein. Nor shall a purchaser at execution sale, or any other person who may succeed, by operation of law or otherwise, to the property interests of a member, be entitled to membership or become a member of the association by virtue of such transfer. The board of directors may, however, by motion duly adopted by it, consent to such assignment or transfer and to the acceptance of the assignee or transferee as a member of the association, but the association may, by its bylaws, provide for or against the transfer of membership and for or against the assignment of membership certificates, and also the terms and conditions upon which any such transfer or assignment shall be allowed.

History.--s. 2, ch. 5958, 1909; RGS 4511; CGL 6510.

619.04  Articles of incorporation.--Each association formed under this chapter must prepare and file articles of incorporation in the same manner and under the same regulations as required under chapter 607, and therein shall set forth:

(1)  The name of the association.

(2)  The purpose for which it is formed.

(3)  The place where its principal business will be transacted.

(4)  The term for which it is to exist, not exceeding 50 years.

(5)  The number of directors thereof, which must not be less than three and which may be any number in excess thereof, and the names and residences of those selected for the first year and until their successors shall have been elected and shall have accepted office.

(6)  Whether the voting power and the property rights and interest of each member shall be equal, or unequal, and if unequal these articles shall set forth a general rule applicable to all members by which the voting power and the property rights and interests, respectively, of each member may and shall be determined and fixed, but the association shall have power to admit new members, who shall be entitled to vote and to share in the property of the association with the old members, in accordance with such general rule. This provision of the articles of incorporation shall not be altered, amended or repealed except by the unanimous written consent or the vote of all the members.

(7)  Said articles must be subscribed by the original members and acknowledged by one of them before an officer authorized by the law of this state to take and certify acknowledgments of deeds of conveyance, and shall be filed in accordance with the provisions of law, and when so filed the said articles of incorporation or certified copies thereof shall be received in all the courts of this state and other places as prima facie evidence of the facts contained therein.

History.--s. 3, ch. 5958, 1909; RGS 4512; CGL 6511; s. 9, ch. 79-9.

619.05  Amendment of articles of incorporation.--

(1)  Any nonprofit cooperative association heretofore or hereafter organized may amend its charter by a two-thirds vote of all its members at any regular meeting, or at a special meeting called for that purpose.

(2)  If the proposed alteration or amendment shall be so adopted, the corporation shall prepare a certificate, under its common seal, of the proposed alteration or amendment as adopted by said corporation, which certificate accompanied by said proposed amendment or alteration, shall be signed by the president or vice president of said corporation and attested by its secretary, and file the same with the Department of State; which certificate accompanied by said proposed amendment or alteration, shall be produced to the Governor, who shall examine the same, and if it is found to be in proper form, and that the proposed alteration or amendment has been properly adopted, is lawful and not injurious to the community, and is in accord with the purpose of the charter, the Governor shall approve the same, and thereupon letters patent shall issue, reciting the alteration or amendment; and the said letters patent shall then be recorded by the Department of State, and from the date of the record thereof in the Department of State, said alteration or amendment shall be treated and considered as a part of the charter of said corporation.

History.--s. 1, ch. 17132, 1935; CGL 1936 Supp. 6515(1); s. 17, ch. 61-530; ss. 10, 35, ch. 69-106.

619.06  Bylaws.--Each association incorporated under this chapter must, within 30 days after its incorporation, adopt a code of bylaws for its government and management not inconsistent with the provisions of this law. A majority vote of the members or the written assent of members representing a majority of the votes, is necessary to adopt such bylaws. The provisions of the general laws of this state not inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter shall apply to the bylaws of the corporations provided for in this chapter. Each association may also, by its bylaws adopted as aforesaid, provide for the following matters:

(1)  The manner of removal of any one or more of its directors and for filling any and all vacancies in the board of directors.

(2)  The number of directors and the number of members or votes thereof constituting a quorum.

(3)  The conditions upon which, and the time when, membership of any member in the association shall cease; the mode, manner and effect of expulsion of a member, subject to the right of the expelled member to have the board of directors (equitably) appraise the expelled member's property interests in the association and to affix the amount thereof in money, and to have the money paid to him or her within 60 days after such expulsion.

(4)  The amount of membership fee, if any, and the amount which each member shall be required to pay annually, or from time to time, if at all, to carry on the business of the association, and also the compensation, if any, to be paid by each member for any services rendered by the association to him or her, and the time of payment and the manner of collecting the same, and for forfeiture of the interest of the member in the association for nonpayment of the same.

(5)  The number and qualification of members of the association and the conditions precedent to membership, and the method, time and manner of permitting members to withdraw, and providing for the assignment and transfer of the interest of the member, and the manner of determining the value of such interest, and providing for the purchase of such interest by the association upon the death, withdrawal or expulsion of a member or upon the forfeiture of his or her membership, at the option of the association.

(6)  Permitting members to vote by their proxies and determining the conditions, manner, form and effect thereof.

History.--s. 4, ch. 5958, 1909; RGS 4513; CGL 6512; s. 114, ch. 97-102.

619.07  Special powers; marketing contracts; voluntary dissolution.--Each association incorporated under this chapter shall have the powers granted by the provisions of this law and other laws of Florida relating to private corporations, and shall also have the following powers:

(1)  To appoint such agents and officers as its business may require, and such appointed agents may be either persons or corporations; to admit persons to membership in the association, and to expel any member pursuant to the provisions of its bylaws; to forfeit the membership of any member for violation of any agreement between the member and the association, or for his or her violation of its bylaws.

(2)  To purchase or otherwise acquire, hold, own, sell, and otherwise dispose of any and every kind of real and personal property necessary to carry on its business, and to acquire by purchase or otherwise the interest of any member in the property of the association.

(3)  Upon the written assent or by a vote of members representing two-thirds of the total votes of all members to cooperate with any other cooperative corporation or corporations for the cooperative and more economical carrying on of their respective business, by consolidation; upon resolution adopted by board of directors, to enter into all necessary and proper contracts and agreements, and to make all necessary and proper stipulations and arrangements with any other cooperative corporation or corporations, for the cooperative and more economical carrying on of its business, or any part thereof; or any two or more cooperative corporations organized under this title, upon resolutions adopted by their respective boards of directors, may for the purpose of more economically carrying on their respective business, by agreement between them, unite in employing and using, or several associations may separately employ and use, the same methods, means and agencies for carrying on and conducting their respective businesses.

(4)  To organize, form, operate, own, control, have interest in, own stock of, or be a member of any other corporation, with or without capital stock, and engaged in preserving, drying, processing, canning, picking, hauling, packing, storing, handling, shipping, utilizing, manufacturing, marketing, or selling any of the agricultural or horticultural products handled by the association, or the byproducts thereof.

(5)  To make and execute marketing contracts requiring the members to sell, for any period of time, not over 10 years, all or any specified part of their agricultural products, as defined in s. 618.01, exclusively to or through the association or any facilities to be created by the association. The contracts may provide that the association may sell or resell the products of its members with or without taking title thereto, and pay over to its members the sale or resale price, after deducting all necessary selling, overhead, and other costs and expenses, including interest on bonds, not exceeding 8 percent per annum and reserves for retiring the bonds, if any, and other proper reserves.

(6)  Either the bylaws or the marketing contracts, or both the said bylaws and marketing contracts may fix, as liquidated damages, specific sums to be paid by the member to the association upon the breach by the member of any provision of the marketing contract regarding the sale or delivery or withholding of products; and may further provide that the member will pay all costs, premiums for bonds, expenses and fees in case any action is brought upon the contract by the association and any such provisions shall be valid and enforceable in the courts of this state.

(7)  In the event of any breach or threatened breach of a marketing contract by a member, the association shall be entitled to an injunction to prevent the further breach of the contract, and to a decree of specific performance thereof. Pending the adjudication of such an action, and upon filing a verified complaint showing the breach or threatened breach, and upon filing a sufficient bond, the association shall be entitled to a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction against the member.

(8)  Any association formed or consolidated under this chapter may be dissolved and its affairs wound up voluntarily by the written request of members representing two-thirds of the total votes, in the manner and with the effect now provided by law, except that the moneys remaining after liquidation shall be divided among the members in proportion to their property interest therein.

History.--s. 5, ch. 5958, 1909; RGS 4514; s. 2, ch. 10097, 1925; CGL 6513; s. 2, ch. 88-34; s. 115, ch. 97-102.

619.08  May own stock in certain corporations.--Any association formed under this chapter may own or hold stock in any corporation organized under the laws of the state, if such corporation is organized, or conducts, or operates, its business, solely for the benefit or advancement of the interests of persons engaged in the production, preservation, drying, packing, bottling, shipping, or marketing of agricultural products as defined in s. 618.01.

History.--s. 1, ch. 7383, 1917; RGS 4515; CGL 6514; s. 3, ch. 88-34.

619.09  Quo warranto to test validity of incorporation.--The right of an association claiming to be organized and incorporated and carrying on its business under this chapter to do and to continue its business, may be inquired into by quo warranto at the suit of the Department of Legal Affairs, but not otherwise.

FROM:

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=Ch0720/ch0720.htm

The 2005 Florida Statutes

CHAPTER 720

HOMEOWNERS' ASSOCIATIONS

PART I

GENERAL PROVISIONS (ss. 720.301-720.312)

PART II

DISCLOSURE PRIOR TO SALE OF RESIDENTIAL PARCELS (ss. 720.401, 720.402)

PART III

COVENANT REVITALIZATION (ss. 720.403-720.407)

PART I

GENERAL PROVISIONS

720.301  Definitions.

720.302  Purposes, scope, and application.

720.303  Association powers and duties; meetings of board; official records; budgets; financial reporting; association funds; recalls.

720.304  Right of owners to peaceably assemble; display of flag; SLAPP suits prohibited.

720.305  Obligations of members; remedies at law or in equity; levy of fines and suspension of use rights; failure to fill sufficient number of vacancies on board of directors to constitute a quorum; appointment of receiver upon petition of any member.

720.3055  Contracts for products and services; in writing; bids; exceptions.

720.306  Meetings of members; voting and election procedures; amendments.

720.307  Transition of association control in a community.

720.3075  Prohibited clauses in association documents.

720.308  Assessments and charges.

720.3086  Financial report.

720.309  Agreements entered into by the association.

720.31  Recreational leaseholds; right to acquire; escalation clauses.

720.311  Dispute resolution.

720.312  Declaration of covenants; survival after tax deed or foreclosure.

720.301  Definitions.--As used in this chapter, the term:

1)  "Assessment" or "amenity fee" means a sum or sums of money payable to the association, to the developer or other owner of common areas, or to recreational facilities and other properties serving the parcels by the owners of one or more parcels as authorized in the governing documents, which if not paid by the owner of a parcel, can result in a lien against the parcel.

(2)  "Common area" means all real property within a community which is owned or leased by an association or dedicated for use or maintenance by the association or its members, including, regardless of whether title has been conveyed to the association:

(a)  Real property the use of which is dedicated to the association or its members by a recorded plat; or

(b)  Real property committed by a declaration of covenants to be leased or conveyed to the association.

(3)  "Community" means the real property that is or will be subject to a declaration of covenants which is recorded in the county where the property is located. The term "community" includes all real property, including undeveloped phases, that is or was the subject of a development-of-regional-impact development order, together with any approved modification thereto.

(4)  "Declaration of covenants," or "declaration," means a recorded written instrument in the nature of covenants running with the land which subjects the land comprising the community to the jurisdiction and control of an association or associations in which the owners of the parcels, or their association representatives, must be members.

(5)  "Department" means the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

(6)  "Developer" means a person or entity that:

(a)  Creates the community served by the association; or

(b)  Succeeds to the rights and liabilities of the person or entity that created the community served by the association, provided that such is evidenced in writing.

(7)  "Division" means the Division of Florida Land Sales, Condominiums, and Mobile Homes in the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

(8)  "Governing documents" means:

(a)  The recorded declaration of covenants for a community, and all duly adopted and recorded amendments, supplements, and recorded exhibits thereto; and

(b)  The articles of incorporation and bylaws of the homeowners' association, and any duly adopted amendments thereto.

(9)  "Homeowners' association" or "association" means a Florida corporation responsible for the operation of a community or a mobile home subdivision in which the voting membership is made up of parcel owners or their agents, or a combination thereof, and in which membership is a mandatory condition of parcel ownership, and which is authorized to impose assessments that, if unpaid, may become a lien on the parcel. The term "homeowners' association" does not include a community development district or other similar special taxing district created pursuant to statute.

(10)  "Member" means a member of an association, and may include, but is not limited to, a parcel owner or an association representing parcel owners or a combination thereof, and includes any person or entity obligated by the governing documents to pay an assessment or amenity fee.

(11)  "Parcel" means a platted or unplatted lot, tract, unit, or other subdivision of real property within a community, as described in the declaration:

(a)  Which is capable of separate conveyance; and

(b)  Of which the parcel owner, or an association in which the parcel owner must be a member, is obligated:

1.  By the governing documents to be a member of an association that serves the community; and

2.  To pay to the homeowners' association assessments that, if not paid, may result in a lien.

(12)  "Parcel owner" means the record owner of legal title to a parcel.

(13)  "Voting interest" means the voting rights distributed to the members of the homeowners' association, pursuant to the governing documents.

History.--s. 33, ch. 92-49; s. 52, ch. 95-274; s. 4, ch. 99-382; s. 44, ch. 2000-258; s. 16, ch. 2004-345; s. 13, ch. 2004-353.

Note.--Former s. 617.301.

720.302  Purposes, scope, and application.--

(1)  The purposes of this chapter are to give statutory recognition to corporations not for profit that operate residential communities in this state, to provide procedures for operating homeowners' associations, and to protect the rights of association members without unduly impairing the ability of such associations to perform their functions.

(2)  The Legislature recognizes that it is not in the best interest of homeowners' associations or the individual association members thereof to create or impose a bureau or other agency of state government to regulate the affairs of homeowners' associations. However, in accordance with s. 720.311, the Legislature finds that homeowners' associations and their individual members will benefit from an expedited alternative process for resolution of election and recall disputes and presuit mediation of other disputes involving covenant enforcement and authorizes the department to hear, administer, and determine these disputes as more fully set forth in this chapter. Further, the Legislature recognizes that certain contract rights have been created for the benefit of homeowners' associations and members thereof before the effective date of this act and that ss. 720.301-720.407 are not intended to impair such contract rights, including, but not limited to, the rights of the developer to complete the community as initially contemplated.

(3)  This chapter does not apply to:

(a)  A community that is composed of property primarily intended for commercial, industrial, or other nonresidential use; or

(b)  The commercial or industrial parcels in a community that contains both residential parcels and parcels intended for commercial or industrial use.

(4)  This chapter does not apply to any association that is subject to regulation under chapter 718, chapter 719, or chapter 721; or to any nonmandatory association formed under chapter 723.

(5)  Unless expressly stated to the contrary, corporations not for profit that operate residential homeowners' associations in this state shall be governed by and subject to chapter 617 and this chapter. This subsection is intended to clarify existing law.

History.--s. 34, ch. 92-49; s. 53, ch. 95-274; s. 45, ch. 2000-258; s. 11, ch. 2003-14; s. 17, ch. 2004-345; s. 14, ch. 2004-353.

Note.--Former s. 617.302.

720.303  Association powers and duties; meetings of board; official records; budgets; financial reporting; association funds; recalls.--

(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 members 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. An association of 15 or fewer parcel owners may enforce only the requirements of those deed restrictions established prior to the purchase of each parcel upon an affected parcel owner or owners.

1(2)  BOARD MEETINGS.--

(a)  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.

(b)  Members have the right to attend all meetings of the board and to speak on any matter placed on the agenda by petition of the voting interests for at least 3 minutes. The association may adopt written reasonable rules expanding the right of members to speak and governing the frequency, duration, and other manner of member statements, which rules must be consistent with this paragraph and may include a sign-up sheet for members wishing to speak. Notwithstanding any other law, the requirement that board meetings and committee meetings be open to the members is inapplicable to meetings between the board or a committee and the association's attorney, with respect to meetings of the board held for the purpose of discussing personnel matters.

(c)  The bylaws shall provide for giving notice to parcel owners and members of all board meetings and, if they do not do so, shall be deemed to provide the following:

1.  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.

22.  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. Written notice of any meeting at which special assessments will be considered or at which amendments to rules regarding parcel use will be considered must be mailed, delivered, or electronically transmitted to the members and parcel owners and posted conspicuously on the property or broadcast on closed-circuit cable television not less than 14 days before the meeting.

3.  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.

(d)  If 20 percent of the total voting interests petition the board to address an item of business, the board shall at its next regular board meeting or at a special meeting of the board, but not later than 60 days after the receipt of the petition, take the petitioned item up on an agenda. The board shall give all members notice of the meeting at which the petitioned item shall be addressed in accordance with the 14-day notice requirement pursuant to subparagraph (c)2. Each member shall have the right to speak for at least 3 minutes on each matter placed on the agenda by petition, provided that the member signs the sign-up sheet, if one is provided, or submits a written request to speak prior to the meeting. Other than addressing the petitioned item at the meeting, the board is not obligated to take any other action requested by the petition.

(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.

(k)  A copy of the disclosure summary described in s. 720.401(1).

(l)  All other written records of the association not specifically included in the foregoing which are related to the operation of the association.

(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. If the association has a photocopy machine available where the records are maintained, it must provide parcel owners with copies on request during the inspection if the entire request is limited to no more than 25 pages.

(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, records to be inspected, and manner of inspections, but may not impose a requirement that a parcel owner demonstrate any proper purpose for the inspection, state any reason for the inspection, or limit a parcel owner's right to inspect records to less than one 8-hour business day per month. The association may impose fees to cover the costs of providing copies of the official records, including, without limitation, the costs of copying. The association may charge up to 50 cents per page for copies made on the association's photocopier. If the association does not have a photocopy machine available where the records are kept, or if the records requested to be copied exceed 25 pages in length, the association may have copies made by an outside vendor and may charge the actual cost 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. Notwithstanding the provisions of this paragraph, the following records shall not be accessible to members or parcel owners:

1.  Any record protected by the lawyer-client privilege as described in s. 90.502 and any record protected by the work-product privilege, including, but not limited to, any record prepared by an association attorney or prepared at the attorney's express direction which reflects a mental impression, conclusion, litigation strategy, or legal theory of the attorney or the association and was prepared exclusively for civil or criminal litigation or for adversarial administrative proceedings or which was prepared in anticipation of imminent civil or criminal litigation or imminent adversarial administrative proceedings until the conclusion of the litigation or adversarial administrative proceedings.

2.  Information obtained by an association in connection with the approval of the lease, sale, or other transfer of a parcel.

3.  Disciplinary, health, insurance, and personnel records of the association's employees.

4.  Medical records of parcel owners or community residents.

(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. Financial reports shall be prepared as follows:

(a)  An association that meets the criteria of this paragraph shall prepare or cause to be prepared a complete set of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. The financial statements shall be based upon the association's total annual revenues, as follows:

1.  An association with total annual revenues of $100,000 or more, but less than $200,000, shall prepare compiled financial statements.

2.  An association with total annual revenues of at least $200,000, but less than $400,000, shall prepare reviewed financial statements.

3.  An association with total annual revenues of $400,000 or more shall prepare audited financial statements.

(b)1.  An association with total annual revenues of less than $100,000 shall prepare a report of cash receipts and expenditures.

2.  An association in a community of fewer than 50 parcels, regardless of the association's annual revenues, may prepare a report of cash receipts and expenditures in lieu of financial statements required by paragraph (a) unless the governing documents provide otherwise.

3.  A report of cash receipts and disbursement must disclose the amount of receipts by accounts and receipt classifications and the amount of expenses by accounts and expense classifications, including, but not limited to, the following, as applicable: costs for security, professional, and management fees and expenses; taxes; costs for recreation facilities; expenses for refuse collection and utility services; expenses for lawn care; costs for building maintenance and repair; insurance costs; administration and salary expenses; and reserves if maintained by the association.

(c)  If 20 percent of the parcel owners petition the board for a level of financial reporting higher than that required by this section, the association shall duly notice and hold a meeting of members within 30 days of receipt of the petition for the purpose of voting on raising the level of reporting for that fiscal year. Upon approval of a majority of the total voting interests of the parcel owners, the association shall prepare or cause to be prepared, shall amend the budget or adopt a special assessment to pay for the financial report regardless of any provision to the contrary in the governing documents, and shall provide within 90 days of the meeting or the end of the fiscal year, whichever occurs later:

1.  Compiled, reviewed, or audited financial statements, if the association is otherwise required to prepare a report of cash receipts and expenditures;

2.  Reviewed or audited financial statements, if the association is otherwise required to prepare compiled financial statements; or

3.  Audited financial statements if the association is otherwise required to prepare reviewed financial statements.

(d)  If approved by a majority of the voting interests present at a properly called meeting of the association, an association may prepare or cause to be prepared:

1.  A report of cash receipts and expenditures in lieu of a compiled, reviewed, or audited financial statement;

2.  A report of cash receipts and expenditures or a compiled financial statement in lieu of a reviewed or audited financial statement; or

3.  A report of cash receipts and expenditures, a compiled financial statement, or a reviewed financial statement in lieu of an audited financial statement.

(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.

(c)  Association funds may not be used by a developer to defend a civil or criminal action, administrative proceeding, or arbitration proceeding that has been filed against the developer or directors appointed to the association board by the developer, even when the subject of the action or proceeding concerns the operation of the developer-controlled 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.

(10)  RECALL OF DIRECTORS.--

(a)1.  Regardless of any provision to the contrary contained in the governing documents, subject to the provisions of s. 720.307 regarding transition of association control, any member of the board of directors may be recalled and removed from office with or without cause by a majority of the total voting interests.

2.  When the governing documents, including the declaration, articles of incorporation, or bylaws, provide that only a specific class of members is entitled to elect a board director or directors, only that class of members may vote to recall those board directors so elected.

(b)1.  Board directors may be recalled by an agreement in writing or by written ballot without a membership meeting. The agreement in writing or the written ballots, or a copy thereof, shall be served on the association by certified mail or by personal service in the manner authorized by chapter 48 and the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure.

2.  The board shall duly notice and hold a meeting of the board within 5 full business days after receipt of the agreement in writing or written ballots. At the meeting, the board shall either certify the written ballots or written agreement to recall a director or directors of the board, in which case such director or directors shall be recalled effective immediately and shall turn over to the board within 5 full business days any and all records and property of the association in their possession, or proceed as described in paragraph (d).

3.  When it is determined by the department pursuant to binding arbitration proceedings that an initial recall effort was defective, written recall agreements or written ballots used in the first recall effort and not found to be defective may be reused in one subsequent recall effort. However, in no event is a written agreement or written ballot valid for more than 120 days after it has been signed by the member.

4.  Any rescission or revocation of a member's written recall ballot or agreement must be in writing and, in order to be effective, must be delivered to the association before the association is served with the written recall agreements or ballots.

5.  The agreement in writing or ballot shall list at least as many possible replacement directors as there are directors subject to the recall, when at least a majority of the board is sought to be recalled; the person executing the recall instrument may vote for as many replacement candidates as there are directors subject to the recall.

(c)1.  If the declaration, articles of incorporation, or bylaws specifically provide, the members may also recall and remove a board director or directors by a vote taken at a meeting. If so provided in the governing documents, a special meeting of the members to recall a director or directors of the board of administration may be called by 10 percent of the voting interests giving notice of the meeting as required for a meeting of members, and the notice shall state the purpose of the meeting. Electronic transmission may not be used as a method of giving notice of a meeting called in whole or in part for this purpose.

2.  The board shall duly notice and hold a board meeting within 5 full business days after the adjournment of the member meeting to recall one or more directors. At the meeting, the board shall certify the recall, in which case such member or members shall be recalled effective immediately and shall turn over to the board within 5 full business days any and all records and property of the association in their possession, or shall proceed as set forth in subparagraph (d).

(d)  If the board determines not to certify the written agreement or written ballots to recall a director or directors of the board or does not certify the recall by a vote at a meeting, the board shall, within 5 full business days after the meeting, file with the department a petition for binding arbitration pursuant to the applicable procedures in ss. 718.112(2)(j) and 718.1255 and the rules adopted thereunder. For the purposes of this section, the members who voted at the meeting or who executed the agreement in writing shall constitute one party under the petition for arbitration. If the arbitrator certifies the recall as to any director or directors of the board, the recall will be effective upon mailing of the final order of arbitration to the association. The director or directors so recalled shall deliver to the board any and all records of the association in their possession within 5 full business days after the effective date of the recall.

(e)  If a vacancy occurs on the board as a result of a recall and less than a majority of the board directors are removed, the vacancy may be filled by the affirmative vote of a majority of the remaining directors, notwithstanding any provision to the contrary contained in this subsection or in the association documents. If vacancies occur on the board as a result of a recall and a majority or more of the board directors are removed, the vacancies shall be filled by members voting in favor of the recall; if removal is at a meeting, any vacancies shall be filled by the members at the meeting. If the recall occurred by agreement in writing or by written ballot, members may vote for replacement directors in the same instrument in accordance with procedural rules adopted by the division, which rules need not be consistent with this subsection.

(f)  If the board fails to duly notice and hold a board meeting within 5 full business days after service of an agreement in writing or within 5 full business days after the adjournment of the member recall meeting, the recall shall be deemed effective and the board directors so recalled shall immediately turn over to the board all records and property of the association.

(g)  If a director who is removed fails to relinquish his or her office or turn over records as required under this section, the circuit court in the county where the association maintains its principal office may, upon the petition of the association, summarily order the director to relinquish his or her office and turn over all association records upon application of the association.

(h)  The minutes of the board meeting at which the board decides whether to certify the recall are an official association record. The minutes must record the date and time of the meeting, the decision of the board, and the vote count taken on each board member subject to the recall. In addition, when the board decides not to certify the recall, as to each vote rejected, the minutes must identify the parcel number and the specific reason for each such rejection.

(i)  When the recall of more than one board director is sought, the written agreement, ballot, or vote at a meeting shall provide for a separate vote for each board director sought to be recalled.

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; ss. 2, 18, ch. 2004-345; s. 15, ch. 2004-353; s. 135, ch. 2005-2.

1Note.--As amended by s. 18, ch. 2004-345, and s. 135, ch. 2005-2. For a description of multiple provisions in the same session affecting a statutory provision, see preface to the Florida Statutes, "Statutory Construction." Subsection (2) was also amended by s. 2, ch. 2004-345, and that version reads:

(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 a written notice of the meeting is provided to all members at least 14 days before the meeting, which notice includes a statement that assessments will be considered at the meeting and the nature of the assessments. Rules that regulate the use of parcels in the community may not be adopted, amended, or revoked at a board meeting unless a written meeting notice is provided to all members at least 14 days before the meeting, which notice includes a statement that changes to the rules regarding the use of parcels will be considered at the meeting. 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.

2Note.--As amended by s. 18, ch. 2004-345. For a description of multiple acts in the same session affecting a statutory provision, see preface to the Florida Statutes, "Statutory Construction." Subparagraph (2)(c)2. was also amended by s. 15, ch. 2004-353, and that version reads:

2.  An assessment may not be levied at a board meeting unless a written notice of the meeting is provided to all members at least 14 days before the meeting, which notice includes a statement that assessments will be considered at the meeting and the nature of the assessments. Written notice of any meeting at which special assessments will be considered or at which rules that regulate the use of parcels in the community may be adopted, amended, or revoked must be mailed, delivered, or electronically transmitted to the members and parcel owners and posted conspicuously on the property or broadcast on closed-circuit cable television not less than 14 days before the meeting. A written notice concerning changes to the rules that regulate the use of parcels in the community must include a statement that changes to the rules regarding the use of parcels will be considered at the meeting.

Note.--Former s. 617.303.

720.304  Right of owners to peaceably assemble; display of flag; SLAPP suits prohibited.--

(1)  All common areas and recreational facilities serving any homeowners' association shall be available to parcel owners in the homeowners' association served thereby and their invited guests for the use intended for such common areas and recreational facilities. The entity or entities responsible for the operation of the common areas and recreational facilities may adopt reasonable rules and regulations pertaining to the use of such common areas and recreational facilities. No entity or entities shall unreasonably restrict any parcel owner's right to peaceably assemble or right to invite public officers or candidates for public office to appear and speak in common areas and recreational facilities.

(2)  Any homeowner may display one portable, removable United States flag or official flag of the State of Florida in a respectful manner, and on Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, and Veterans Day may display in a respectful manner portable, removable official flags, not larger than 41/2 feet by 6 feet, which represent the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard, regardless of any declaration rules or requirements dealing with flags or decorations.

(3)  Any owner prevented from exercising rights guaranteed by subsection (1) or subsection (2) may bring an action in the appropriate court of the county in which the alleged infringement occurred, and, upon favorable adjudication, the court shall enjoin the enforcement of any provision contained in any homeowners' association document or rule that operates to deprive the owner of such rights.

(4)  It is the intent of the Legislature to protect the right of parcel owners to exercise their rights to instruct their representatives and petition for redress of grievances before the various governmental entities of this state as protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and s. 5, Art. I of the State Constitution. The Legislature recognizes that "Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation" or "SLAPP" suits, as they are typically called, have occurred when members are sued by individuals, business entities, or governmental entities arising out of a parcel owner's appearance and presentation before a governmental entity on matters related to the homeowners' association. However, it is the public policy of this state that government entities, business organizations, and individuals not engage in SLAPP suits because such actions are inconsistent with the right of parcel owners to participate in the state's institutions of government. Therefore, the Legislature finds and declares that prohibiting such lawsuits by governmental entities, business entities, and individuals against parcel owners who address matters concerning their homeowners' association will preserve this fundamental state policy, preserve the constitutional rights of parcel owners, and assure the continuation of representative government in this state. It is the intent of the Legislature that such lawsuits be expeditiously disposed of by the courts.

(a)  As used in this subsection, the term "governmental entity" means the state, including the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government, the independent establishments of the state, counties, municipalities, districts, authorities, boards, or commissions, or any agencies of these branches which are subject to chapter 286.

(b)  A governmental entity, business organization, or individual in this state may not file or cause to be filed through its employees or agents any lawsuit, cause of action, claim, cross-claim, or counterclaim against a parcel owner without merit and solely because such parcel owner has exercised the right to instruct his or her representatives or the right to petition for redress of grievances before the various governmental entities of this state, as protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and s. 5, Art. I of the State Constitution.

(c)  A parcel owner sued by a governmental entity, business organization, or individual in violation of this section has a right to an expeditious resolution of a claim that the suit is in violation of this section. A parcel owner may petition the court for an order dismissing the action or granting final judgment in favor of that parcel owner. The petitioner may file a motion for summary judgment, together with supplemental affidavits, seeking a determination that the governmental entity's, business organization's, or individual's lawsuit has been brought in violation of this section. The governmental entity, business organization, or individual shall thereafter file its response and any supplemental affidavits. As soon as practicable, the court shall set a hearing on the petitioner's motion, which shall be held at the earliest possible time after the filing of the governmental entity's, business organization's or individual's response. The court may award the parcel owner sued by the governmental entity, business organization, or individual actual damages arising from the governmental entity's, individual's, or business organization's violation of this section. A court may treble the damages awarded to a prevailing parcel owner and shall state the basis for the treble damages award in its judgment. The court shall award the prevailing party reasonable attorney's fees and costs incurred in connection with a claim that an action was filed in violation of this section.

(d)  Homeowners' associations may not expend association funds in prosecuting a SLAPP suit against a parcel owner.

(5)(a)  Any parcel owner may construct an access ramp if a resident or occupant of the parcel has a medical necessity or disability that requires a ramp for egress and ingress under the following conditions:

1.  The ramp must be as unobtrusive as possible, be designed to blend in aesthetically as practicable, and be reasonably sized to fit the intended use.

2.  Plans for the ramp must be submitted in advance to the homeowners' association. The association may make reasonable requests to modify the design to achieve architectural consistency with surrounding structures and surfaces.

(b)  The parcel owner must submit to the association an affidavit from a physician attesting to the medical necessity or disability of the resident or occupant of the parcel requiring the access ramp. Certification used for s. 320.0848 shall be sufficient to meet the affidavit requirement.

(6)  Any parcel owner may display a sign of reasonable size provided by a contractor for security services within 10 feet of any entrance to the home.

History.--s. 36, ch. 92-49; s. 51, ch. 2000-258; s. 1, ch. 2002-50; s. 19, ch. 2004-345; s. 16, ch. 2004-353.

Note.--Former s. 617.304.

720.305  Obligations of members; remedies at law or in equity; levy of fines and suspension of use rights; failure to fill sufficient number of vacancies on board of directors to constitute a quorum; appointment of receiver upon petition of any member.--

(1)  Each member and the member's tenants, guests, and invitees, and each association, are governed by, and must comply with, this chapter, the governing documents of the community, and the rules of the association. Actions at law or in equity, or both, to redress alleged failure or refusal to comply with these provisions may be brought by the association or by any member against:

(a)  The association;

(b)  A member;

(c)  Any director or officer of an association who willfully and knowingly fails to comply with these provisions; and

(d)  Any tenants, guests, or invitees occupying a parcel or using the common areas.

The prevailing party in any such litigation is entitled to recover reasonable attorney's fees and costs. This section does not deprive any person of any other available right or remedy.

(2)  If the governing documents so provide, an association may suspend, for a reasonable period of time, the rights of a member or a member's tenants, guests, or invitees, or both, to use common areas and facilities and may levy reasonable fines, not to exceed $100 per violation, against any member or any tenant, guest, or invitee. A fine may be levied on the basis of each day of a continuing violation, with a single notice and opportunity for hearing, except that no such fine shall exceed $1,000 in the aggregate unless otherwise provided in the governing documents. A fine shall not become a lien against a parcel. In any action to recover a fine, the prevailing party is entitled to collect its reasonable attorney's fees and costs from the nonprevailing party as determined by the court.

(a)  A fine or suspension may not be imposed without notice of at least 14 days to the person sought to be fined or suspended and an opportunity for a hearing before a committee of at least three members appointed by the board who are not officers, directors, or employees of the association, or the spouse, parent, child, brother, or sister of an officer, director, or employee. If the committee, by majority vote, does not approve a proposed fine or suspension, it may not be imposed.

(b)  The requirements of this subsection do not apply to the imposition of suspensions or fines upon any member because of the failure of the member to pay assessments or other charges when due if such action is authorized by the governing documents.

(c)  Suspension of common-area-use rights shall not impair the right of an owner or tenant of a parcel to have vehicular and pedestrian ingress to and egress from the parcel, including, but not limited to, the right to park.

(3)  If the governing documents so provide, an association may suspend the voting rights of a member for the nonpayment of regular annual assessments that are delinquent in excess of 90 days.

(4)  If an association fails to fill vacancies on the board of directors sufficient to constitute a quorum in accordance with the bylaws, any member may apply to the circuit court that has jurisdiction over the community served by the association for the appointment of a receiver to manage the affairs of the association. At least 30 days before applying to the circuit court, the member shall mail to the association, by certified or registered mail, and post, in a conspicuous place on the property of the community served by the association, a notice describing the intended action, giving the association 30 days to fill the vacancies. If during such time the association fails to fill a sufficient number of vacancies so that a quorum can be assembled, the member may proceed with the petition. If a receiver is appointed, the homeowners' association shall be responsible for the salary of the receiver, court costs, attorney's fees, and all other expenses of the receivership. The receiver has all the powers and duties of a duly constituted board of directors and shall serve until the association fills a sufficient number of vacancies on the board so that a quorum can be assembled.

History.--s. 37, ch. 92-49; s. 55, ch. 95-274; s. 2, ch. 97-311; s. 51, ch. 2000-258; s. 20, ch. 2004-345; s. 17, ch. 2004-353.

Note.--Former s. 617.305.

720.3055  Contracts for products and services; in writing; bids; exceptions.--

(1)  All contracts as further described in this section or any contract that is not to be fully performed within 1 year after the making thereof for the purchase, lease, or renting of materials or equipment to be used by the association in accomplishing its purposes under this chapter or the governing documents, and all contracts for the provision of services, shall be in writing. If a contract for the purchase, lease, or renting of materials or equipment, or for the provision of services, requires payment by the association that exceeds 10 percent of the total annual budget of the association, including reserves, the association must obtain competitive bids for the materials, equipment, or services. Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to require the association to accept the lowest bid.

(2)(a)1.  Notwithstanding the foregoing, contracts with employees of the association, and contracts for attorney, accountant, architect, community association manager, engineering, and landscape architect services are not subject to the provisions of this section.

2.  A contract executed before October 1, 2004, and any renewal thereof, is not subject to the competitive bid requirements of this section. If a contract was awarded under the competitive bid procedures of this section, any renewal of that contract is not subject to such competitive bid requirements if the contract contains a provision that allows the board to cancel the contract on 30 days' notice. Materials, equipment, or services provided to an association under a local government franchise agreement by a franchise holder are not subject to the competitive bid requirements of this section. A contract with a manager, if made by a competitive bid, may be made for up to 3 years. An association whose declaration or bylaws provide for competitive bidding for services may operate under the provisions of that declaration or bylaws in lieu of this section if those provisions are not less stringent than the requirements of this section.

(b)  Nothing contained in this section is intended to limit the ability of an association to obtain needed products and services in an emergency.

(c)  This section does not apply if the business entity with which the association desires to enter into a contract is the only source of supply within the county serving the association.

(d)  Nothing contained in this section shall excuse a party contracting to provide maintenance or management services from compliance with s. 720.309.

History.--s. 21, ch. 2004-345; s. 18, ch. 2004-353.

720.306  Meetings of members; voting and election procedures; amendments.--

(1)  QUORUM; AMENDMENTS.--

(a)  Unless a lower number is provided in the bylaws, the percentage of voting interests required to constitute a quorum at a meeting of the members shall be 30 percent of the total voting interests. Unless otherwise provided in this chapter or in the articles of incorporation or bylaws, decisions that require a vote of the members must be made by the concurrence of at least a majority of the voting interests present, in person or by proxy, at a meeting at which a quorum has been attained.

(b)  Unless otherwise provided in the governing documents or required by law, and other than those matters set forth in paragraph (c), any governing document of an association may be amended by the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the voting interests of the association.

(c)  Unless otherwise provided in the governing documents as originally recorded or permitted by this chapter or chapter 617, an amendment may not materially and adversely alter the proportionate voting interest appurtenant to a parcel or increase the proportion or percentage by which a parcel shares in the common expenses of the association unless the record parcel owner and all record owners of liens on the parcels join in the execution of the amendment. For purposes of this section, a change in quorum requirements is not an alteration of voting interests.

(2)  ANNUAL MEETING.--The association shall hold a meeting of its members annually for the transaction of any and all proper business at a time, date, and place stated in, or fixed in accordance with, the bylaws. The election of directors, if one is required to be held, must be held at, or in conjunction with, the annual meeting or as provided in the governing documents.

(3)  SPECIAL MEETINGS.--Special meetings must be held when called by the board of directors or, unless a different percentage is stated in the governing documents, by at least 10 percent of the total voting interests of the association. Business conducted at a special meeting is limited to the purposes described in the notice of the meeting.

(4)  CONTENT OF NOTICE.--Unless law or the governing documents require otherwise, notice of an annual meeting need not include a description of the purpose or purposes for which the meeting is called. Notice of a special meeting must include a description of the purpose or purposes for which the meeting is called.

(5)  NOTICE OF MEETINGS.--The bylaws shall provide for giving notice to members of all member meetings, and if they do not do so shall be deemed to provide the following: The association shall give all parcel owners and members actual notice of all membership meetings, which shall be mailed, delivered, or electronically transmitted to the members not less than 14 days prior to the meeting. Evidence of compliance with this 14-day notice shall be made by an affidavit executed by the person providing the notice and filed upon execution among the official records of the association. In addition to mailing, delivering, or electronically transmitting the notice of any meeting, the association may, by reasonable rule, adopt a procedure for conspicuously posting and repeatedly broadcasting the notice and the agenda on a closed-circuit cable television system serving the association. 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.

(6)  RIGHT TO SPEAK.--Members and parcel owners have the right to attend all membership meetings and to speak at any meeting with reference to all items opened for discussion or included on the agenda. Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary in the governing documents or any rules adopted by the board or by the membership, a member and a parcel owner have the right to speak for at least 3 minutes on any item, provided that the member or parcel owner submits a written request to speak prior to the meeting. The association may adopt written reasonable rules governing the frequency, duration, and other manner of member and parcel owner statements, which rules must be consistent with this subsection.

(7)  ADJOURNMENT.--Unless the bylaws require otherwise, adjournment of an annual or special meeting to a different date, time, or place must be announced at that meeting before an adjournment is taken, or notice must be given of the new date, time, or place pursuant to s. 720.303(2). Any business that might have been transacted on the original date of the meeting may be transacted at the adjourned meeting. If a new record date for the adjourned meeting is or must be fixed under 1s. 617.0707, notice of the adjourned meeting must be given to persons who are entitled to vote and are members as of the new record date but were not members as of the previous record date.

(8)  PROXY VOTING.--The members have the right, unless otherwise provided in this subsection or in the governing documents, to vote in person or by proxy. To be valid, a proxy must be dated, must state the date, time, and place of the meeting for which it was given, and must be signed by the authorized person who executed the proxy. A proxy is effective only for the specific meeting for which it was originally given, as the meeting may lawfully be adjourned and reconvened from time to time, and automatically expires 90 days after the date of the meeting for which it was originally given. A proxy is revocable at any time at the pleasure of the person who executes it. If the proxy form expressly so provides, any proxy holder may appoint, in writing, a substitute to act in his or her place.

(9)  ELECTIONS.--Elections of directors must be conducted in accordance with the procedures set forth in the governing documents of the association. All members of the association shall be eligible to serve on the board of directors, and a member may nominate himself or herself as a candidate for the board at a meeting where the election is to be held. Except as otherwise provided in the governing documents, boards of directors must be elected by a plurality of the votes cast by eligible voters. Any election dispute between a member and an association must be submitted to mandatory binding arbitration with the division. Such proceedings shall be conducted in the manner provided by s. 718.1255 and the procedural rules adopted by the division.

(10)  RECORDING.--Any parcel owner may tape record or videotape meetings of the board of directors and meetings of the members. The board of directors of the association may adopt reasonable rules governing the taping of meetings of the board and the membership.

History.--s. 38, ch. 92-49; s. 56, ch. 95-274; s. 4, ch. 96-343; s. 1718, ch. 97-102; s. 47, ch. 2000-258; s. 4, ch. 2003-79; s. 22, ch. 2004-345; s. 19, ch. 2004-353.

1Note.--Section 617.0707 does not exist.

Note.--Former s. 617.306.

720.307  Transition of association control in a community.--With respect to homeowners' associations:

(1)  Members other than the developer are entitled to elect at least a majority of the members of the board of directors of the homeowners' association when the earlier of the following events occurs:

(a)  Three months after 90 percent of the parcels in all phases of the community that will ultimately be operated by the homeowners' association have been conveyed to members; or

(b)  Such other percentage of the parcels has been conveyed to members, or such other date or event has occurred, as is set forth in the governing documents in order to comply with the requirements of any governmentally chartered entity with regard to the mortgage financing of parcels.

For purposes of this section, the term "members other than the developer" shall not include builders, contractors, or others who purchase a parcel for the purpose of constructing improvements thereon for resale.

(2)  The developer is entitled to elect at least one member of the board of directors of the homeowners' association as long as the developer holds for sale in the ordinary course of business at least 5 percent of the parcels in all phases of the community. After the developer relinquishes control of the homeowners' association, the developer may exercise the right to vote any developer-owned voting interests in the same manner as any other member, except for purposes of reacquiring control of the homeowners' association or selecting the majority of the members of the board of directors.

(3)  At the time the members are entitled to elect at least a majority of the board of directors of the homeowners' association, the developer shall, at the developer's expense, within no more than 90 days deliver the following documents to the board:

(a)  All deeds to common property owned by the association.

(b)  The original of the association's declarations of covenants and restrictions.

(c)  A certified copy of the articles of incorporation of the association.

(d)  A copy of the bylaws.

(e)  The minute books, including all minutes.

(f)  The books and records of the association.

(g)  Policies, rules, and regulations, if any, which have been adopted.

(h)  Resignations of directors who are required to resign because the developer is required to relinquish control of the association.

(i)  The financial records of the association from the date of incorporation through the date of turnover.

(j)  All association funds and control thereof.

(k)  All tangible property of the association.

(l)  A copy of all contracts which may be in force with the association as one of the parties.

(m)  A list of the names and addresses and telephone numbers of all contractors, subcontractors, or others in the current employ of the association.

(n)  Any and all insurance policies in effect.

(o)  Any permits issued to the association by governmental entities.

(p)  Any and all warranties in effect.

(q)  A roster of current homeowners and their addresses and telephone numbers and section and lot numbers.

(r)  Employment and service contracts in effect.

(s)  All other contracts in effect to which the association is a party.

(4)  This section does not apply to a homeowners' association in existence on the effective date of this act, or to a homeowners' association, no matter when created, if such association is created in a community that is included in an effective development-of-regional-impact development order as of the effective date of this act, together with any approved modifications thereof.

History.--s. 57, ch. 95-274; s. 2, ch. 98-261; s. 48, ch. 2000-258.

Note.--Former s. 617.307.

720.3075  Prohibited clauses in association documents.--

(1)  It is declared that the public policy of this state prohibits the inclusion or enforcement of certain types of clauses in homeowners' association documents, including declaration of covenants, articles of incorporation, bylaws, or any other document of the association which binds members of the association, which either have the effect of or provide that:

(a)  A developer has the unilateral ability and right to make changes to the homeowners' association documents after the transition of homeowners' association control in a community from the developer to the nondeveloper members, as set forth in s. 720.307, has occurred.

(b)  A homeowners' association is prohibited or restricted from filing a lawsuit against the developer, or the homeowners' association is otherwise effectively prohibited or restricted from bringing a lawsuit against the developer.

(c)  After the transition of homeowners' association control in a community from the developer to the nondeveloper members, as set forth in s. 720.307, has occurred, a developer is entitled to cast votes in an amount that exceeds one vote per residential lot.

Such clauses are declared null and void as against the public policy of this state.

(2)  The public policy described in subsection (1) prohibits the inclusion or enforcement of such clauses created on or after the effective date of s. 3, chapter 98-261, Laws of Florida.

(3)  Homeowners' association documents, including declarations of covenants, articles of incorporation, or bylaws, may not preclude the display of one portable, removable United States flag by property owners. However, the flag must be displayed in a respectful manner, consistent with Title 36 U.S.C. chapter 10.

(4)  Homeowners' association documents, including declarations of covenants, articles of incorporation, or bylaws, entered after October 1, 2001, may not prohibit any property owner from implementing Xeriscape or Florida-friendly landscape, as defined in s. 373.185(1), on his or her land.

History.--s. 3, ch. 98-261; s. 49, ch. 2000-258; s. 47, ch. 2000-302; s. 8, ch. 2001-252; s. 2, ch. 2002-50.

Note.--Former s. 617.3075.

720.308  Assessments and charges.--For any community created after October 1, 1995, the governing documents must describe the manner in which expenses are shared and specify the member's proportional share thereof. Assessments levied pursuant to the annual budget or special assessment must be in the member's proportional share of expenses as described in the governing document, which share may be different among classes of parcels based upon the state of development thereof, levels of services received by the applicable members, or other relevant factors. While the developer is in control of the homeowners' association, it may be excused from payment of its share of the operating expenses and assessments related to its parcels for any period of time for which the developer has, in the declaration, obligated itself to pay any operating expenses incurred that exceed the assessments receivable from other members and other income of the association. This section does not apply to an association, no matter when created, if the association is created in a community that is included in an effective development-of-regional-impact development order as of the effective date of this act, together with any approved modifications thereto.

History.--s. 58, ch. 95-274; s. 51, ch. 2000-258.

Note.--Former s. 617.308.

720.3086  Financial report.--In a residential subdivision in which the owners of lots or parcels must pay mandatory maintenance or amenity fees to the subdivision developer or to the owners of the common areas, recreational facilities, and other properties serving the lots or parcels, the developer or owner of such areas, facilities, or properties shall make public, within 60 days following the end of each fiscal year, a complete financial report of the actual, total receipts of mandatory maintenance or amenity fees received by it, and an itemized listing of the expenditures made by it from such fees, for that year. Such report shall be made public by mailing it to each lot or parcel owner in the subdivision, by publishing it in a publication regularly distributed within the subdivision, or by posting it in prominent locations in the subdivision. This section does not apply to amounts paid to homeowner associations pursuant to chapter 617, chapter 718, chapter 719, chapter 721, or chapter 723, or to amounts paid to local governmental entities, including special districts.

History.--s. 64, ch. 95-274; s. 26, ch. 2004-345; s. 22, ch. 2004-353.

Note.--Former s. 689.265.

720.309  Agreements entered into by the association.--Any grant or reservation made by any document, and any contract with a term in excess of 10 years made by an association before control of the association is turned over to the members other than the developer, which provide for operation, maintenance, or management of the association or common areas must be fair and reasonable.

History.--s. 59, ch. 95-274; s. 51, ch. 2000-258.

Note.--Former s. 617.309.

720.31  Recreational leaseholds; right to acquire; escalation clauses.--

(1)  Any lease of recreational or other commonly used facilities serving a community, which lease is entered into by the association or its members before control of the homeowners' association is turned over to the members other than the developer, must provide as follows:

(a)  That the facilities may not be offered for sale unless the homeowners' association has the option to purchase the facilities, provided the homeowners' association meets the price and terms and conditions of the facility owner by executing a contract with the facility owner within 90 days, unless agreed to otherwise, from the date of mailing of the notice by the facility owner to the homeowners' association. If the facility owner offers the facilities for sale, he or she shall notify the homeowners' association in writing stating the price and the terms and conditions of sale.

(b)  If a contract between the facility owner and the association is not executed within such 90-day period, unless extended by mutual agreement, then, unless the facility owner thereafter elects to offer the facilities at a price lower than the price specified in his or her notice to the homeowners' association, he or she has no further obligations under this subsection, and his or her only obligation shall be as set forth in subsection (2).

(c)  If the facility owner thereafter elects to offer the facilities at a price lower than the price specified in his or her notice to the homeowners' association, the homeowners' association will have an additional 10 days to meet the price and terms and condition of the facility owner by executing a contract.

(2)  If a facility owner receives a bona fide offer to purchase the facilities that he or she intends to consider or make a counteroffer to, his or her only obligations shall be to notify the homeowners' association that he or she has received an offer, to disclose the price and material terms and conditions upon which he or she would consider selling the facilities, and to consider any offer made by the homeowners' association. The facility owner shall be under no obligation to sell to the homeowners' association or to interrupt or delay other negotiations, and he or she shall be free at any time to execute a contract for the sale of the facilities to a party or parties other than the homeowners' association.

(3)(a)  As used in subsections (1) and (2), the term "notify" means the placing of a notice in the United States mail addressed to the president of the homeowners' association. Each such notice shall be deemed to have been given upon the deposit of the notice in the United States mail.

(b)  As used in subsection (1), the term "offer" means any solicitation by the facility owner directed to the general public.

(4)  This section does not apply to:

(a)  Any sale or transfer to a person who would be included within the table of descent and distribution if the facility owner were to die intestate.

(b)  Any transfer by gift, devise, or operation of law.

(c)  Any transfer by a corporation to an affiliate. As used herein, the term "affiliate" means any shareholder of the transferring corporation; any corporation or entity owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by the transferring corporation; or any other corporation or entity owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by any shareholder of the transferring corporation.

(d)  Any transfer to a governmental or quasi-governmental entity.

(e)  Any conveyance of an interest in the facilities incidental to the financing of such facilities.

(f)  Any conveyance resulting from the foreclosure of a mortgage, deed of trust, or other instrument encumbering the facilities or any deed given in lieu of such foreclosure.

(g)  Any sale or transfer between or among joint tenants in common owning the facilities.

(h)  The purchase of the facilities by a governmental entity under its powers of eminent domain.

(5)(a)  The Legislature declares that the public policy of this state prohibits the inclusion or enforcement of escalation clauses in land leases or other leases for recreational facilities, land, or other commonly used facilities that serve residential communities, and such clauses are hereby declared void. For purposes of this section, an escalation clause is any clause in a lease which provides that the rental rate under the lease or agreement is to increase at the same percentage rate as any nationally recognized and conveniently available commodity or consumer price index.

(b)  This public policy prohibits the inclusion of such escalation clauses in leases entered into after the effective date of this amendment.

(c)  This section is inapplicable:

1.  If the lessor is the Federal Government, this state, any political subdivision of this state, or any agency of a political subdivision of this state; or

2.  To a homeowners' association that is in existence on the effective date of this act, or to an association, no matter when created, if the association is created in a community that is included in an effective development-of-regional-impact development order as of the effective date of this act, together with any approved modifications thereto.

History.--s. 60, ch. 95-274; s. 107, ch. 97-102; s. 51, ch. 2000-258.

Note.--Former s. 617.31.

720.311  Dispute resolution.--

(1)  The Legislature finds that alternative dispute resolution has made progress in reducing court dockets and trials and in offering a more efficient, cost-effective option to litigation. The filing of any petition for mediation or arbitration provided for in this section shall toll the applicable statute of limitations. Any recall dispute filed with the department pursuant to s. 720.303(10) shall be conducted by the department in accordance with the provisions of ss. 718.112(2)(j) and 718.1255 and the rules adopted by the division. In addition, the department shall conduct mandatory binding arbitration of election disputes between a member and an association pursuant to s. 718.1255 and rules adopted by the division. Neither election disputes nor recall disputes are eligible for mediation; these disputes shall be arbitrated by the department. At the conclusion of the proceeding, the department shall charge the parties a fee in an amount adequate to cover all costs and expenses incurred by the department in conducting the proceeding. Initially, the petitioner shall remit a filing fee of at least $200 to the department. The fees paid to the department shall become a recoverable cost in the arbitration proceeding, and the prevailing party in an arbitration proceeding shall recover its reasonable costs and attorney's fees in an amount found reasonable by the arbitrator. The department shall adopt rules to effectuate the purposes of this section.

(2)(a)  Disputes between an association and a parcel owner regarding use of or changes to the parcel or the common areas and other covenant enforcement disputes, disputes regarding amendments to the association documents, disputes regarding meetings of the board and committees appointed by the board, membership meetings not including election meetings, and access to the official records of the association shall be filed with the department for mandatory mediation before the dispute is filed in court. Mediation proceedings must be conducted in accordance with the applicable Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, and these proceedings are privileged and confidential to the same extent as court-ordered mediation. An arbitrator or judge may not consider any information or evidence arising from the mediation proceeding except in a proceeding to impose sanctions for failure to attend a mediation session. Persons who are not parties to the dispute may not attend the mediation conference without the consent of all parties, except for counsel for the parties and a corporate representative designated by the association. When mediation is attended by a quorum of the board, such mediation is not a board meeting for purposes of notice and participation set forth in s. 720.303. The department shall conduct the proceedings through the use of department mediators or refer the disputes to private mediators who have been duly certified by the department as provided in paragraph (c). The parties shall share the costs of mediation equally, including the fee charged by the mediator, if any, unless the parties agree otherwise. If a department mediator is used, the department may charge such fee as is necessary to pay expenses of the mediation, including, but not limited to, the salary and benefits of the mediator and any travel expenses incurred. The petitioner shall initially file with the department upon filing the disputes, a filing fee of $200, which shall be used to defray the costs of the mediation. At the conclusion of the mediation, the department shall charge to the parties, to be shared equally unless otherwise agreed by the parties, such further fees as are necessary to fully reimburse the department for all expenses incurred in the mediation.

(b)  If mediation as described in paragraph (a) is not successful in resolving all issues between the parties, the parties may file the unresolved dispute in a court of competent jurisdiction or elect to enter into binding or nonbinding arbitration pursuant to the procedures set forth in s. 718.1255 and rules adopted by the division, with the arbitration proceeding to be conducted by a department arbitrator or by a private arbitrator certified by the department. If all parties do not agree to arbitration proceedings following an unsuccessful mediation, any party may file the dispute in court. A final order resulting from nonbinding arbitration is final and enforceable in the courts if a complaint for trial de novo is not filed in a court of competent jurisdiction within 30 days after entry of the order.

(c)  The department shall develop a certification and training program for private mediators and private arbitrators which shall emphasize experience and expertise in the area of the operation of community associations. A mediator or arbitrator shall be certified by the department only if he or she has attended at least 20 hours of training in mediation or arbitration, as appropriate, and only if the applicant has mediated or arbitrated at least 10 disputes involving community associations within 5 years prior to the date of the application, or has mediated or arbitrated 10 disputes in any area within 5 years prior to the date of application and has completed 20 hours of training in community association disputes. In order to be certified by the department, any mediator must also be certified by the Florida Supreme Court. The department may conduct the training and certification program within the department or may contract with an outside vendor to perform the training or certification. The expenses of operating the training and certification and training program shall be paid by the moneys and filing fees generated by the arbitration of recall and election disputes and by the mediation of those disputes referred to in this subsection and by the training fees.

(d)  The mediation procedures provided by this subsection may be used by a Florida corporation responsible for the operation of a community in which the voting members are parcel owners or their representatives, in which membership in the corporation is not a mandatory condition of parcel ownership, or which is not authorized to impose an assessment that may become a lien on the parcel.

(3)  The department shall develop an education program to assist homeowners, associations, board members, and managers in understanding and increasing awareness of the operation of homeowners' associations pursuant to this chapter and in understanding the use of alternative dispute resolution techniques in resolving disputes between parcel owners and associations or between owners. Such education program may include the development of pamphlets and other written instructional guides, the holding of classes and meetings by department employees or outside vendors, as the department determines, and the creation and maintenance of a website containing instructional materials. The expenses of operating the education program shall be initially paid by the moneys and filing fees generated by the arbitration of recall and election disputes and by the mediation of those disputes referred to in this subsection.

History.--s. 61, ch. 95-274; s. 50, ch. 2000-258; s. 23, ch. 2004-345; s. 20, ch. 2004-353.

Note.--Former s. 617.311.

720.312  Declaration of covenants; survival after tax deed or foreclosure.--All provisions of a declaration of covenants relating to a parcel that has been sold for taxes or special assessments survive and are enforceable after the issuance of a tax deed or master's deed, or upon the foreclosure of an assessment, a certificate or lien, a tax deed, tax certificate, or tax lien, to the same extent that they would be enforceable against a voluntary grantee of title to the parcel immediately before the delivery of the tax deed or master's deed or immediately before the foreclosure.

History.--s. 62, ch. 95-274; s. 51, ch. 2000-258.

Note.--Former s. 617.312.

PART II

DISCLOSURE PRIOR TO SALE OF
RESIDENTIAL PARCELS

720.401  Prospective purchasers subject to association membership requirement; disclosure required; covenants; assessments; contract cancellation.

720.402  Publication of false and misleading information.

720.401  Prospective purchasers subject to association membership requirement; disclosure required; covenants; assessments; contract cancellation.--

(1)(a)  A prospective parcel owner in a community must be presented a disclosure summary before executing the contract for sale. The disclosure summary must be in a form substantially similar to the following form:

DISCLOSURE SUMMARY
FOR
(NAME OF COMMUNITY)

1.  AS A PURCHASER OF PROPERTY IN THIS COMMUNITY, YOU WILL BE OBLIGATED TO BE A MEMBER OF A HOMEOWNERS' ASSOCIATION.

2.  THERE HAVE BEEN OR WILL BE RECORDED RESTRICTIVE COVENANTS GOVERNING THE USE AND OCCUPANCY OF PROPERTIES IN THIS COMMUNITY.

3.  YOU WILL BE OBLIGATED TO PAY ASSESSMENTS TO THE ASSOCIATION. ASSESSMENTS MAY BE SUBJECT TO PERIODIC CHANGE. IF APPLICABLE, THE CURRENT AMOUNT IS $_____ PER _____. YOU WILL ALSO BE OBLIGATED TO PAY ANY SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS IMPOSED BY THE ASSOCIATION. SUCH SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS MAY BE SUBJECT TO CHANGE. IF APPLICABLE, THE CURRENT AMOUNT IS $_____ PER _____.

4.  YOU MAY BE OBLIGATED TO PAY SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS TO THE RESPECTIVE MUNICIPALITY, COUNTY, OR SPECIAL DISTRICT. ALL ASSESSMENTS ARE SUBJECT TO PERIODIC CHANGE.

5.  YOUR FAILURE TO PAY SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS OR ASSESSMENTS LEVIED BY A MANDATORY HOMEOWNERS' ASSOCIATION COULD RESULT IN A LIEN ON YOUR PROPERTY.

6.  THERE MAY BE AN OBLIGATION TO PAY RENT OR LAND USE FEES FOR RECREATIONAL OR OTHER COMMONLY USED FACILITIES AS AN OBLIGATION OF MEMBERSHIP IN THE HOMEOWNERS' ASSOCIATION. IF APPLICABLE, THE CURRENT AMOUNT IS $_____ PER _____.

7.  THE DEVELOPER MAY HAVE THE RIGHT TO AMEND THE RESTRICTIVE COVENANTS WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE ASSOCIATION MEMBERSHIP OR THE APPROVAL OF THE PARCEL OWNERS.

8.  THE STATEMENTS CONTAINED IN THIS DISCLOSURE FORM ARE ONLY SUMMARY IN NATURE, AND, AS A PROSPECTIVE PURCHASER, YOU SHOULD REFER TO THE COVENANTS AND THE ASSOCIATION GOVERNING DOCUMENTS BEFORE PURCHASING PROPERTY.

9.  THESE DOCUMENTS ARE EITHER MATTERS OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE OBTAINED FROM THE RECORD OFFICE IN THE COUNTY WHERE THE PROPERTY IS LOCATED, OR ARE NOT RECORDED AND CAN BE OBTAINED FROM THE DEVELOPER.

DATE:

PURCHASER:

PURCHASER:




The disclosure must be supplied by the developer, or by the parcel owner if the sale is by an owner that is not the developer. Any contract or agreement for sale shall refer to and incorporate the disclosure summary and shall include, in prominent language, a statement that the potential buyer should not execute the contract or agreement until they have received and read the disclosure summary required by this section.

(b)  Each contract entered into for the sale of property governed by covenants subject to disclosure required by this section must contain in conspicuous type a clause that states:

IF THE DISCLOSURE SUMMARY REQUIRED BY SECTION 720.401, FLORIDA STATUTES, HAS NOT BEEN PROVIDED TO THE PROSPECTIVE PURCHASER BEFORE EXECUTING THIS CONTRACT FOR SALE, THIS CONTRACT IS VOIDABLE BY BUYER BY DELIVERING TO SELLER OR SELLER'S AGENT OR REPRESENTATIVE WRITTEN NOTICE OF THE BUYER'S INTENTION TO CANCEL WITHIN 3 DAYS AFTER RECEIPT OF THE DISCLOSURE SUMMARY OR PRIOR TO CLOSING, WHICHEVER OCCURS FIRST. ANY PURPORTED WAIVER OF THIS VOIDABILITY RIGHT HAS NO EFFECT. BUYER'S RIGHT TO VOID THIS CONTRACT SHALL TERMINATE AT CLOSING.

(c)  If the disclosure summary is not provided to a prospective purchaser before the purchaser executes a contract for the sale of property governed by covenants that are subject to disclosure pursuant to this section, the purchaser may void the contract by delivering to the seller or the seller's agent or representative written notice canceling the contract within 3 days after receipt of the disclosure summary or prior to closing, whichever occurs first. This right may not be waived by the purchaser but terminates at closing.

(2)  This section does not apply to any association regulated under chapter 718, chapter 719, chapter 721, or chapter 723 or to a subdivider registered under chapter 498; and also does not apply if disclosure regarding the association is otherwise made in connection with the requirements of chapter 718, chapter 719, chapter 721, or chapter 723.

History.--s. 40, ch. 92-49; s. 63, ch. 95-274; s. 4, ch. 98-261; s. 1, ch. 2003-48; s. 25, ch. 2004-345; s. 21, ch. 2004-353.

Note.--Former s. 689.26.

720.402  Publication of false and misleading information.--

(1)  Any person who, in reasonable reliance upon any material statement or information that is false or misleading and published by or under authority from the developer in advertising and promotional materials, including, but not limited to, a contract of purchase, the declaration of covenants, exhibits to a declaration of covenants, brochures, and newspaper advertising, pays anything of value toward the purchase of a parcel in a community located in this state has a cause of action to rescind the contract or collect damages from the developer for his or her loss before the closing of the transaction. After the closing of the transaction, the purchaser has a cause of action against the developer for damages under this section from the time of closing until 1 year after the date upon which the last of the events described in paragraphs (a) through (d) occurs:

(a)  The closing of the transaction;

(b)  The issuance by the applicable governmental authority of a certificate of occupancy or other evidence of sufficient completion of construction of the purchaser's residence to allow lawful occupancy of the residence by the purchaser. In counties or municipalities in which certificates of occupancy or other evidences of completion sufficient to allow lawful occupancy are not customarily issued, for the purpose of this section, evidence of lawful occupancy shall be deemed to be given or issued upon the date that such lawful occupancy of the residence may be allowed under prevailing applicable laws, ordinances, or statutes;

(c)  The completion by the developer of the common areas and such recreational facilities, whether or not the same are common areas, which the developer is obligated to complete or provide under the terms of the written contract, governing documents, or written agreement for purchase or lease of the parcel; or

(d)  In the event there is not a written contract or agreement for sale or lease of the parcel, then the completion by the developer of the common areas and such recreational facilities, whether or not they are common areas, which the developer would be obligated to complete under any rule of law applicable to the developer's obligation.

Under no circumstances may a cause of action created or recognized under this section survive for a period of more than 5 years after the closing of the transaction.

(2)  In any action for relief under this section, the prevailing party may recover reasonable attorney's fees. A developer may not expend association funds in the defense of any suit under this section.

History.--s. 28, ch. 2004-345; s. 24, ch. 2004-353; s. 136, ch. 2005-2.

PART III

COVENANT REVITALIZATION

720.403  Preservation of residential communities; revival of declaration of covenants.

720.404  Eligible residential communities; requirements for revival of declaration.

720.405  Organizing committee; parcel owner approval.

720.406  Department of Community Affairs; submission; review and determination.

720.407  Recording; notice of recording; applicability and effective date.

720.403  Preservation of residential communities; revival of declaration of covenants.--

(1)  Consistent with required and optional elements of local comprehensive plans and other applicable provisions of the Local Government Comprehensive Planning and Land Development Regulation Act, homeowners are encouraged to preserve existing residential communities, promote available and affordable housing, protect structural and aesthetic elements of their residential community, and, as applicable, maintain roads and streets, easements, water and sewer systems, utilities, drainage improvements, conservation and open areas, recreational amenities, and other infrastructure and common areas that serve and support the residential community by the revival of a previous declaration of covenants and other governing documents that may have ceased to govern some or all parcels in the community.

(2)  In order to preserve a residential community and the associated infrastructure and common areas for the purposes described in this section, the parcel owners in a community that was previously subject to a declaration of covenants that has ceased to govern one or more parcels in the community may revive the declaration and the homeowners' association for the community upon approval by the parcel owners to be governed thereby as provided in this act, and upon approval of the declaration and the other governing documents for the association by the Department of Community Affairs in a manner consistent with this act.

History.--s. 11, ch. 2004-345; s. 7, ch. 2004-353.

720.404  Eligible residential communities; requirements for revival of declaration.--Parcel owners in a community are eligible to seek approval from the Department of Community Affairs to revive a declaration of covenants under this act if all of the following requirements are met:

(1)  All parcels to be governed by the revived declaration must have been once governed by a previous declaration that has ceased to govern some or all of the parcels in the community;

(2)  The revived declaration must be approved in the manner provided in s. 720.405(6); and

(3)  The revived declaration may not contain covenants that are more restrictive on the parcel owners than the covenants contained in the previous declaration, except that the declaration may:

(a)  Have an effective term of longer duration than the term of the previous declaration;

(b)  Omit restrictions contained in the previous declaration;

(c)  Govern fewer than all of the parcels governed by the previous declaration;

(d)  Provide for amendments to the declaration and other governing documents; and

(e)  Contain provisions required by this chapter for new declarations that were not contained in the previous declaration.

History.--s. 12, ch. 2004-345; s. 8, ch. 2004-353.

720.405  Organizing committee; parcel owner approval.--

(1)  The proposal to revive a declaration of covenants and a homeowners' association for a community under the terms of this act shall be initiated by an organizing committee consisting of not less than three parcel owners located in the community that is proposed to be governed by the revived declaration. The name, address, and telephone number of each member of the organizing committee must be included in any notice or other document provided by the committee to parcel owners to be affected by the proposed revived declaration.

(2)  The organizing committee shall prepare or cause to be prepared the complete text of the proposed revised declaration of covenants to be submitted to the parcel owners for approval. The proposed revived documents must identify each parcel that is to be subject to the governing documents by its legal description, and by the name of the parcel owner or the person in whose name the parcel is assessed on the last completed tax assessment roll of the county at the time when the proposed revived declaration is submitted for approval by the parcel owners.

(3)  The organizing committee shall prepare the full text of the proposed articles of incorporation and bylaws of the revived homeowners' association to be submitted to the parcel owners for approval, unless the association is then an existing corporation, in which case the organizing committee shall prepare the existing articles of incorporation and bylaws to be submitted to the parcel owners.

(4)  The proposed revived declaration and other governing documents for the community shall:

(a)  Provide that the voting interest of each parcel owner shall be the same as the voting interest of the parcel owner under the previous governing documents;

(b)  Provide that the proportional-assessment obligations of each parcel owner shall be the same as proportional-assessment obligations of the parcel owner under the previous governing documents;

(c)  Contain the same respective amendment provisions as the previous governing documents or, if there were no amendment provisions in the previous governing document, amendment provisions that require approval of not less than two-thirds of the affected parcel owners;

(d)  Contain no covenants that are more restrictive on the affected parcel owners than the covenants contained in the previous governing documents, except as permitted under s. 720.404(3); and

(e)  Comply with the other requirements for a declaration of covenants and other governing documents as specified in this chapter.

(5)  A copy of the complete text of the proposed revised declaration of covenants, the proposed new or existing articles of incorporation and bylaws of the homeowners' association, and a graphic depiction of the property to be governed by the revived declaration shall be presented to all of the affected parcel owners by mail or hand delivery not less than 14 days before the time that the consent of the affected parcel owners to the proposed governing documents is sought by the organizing committee.

(6)  A majority of the affected parcel owners must agree in writing to the revived declaration of covenants and governing documents of the homeowners' association or approve the revived declaration and governing documents by a vote at a meeting of the affected parcel owners noticed and conducted in the manner prescribed by s. 720.306. Proof of notice of the meeting to all affected owners of the meeting and the minutes of the meeting recording the votes of the property owners shall be certified by a court reporter or an attorney licensed to practice in the state.

History.--s. 13, ch. 2004-345; s. 9, ch. 2004-353; s. 137, ch. 2005-2.

720.406  Department of Community Affairs; submission; review and determination.--

(1)  No later than 60 days after the date the proposed revived declaration and other governing documents are approved by the affected parcel owners, the organizing committee or its designee must submit the proposed revived governing documents and supporting materials to the Department of Community Affairs to review and determine whether to approve or disapprove of the proposal to preserve the residential community. The submission to the department must include:

(a)  The full text of the proposed revived declaration of covenants and articles of incorporation and bylaws of the homeowners' association;

(b)  A verified copy of the previous declaration of covenants and other previous governing documents for the community, including any amendments thereto;

(c)  The legal description of each parcel to be subject to the revived declaration and other governing documents and a plat or other graphic depiction of the affected properties in the community;

(d)  A verified copy of the written consents of the requisite number of the affected parcel owners approving the revived declaration and other governing documents or, if approval was obtained by a vote at a meeting of affected parcel owners, verified copies of the notice of the meeting, attendance, and voting results;

(e)  An affidavit by a current or former officer of the association or by a member of the organizing committee verifying that the requirements for the revived declaration set forth in s. 720.404 have been satisfied; and

(f)  Such other documentation that the organizing committee believes is supportive of the policy of preserving the residential community and operating, managing, and maintaining the infrastructure, aesthetic character, and common areas serving the residential community.

(2)  No later than 60 days after receiving the submission, the department must determine whether the proposed revived declaration of covenants and other governing documents comply with the requirements of this act.

(a)  If the department determines that the proposed revived declaration and other governing documents comply with the act and have been approved by the parcel owners as required by this act, the department shall notify the organizing committee in writing of its approval.

(b)  If the department determines that the proposed revived declaration and other governing documents do not comply with this act or have not been approved as required by this act, the department shall notify the organizing committee in writing that it does not approve the governing documents and shall state the reasons for the disapproval.

History.--s. 14, ch. 2004-345; s. 10, ch. 2004-353.

720.407  Recording; notice of recording; applicability and effective date.--

(1)  No later than 30 days after receiving approval from the department, the organizing committee shall file the articles of incorporation of the association with the Division of Corporations of the Department of State if the articles have not been previously filed with the division.

(2)  No later than 30 days after receiving approval from the division, the president and secretary of the association shall execute the revived declaration and other governing documents approved by the department in the name of the association and have the documents recorded with the clerk of the circuit court in the county where the affected parcels are located.

(3)  The recorded documents shall include the full text of the approved declaration of covenants, the articles of incorporation and bylaws of the homeowners' association, the letter of approval by the department, and the legal description of each affected parcel of property. For purposes of chapter 712, the association is deemed to be and shall be indexed as the grantee in a title transaction and the parcel owners named in the revived declaration are deemed to be and shall be indexed as the grantors in the title transaction.

(4)  Immediately after recording the documents, a complete copy of all of the approved recorded documents must be mailed or hand delivered to the owner of each affected parcel. The revived declaration and other governing documents shall be effective upon recordation in the public records with respect to each affected parcel subject thereto, regardless of whether the particular parcel owner approved the revived declaration. Upon recordation, the revived declaration shall replace and supersede the previous declaration with respect to all affected parcels then governed by the previous declaration and shall have the same record priority as the superseded previous declaration. With respect to any affected parcels that had ceased to be governed by the previous declaration as of the recording date, the revived declaration may not have retroactive effect with respect to the parcel and shall take priority with respect to the parcel as of the recording date.

(5)  With respect to any parcel that has ceased to be governed by a previous declaration of covenants as of the effective date of this act, the parcel owner may commence an action within 1 year after the effective date of this act for a judicial determination that the previous declaration did not govern that parcel as of the effective date of this act and that any revival of such declaration as to that parcel would unconstitutionally deprive the parcel owner of rights or property. A revived declaration that is implemented pursuant to this act shall not apply to or affect the rights of the respective parcel owner recognized by any court order or judgment in any such action commenced within 1 year after the effective date of this act, and any such rights so recognized may not be subsequently altered by a revived declaration implemented under this act without the consent of the affected property owner