Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is poised to enact a transformative piece of legislation that will grant homeowners in the state an enhanced level of rights and oversight over their Homeowners’ Associations (HOAs). The bill, referred to as the “Homeowners’ Associations Bill of Rights,” successfully made its way through the Florida Legislature earlier this year and is now awaiting Governor DeSantis’ signature, which is expected to occur in the near future.
This groundbreaking law encompasses a range of provisions meticulously designed to shield homeowners from potential abuses and ensuing HOA disputes. A paramount requirement of the law is the stipulation that HOAs must maintain separate financial records, distinct from other association funds, and furnish members with a comprehensive accounting of these records upon request. By enforcing this provision, the law aims to ensure transparency in the financial dealings of HOAs and promote a clear understanding of how homeowners’ fees and funds are being managed.
Moreover, the “Homeowners’ Associations Bill of Rights” serves as a safeguard against conflicts of interest within HOAs. It mandates that officers and directors of HOAs disclose any activities that could be perceived as constituting a conflict of interest at least 14 days prior to voting on an issue or entering into a contract where such conflicts may arise. This provision aims to prevent situations in which the personal interests of HOA board members may unduly influence decision-making processes, ultimately protecting the interests of homeowners.
To fortify the integrity of HOA elections, the law criminalizes fraudulent voting activities. It explicitly states that engaging in deceptive practices during elections, such as false swearing, tampering with ballots, or attempting to unduly influence or intimidate members during voting, will be treated as a crime. By instituting these measures, the law intends to ensure that HOA elections are conducted fairly and honestly, providing homeowners with confidence in the democratic processes governing their communities.
In addition to specific provisions addressing financial transparency, conflicts of interest, and fraudulent voting activities, the “Homeowners’ Associations Bill of Rights” embraces a broader scope by establishing general principles that HOAs must adhere to. These principles include the requirement for HOAs to act fairly and reasonably when making decisions, provide homeowners with advance notice of meetings and decisions, and grant homeowners the right to appeal HOA decisions. By enshrining these principles into law, the legislation endeavors to establish a more equitable and just framework within which HOAs operate, prioritizing the rights and well-being of homeowners.
The enactment of the “Homeowners’ Associations Bill of Rights” signifies a momentous victory for homeowners throughout Florida. This legislation represents a significant stride towards fostering greater transparency, accountability, and homeowner empowerment within HOAs. By bolstering the legal protections and rights afforded to homeowners, the law ensures that their voices are heard, their interests are safeguarded, and their communities thrive.
To summarize, the key provisions of the new law are as follows:
- Financial transparency: HOAs are mandated to maintain separate financial records and provide members with a comprehensive accounting of these records upon request.
- Conflicts of interest: Officers and directors of HOAs must disclose potential conflicts of interest well in advance of voting or entering into contracts that may be subject to conflicts.
- Fraudulent voting activities: The law criminalizes fraudulent voting practices, including false swearing, tampering with ballots, and attempts to unduly influence or intimidate members during voting.
- General principles: HOAs are required to act fairly and reasonably, provide homeowners with notice of meetings and decisions, and offer homeowners the right to appeal HOA decisions.
The passage of the “Homeowners’ Associations Bill of Rights” signifies a momentous step forward in protecting the rights of homeowners in Florida. The law brings about increased transparency, accountability, and homeowner empowerment within HOAs, ensuring that homeowners possess the necessary rights and protections to preserve their interests and foster thriving communities.
The team of HOA dispute attorneys of Perez Mayoral, P.A. has extensive experience in property management disputes and can help you navigate legal issues that may arise. Contact us today for a free case review.