Florida Senate - 2020                             CS for SB 1752
       By the Committee on Innovation, Industry, and Technology; and
       Senator Pizzo
       580-03744-20                                          20201752c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to condominium associations; amending
    3         s. 194.011, F.S.; providing that certain associations
    4         may continue to represent, prosecute, or defend unit
    5         owners in certain proceedings; providing
    6         applicability; amending s. 194.181, F.S.; revising the
    7         parties considered to be the defendant in a tax suit;
    8         requiring condominium and cooperative associations to
    9         provide unit owners with certain notice and
   10         information under certain circumstances; providing
   11         requirements for such notice; specifying that a unit
   12         owner who does not respond to the notice will be
   13         represented in the response or answer filed by the
   14         association; amending s. 718.111, F.S.; revising
   15         criminal penalties relating to the acceptance of
   16         things or services of value or kickbacks; authorizing
   17         a condominium association to take certain actions
   18         relating to ad valorem taxes assessed on units for
   19         commonly used facilities or common elements; providing
   20         applicability; revising the documents required to be
   21         included with accounting records; requiring an
   22         association to maintain official records in a
   23         specified manner; revising requirements for the
   24         creation of a rebuttable presumption relating to the
   25         provision of records; authorizing an association to
   26         direct certain persons to the association’s website to
   27         fulfill certain obligations relating to the inspection
   28         of records; requiring an association to provide a
   29         checklist and a sworn affidavit to persons requesting
   30         to inspect records; requiring the association to
   31         maintain the checklist for a specified period of time;
   32         creating a rebuttable presumption for an association
   33         that provides such checklist and sworn affidavit;
   34         providing criminal penalties for certain violations
   35         relating to official association records; defining the
   36         term “repeatedly”; requiring certain associations to
   37         post copies of certain documents on their websites by
   38         a specified date; revising criminal penalties relating
   39         to the use of association debit cards; defining the
   40         term “lawful obligation of the association”; creating
   41         s. 718.129, F.S.; providing criminal penalties for
   42         fraudulent voting activities related to association
   43         elections; amending s. 718.501, F.S.; revising the
   44         jurisdiction of the Division of Florida Condominiums,
   45         Timeshares, and Mobile Homes of the Department of
   46         Business and Professional Regulation with regard to
   47         investigating complaints; defining the term “financial
   48         issues”; providing an effective date.
   50  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   52         Section 1. Paragraph (e) of subsection (3) of section
   53  194.011, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
   54         194.011 Assessment notice; objections to assessments.—
   55         (3) A petition to the value adjustment board must be in
   56  substantially the form prescribed by the department.
   57  Notwithstanding s. 195.022, a county officer may not refuse to
   58  accept a form provided by the department for this purpose if the
   59  taxpayer chooses to use it. A petition to the value adjustment
   60  board must be signed by the taxpayer or be accompanied at the
   61  time of filing by the taxpayer’s written authorization or power
   62  of attorney, unless the person filing the petition is listed in
   63  s. 194.034(1)(a). A person listed in s. 194.034(1)(a) may file a
   64  petition with a value adjustment board without the taxpayer’s
   65  signature or written authorization by certifying under penalty
   66  of perjury that he or she has authorization to file the petition
   67  on behalf of the taxpayer. If a taxpayer notifies the value
   68  adjustment board that a petition has been filed for the
   69  taxpayer’s property without his or her consent, the value
   70  adjustment board may require the person filing the petition to
   71  provide written authorization from the taxpayer authorizing the
   72  person to proceed with the appeal before a hearing is held. If
   73  the value adjustment board finds that a person listed in s.
   74  194.034(1)(a) willfully and knowingly filed a petition that was
   75  not authorized by the taxpayer, the value adjustment board shall
   76  require such person to provide the taxpayer’s written
   77  authorization for representation to the value adjustment board
   78  clerk before any petition filed by that person is heard, for 1
   79  year after imposition of such requirement by the value
   80  adjustment board. A power of attorney or written authorization
   81  is valid for 1 assessment year, and a new power of attorney or
   82  written authorization by the taxpayer is required for each
   83  subsequent assessment year. A petition shall also describe the
   84  property by parcel number and shall be filed as follows:
   85         (e)1. A condominium association as described in chapter
   86  718, a cooperative association as described in chapter 719, or a
   87  any homeowners’ association as defined in s. 723.075, with
   88  approval of its board of administration or directors, may file
   89  with the value adjustment board a single joint petition on
   90  behalf of any association members who own units or parcels of
   91  property which the property appraiser determines are
   92  substantially similar with respect to location, proximity to
   93  amenities, number of rooms, living area, and condition. The
   94  condominium association, cooperative association, or homeowners’
   95  association as defined in s. 723.075 shall provide the unit or
   96  parcel owners with notice of its intent to petition the value
   97  adjustment board and shall provide at least 20 days for a unit
   98  or parcel owner to elect, in writing, that his or her unit or
   99  parcel not be included in the petition.
  100         2.A condominium association as described in chapter 718,
  101  or a cooperative association as described in chapter 719, which
  102  has filed a single joint petition under this subsection may
  103  continue to represent, prosecute, or defend the unit owners
  104  through any related subsequent proceeding in any tribunal,
  105  including judicial review under part II of this chapter and any
  106  appeals. This subparagraph is intended to clarify existing law
  107  and applies to cases pending on July 1, 2020.
  108         Section 2. Subsection (2) of section 194.181, Florida
  109  Statutes, is amended to read:
  110         194.181 Parties to a tax suit.—
  111         (2)(a) In any case brought by a the taxpayer or a
  112  condominium or cooperative association, as described in chapters
  113  718 and 719, respectively, on behalf of some or all unit owners
  114  to contest contesting the assessment of any property, the county
  115  property appraiser is the shall be party defendant.
  116         (b)Except as provided in paragraph (c), in any case
  117  brought by the property appraiser under pursuant to s.
  118  194.036(1)(a) or (b), the taxpayer is the shall be party
  119  defendant.
  120         (c)In any case brought by the property appraiser under s.
  121  194.036(1)(a) or (b) concerning a value adjustment board
  122  decision on a single joint petition filed by a condominium or
  123  cooperative association under s. 194.011(3), the association and
  124  all unit owners included in the single joint petition are the
  125  party defendants.
  126         1.The condominium or cooperative association must provide
  127  unit owners with notice of its intent to respond to or answer
  128  the property appraiser’s complaint and advise the unit owners
  129  that they may elect to:
  130         a.Retain their own counsel to defend the appeal;
  131         b.Choose not to defend the appeal; or
  132         c.Be represented together with other unit owners in the
  133  response or answer filed by the association.
  134         2.The notice required in subparagraph 1. must be mailed,
  135  delivered, or electronically transmitted to unit owners and
  136  posted conspicuously on the condominium or cooperative property
  137  in the same manner as is required for notice of board meetings
  138  under s. 718.112(2) or s. 719.106(1), as applicable. Any unit
  139  owner who does not respond to the association’s notice will be
  140  represented in the response or answer filed by the association.
  141         (d) In any case brought by the property appraiser under
  142  pursuant to s. 194.036(1)(c), the value adjustment board is the
  143  shall be party defendant.
  144         Section 3. Paragraphs (a) and (d) of subsection (1),
  145  subsection (3), paragraphs (a), (b), (c), and (g) of subsection
  146  (12), and paragraph (b) of subsection (15) of section 718.111,
  147  Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
  148         718.111 The association.—
  149         (1) CORPORATE ENTITY.—
  150         (a) The operation of the condominium shall be by the
  151  association, which must be a Florida corporation for profit or a
  152  Florida corporation not for profit. However, any association
  153  which was in existence on January 1, 1977, need not be
  154  incorporated. The owners of units shall be shareholders or
  155  members of the association. The officers and directors of the
  156  association have a fiduciary relationship to the unit owners. It
  157  is the intent of the Legislature that nothing in this paragraph
  158  shall be construed as providing for or removing a requirement of
  159  a fiduciary relationship between any manager employed by the
  160  association and the unit owners. An officer, director, or
  161  manager may not solicit, offer to accept, or accept any thing or
  162  service of value or kickback for which consideration has not
  163  been provided for his or her own benefit or that of his or her
  164  immediate family, from any person providing or proposing to
  165  provide goods or services to the association. Any such officer,
  166  director, or manager who knowingly so solicits, offers to
  167  accept, or accepts any thing or service of value or kickback
  168  commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in
  169  s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, and is subject to a civil
  170  penalty pursuant to s. 718.501(1)(d) and, if applicable, a
  171  criminal penalty as provided in paragraph (d). However, this
  172  paragraph does not prohibit an officer, director, or manager
  173  from accepting services or items received in connection with
  174  trade fairs or education programs. An association may operate
  175  more than one condominium.
  176         (d) As required by s. 617.0830, an officer, director, or
  177  agent shall discharge his or her duties in good faith, with the
  178  care an ordinarily prudent person in a like position would
  179  exercise under similar circumstances, and in a manner he or she
  180  reasonably believes to be in the interests of the association.
  181  An officer, director, or agent shall be liable for monetary
  182  damages as provided in s. 617.0834 if such officer, director, or
  183  agent breached or failed to perform his or her duties and the
  184  breach of, or failure to perform, his or her duties constitutes
  185  a violation of criminal law as provided in s. 617.0834;
  186  constitutes a transaction from which the officer or director
  187  derived an improper personal benefit, either directly or
  188  indirectly; or constitutes recklessness or an act or omission
  189  that was in bad faith, with malicious purpose, or in a manner
  190  exhibiting wanton and willful disregard of human rights, safety,
  191  or property. Forgery of a ballot envelope or voting certificate
  192  used in a condominium association election is punishable as
  193  provided in s. 831.01, the theft or embezzlement of funds of a
  194  condominium association is punishable as provided in s. 812.014,
  195  and the destruction of or the refusal to allow inspection or
  196  copying of an official record of a condominium association that
  197  is accessible to unit owners within the time periods required by
  198  general law in furtherance of any crime is punishable as
  199  tampering with physical evidence as provided in s. 918.13 or as
  200  obstruction of justice as provided in chapter 843. An officer or
  201  director charged by information or indictment with a crime
  202  referenced in this paragraph must be removed from office, and
  203  the vacancy shall be filled as provided in s. 718.112(2)(d)2.
  204  until the end of the officer’s or director’s period of
  205  suspension or the end of his or her term of office, whichever
  206  occurs first. If a criminal charge is pending against the
  207  officer or director, he or she may not be appointed or elected
  208  to a position as an officer or a director of any association and
  209  may not have access to the official records of any association,
  210  except pursuant to a court order. However, if the charges are
  211  resolved without a finding of guilt, the officer or director
  212  must be reinstated for the remainder of his or her term of
  213  office, if any.
  216         (a) The association may contract, sue, or be sued with
  217  respect to the exercise or nonexercise of its powers. For these
  218  purposes, the powers of the association include, but are not
  219  limited to, the maintenance, management, and operation of the
  220  condominium property.
  221         (b) After control of the association is obtained by unit
  222  owners other than the developer, the association may:
  223         1. Institute, maintain, settle, or appeal actions or
  224  hearings in its name on behalf of all unit owners concerning
  225  matters of common interest to most or all unit owners,
  226  including, but not limited to, the common elements; the roof and
  227  structural components of a building or other improvements;
  228  mechanical, electrical, and plumbing elements serving an
  229  improvement or a building; representations of the developer
  230  pertaining to any existing or proposed commonly used facilities;
  231         2.Protest and protesting ad valorem taxes on commonly used
  232  facilities and on units; and may
  233         3. Defend actions pertaining to ad valorem taxation of
  234  commonly used facilities or units or pertaining to in eminent
  235  domain; or
  236         4. Bring inverse condemnation actions.
  237         (c) If the association has the authority to maintain a
  238  class action, the association may be joined in an action as
  239  representative of that class with reference to litigation and
  240  disputes involving the matters for which the association could
  241  bring a class action.
  242         (d)The association, in its own name or on behalf of some
  243  or all unit owners, may institute, file, protest, maintain, or
  244  defend any administrative challenge, lawsuit, appeal, or other
  245  challenge to ad valorem taxes assessed on units for commonly
  246  used facilities or common elements. The affected association
  247  members are not necessary or indispensable parties to such
  248  actions. This paragraph is intended to clarify existing law and
  249  applies to cases pending on July 1, 2020.
  250         (e) Nothing herein limits any statutory or common-law right
  251  of any individual unit owner or class of unit owners to bring
  252  any action without participation by the association which may
  253  otherwise be available.
  254         (f) An association may not hire an attorney who represents
  255  the management company of the association.
  256         (12) OFFICIAL RECORDS.—
  257         (a) From the inception of the association, the association
  258  shall maintain each of the following items, if applicable, which
  259  constitutes the official records of the association:
  260         1. A copy of the plans, permits, warranties, and other
  261  items provided by the developer pursuant to s. 718.301(4).
  262         2. A photocopy of the recorded declaration of condominium
  263  of each condominium operated by the association and each
  264  amendment to each declaration.
  265         3. A photocopy of the recorded bylaws of the association
  266  and each amendment to the bylaws.
  267         4. A certified copy of the articles of incorporation of the
  268  association, or other documents creating the association, and
  269  each amendment thereto.
  270         5. A copy of the current rules of the association.
  271         6. A book or books that contain the minutes of all meetings
  272  of the association, the board of administration, and the unit
  273  owners.
  274         7. A current roster of all unit owners and their mailing
  275  addresses, unit identifications, voting certifications, and, if
  276  known, telephone numbers. The association shall also maintain
  277  the e-mail addresses and facsimile numbers of unit owners
  278  consenting to receive notice by electronic transmission. The e
  279  mail addresses and facsimile numbers are not accessible to unit
  280  owners if consent to receive notice by electronic transmission
  281  is not provided in accordance with sub-subparagraph (c)5.e.
  282  (c)3.e. However, the association is not liable for an
  283  inadvertent disclosure of the e-mail address or facsimile number
  284  for receiving electronic transmission of notices.
  285         8. All current insurance policies of the association and
  286  condominiums operated by the association.
  287         9. A current copy of any management agreement, lease, or
  288  other contract to which the association is a party or under
  289  which the association or the unit owners have an obligation or
  290  responsibility.
  291         10. Bills of sale or transfer for all property owned by the
  292  association.
  293         11. Accounting records for the association and separate
  294  accounting records for each condominium that the association
  295  operates. Any person who knowingly or intentionally defaces or
  296  destroys such records, or who knowingly or intentionally fails
  297  to create or maintain such records, with the intent of causing
  298  harm to the association or one or more of its members, is
  299  personally subject to a civil penalty pursuant to s.
  300  718.501(1)(d). The accounting records must include, but are not
  301  limited to:
  302         a. Accurate, itemized, and detailed records of all receipts
  303  and expenditures.
  304         b. A current account and a monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly
  305  statement of the account for each unit designating the name of
  306  the unit owner, the due date and amount of each assessment, the
  307  amount paid on the account, and the balance due.
  308         c. All audits, reviews, accounting statements, and
  309  financial reports of the association or condominium.
  310         d. All contracts for work to be performed. Bids for work to
  311  be performed are also considered official records and must be
  312  maintained by the association.
  313         e.All bank statements, canceled checks, and credit card
  314  statements.
  315         f.All invoices, transaction receipts, deposit slips, or
  316  other underlying documentation that substantiates any receipt or
  317  expenditure of funds by the association.
  318         12. Ballots, sign-in sheets, voting proxies, and all other
  319  papers and electronic records relating to voting by unit owners,
  320  which must be maintained for 1 year from the date of the
  321  election, vote, or meeting to which the document relates,
  322  notwithstanding paragraph (b).
  323         13. All rental records if the association is acting as
  324  agent for the rental of condominium units.
  325         14. A copy of the current question and answer sheet as
  326  described in s. 718.504.
  327         15. All other written records of the association not
  328  specifically included in the foregoing which are related to the
  329  operation of the association.
  330         16. A copy of the inspection report as described in s.
  331  718.301(4)(p).
  332         17. Bids for materials, equipment, or services.
  333         (b) The official records specified in subparagraphs (a)1.
  334  6. must be permanently maintained from the inception of the
  335  association. All other official records must be maintained
  336  within the state for at least 7 years, unless otherwise provided
  337  by general law. All official records must be maintained in a
  338  manner and format prescribed by division rule so that the
  339  records are easily accessible for inspection. The records of the
  340  association shall be made available to a unit owner within 45
  341  miles of the condominium property or within the county in which
  342  the condominium property is located within 10 working days after
  343  receipt of a written request by the board or its designee.
  344  However, such distance requirement does not apply to an
  345  association governing a timeshare condominium. This paragraph
  346  may be complied with by having a copy of the official records of
  347  the association available for inspection or copying on the
  348  condominium property or association property, or the association
  349  may offer the option of making the records available to a unit
  350  owner electronically via the Internet or by allowing the records
  351  to be viewed in electronic format on a computer screen and
  352  printed upon request. The association is not responsible for the
  353  use or misuse of the information provided to an association
  354  member or his or her authorized representative pursuant to the
  355  compliance requirements of this chapter unless the association
  356  has an affirmative duty not to disclose such information
  357  pursuant to this chapter.
  358         (c)1.a. The official records of the association are open to
  359  inspection by any association member or the authorized
  360  representative of such member at all reasonable times. The right
  361  to inspect the records includes the right to make or obtain
  362  copies, at the reasonable expense, if any, of the member or
  363  authorized representative of such member. A renter of a unit has
  364  a right to inspect and copy the association’s bylaws and rules.
  365  The association may adopt reasonable rules regarding the
  366  frequency, time, location, notice, and manner of record
  367  inspections and copying. The failure of an association to
  368  provide the records within 10 working days after receipt of a
  369  written request that complies with the association’s document
  370  inspection rule creates a rebuttable presumption that the
  371  association willfully failed to comply with this paragraph. A
  372  unit owner who is denied access to official records is entitled
  373  to the actual damages or minimum damages for the association’s
  374  willful failure to comply. Minimum damages are $50 per calendar
  375  day for up to 10 days, beginning on the 11th working day after
  376  receipt of the written request that complies with the
  377  association’s document inspection rule. The failure to permit
  378  inspection entitles any person prevailing in an enforcement
  379  action to recover reasonable attorney fees from the person in
  380  control of the records who, directly or indirectly, knowingly
  381  denied access to the records. If the requested records are
  382  posted on an association’s website, the association may fulfill
  383  its obligations as provided under this paragraph by directing to
  384  the website all persons authorized to request access to official
  385  records pursuant to this paragraph.
  386         b.In response to a statutorily compliant written request
  387  to inspect records, the association must simultaneously provide
  388  a checklist to the requestor of all records made available for
  389  inspection and copying and a sworn affidavit in which the person
  390  facilitating or handling the association’s compliance with the
  391  request attests to the veracity of the checklist provided to the
  392  requestor. The checklist must also identify any of the
  393  association’s official records that were not made available to
  394  the requestor. An association must maintain a checklist provided
  395  under this sub-subparagraph for 7 years. An association
  396  delivering a checklist and affidavit pursuant to this sub
  397  subparagraph creates a rebuttable presumption that the
  398  association has complied with this paragraph.
  399         2. Any director or member of the board or association or a
  400  community association manager who knowingly, willfully, and
  401  repeatedly violates subparagraph 1. commits a misdemeanor of the
  402  second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s.
  403  775.083. For purposes of this subparagraph, the term
  404  “repeatedly” means two or more violations within a 12-month
  405  period.
  406         3.2. Any person who knowingly or intentionally defaces or
  407  destroys accounting records that are required by this chapter to
  408  be maintained during the period for which such records are
  409  required to be maintained, or who knowingly or intentionally
  410  fails to create or maintain accounting records that are required
  411  to be created or maintained, with the intent of causing harm to
  412  the association or one or more of its members, commits a
  413  misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s.
  414  775.082 or s. 775.083 is personally subject to a civil penalty
  415  pursuant to s. 718.501(1)(d).
  416         4. Any person who willfully and knowingly refuses to
  417  release or otherwise produce association records with the intent
  418  to avoid or escape detection, arrest, trial, or punishment for
  419  the commission of a crime, or to assist another person with such
  420  avoidance or escape, commits a felony of the third degree,
  421  punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
  422         5.3. The association shall maintain an adequate number of
  423  copies of the declaration, articles of incorporation, bylaws,
  424  and rules, and all amendments to each of the foregoing, as well
  425  as the question and answer sheet as described in s. 718.504 and
  426  year-end financial information required under this section, on
  427  the condominium property to ensure their availability to unit
  428  owners and prospective purchasers, and may charge its actual
  429  costs for preparing and furnishing these documents to those
  430  requesting the documents. An association shall allow a member or
  431  his or her authorized representative to use a portable device,
  432  including a smartphone, tablet, portable scanner, or any other
  433  technology capable of scanning or taking photographs, to make an
  434  electronic copy of the official records in lieu of the
  435  association’s providing the member or his or her authorized
  436  representative with a copy of such records. The association may
  437  not charge a member or his or her authorized representative for
  438  the use of a portable device. Notwithstanding this paragraph,
  439  the following records are not accessible to unit owners:
  440         a. Any record protected by the lawyer-client privilege as
  441  described in s. 90.502 and any record protected by the work
  442  product privilege, including a record prepared by an association
  443  attorney or prepared at the attorney’s express direction, which
  444  reflects a mental impression, conclusion, litigation strategy,
  445  or legal theory of the attorney or the association, and which
  446  was prepared exclusively for civil or criminal litigation or for
  447  adversarial administrative proceedings, or which was prepared in
  448  anticipation of such litigation or proceedings until the
  449  conclusion of the litigation or proceedings.
  450         b. Information obtained by an association in connection
  451  with the approval of the lease, sale, or other transfer of a
  452  unit.
  453         c. Personnel records of association or management company
  454  employees, including, but not limited to, disciplinary, payroll,
  455  health, and insurance records. For purposes of this sub
  456  subparagraph, the term “personnel records” does not include
  457  written employment agreements with an association employee or
  458  management company, or budgetary or financial records that
  459  indicate the compensation paid to an association employee.
  460         d. Medical records of unit owners.
  461         e. Social security numbers, driver license numbers, credit
  462  card numbers, e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, facsimile
  463  numbers, emergency contact information, addresses of a unit
  464  owner other than as provided to fulfill the association’s notice
  465  requirements, and other personal identifying information of any
  466  person, excluding the person’s name, unit designation, mailing
  467  address, property address, and any address, e-mail address, or
  468  facsimile number provided to the association to fulfill the
  469  association’s notice requirements. Notwithstanding the
  470  restrictions in this sub-subparagraph, an association may print
  471  and distribute to parcel owners a directory containing the name,
  472  parcel address, and all telephone numbers of each parcel owner.
  473  However, an owner may exclude his or her telephone numbers from
  474  the directory by so requesting in writing to the association. An
  475  owner may consent in writing to the disclosure of other contact
  476  information described in this sub-subparagraph. The association
  477  is not liable for the inadvertent disclosure of information that
  478  is protected under this sub-subparagraph if the information is
  479  included in an official record of the association and is
  480  voluntarily provided by an owner and not requested by the
  481  association.
  482         f. Electronic security measures that are used by the
  483  association to safeguard data, including passwords.
  484         g. The software and operating system used by the
  485  association which allow the manipulation of data, even if the
  486  owner owns a copy of the same software used by the association.
  487  The data is part of the official records of the association.
  488         (g)1. By January 1, 2022 2019, an association managing a
  489  condominium with 25 150 or more units which does not contain
  490  timeshare units shall post digital copies of the documents
  491  specified in subparagraph 2. on its website.
  492         a. The association’s website must be:
  493         (I) An independent website or web portal wholly owned and
  494  operated by the association; or
  495         (II) A website or web portal operated by a third-party
  496  provider with whom the association owns, leases, rents, or
  497  otherwise obtains the right to operate a web page, subpage, web
  498  portal, or collection of subpages or web portals dedicated to
  499  the association’s activities and on which required notices,
  500  records, and documents may be posted by the association.
  501         b. The association’s website must be accessible through the
  502  Internet and must contain a subpage, web portal, or other
  503  protected electronic location that is inaccessible to the
  504  general public and accessible only to unit owners and employees
  505  of the association.
  506         c. Upon a unit owner’s written request, the association
  507  must provide the unit owner with a username and password and
  508  access to the protected sections of the association’s website
  509  that contain any notices, records, or documents that must be
  510  electronically provided.
  511         2. A current copy of the following documents must be posted
  512  in digital format on the association’s website:
  513         a. The recorded declaration of condominium of each
  514  condominium operated by the association and each amendment to
  515  each declaration.
  516         b. The recorded bylaws of the association and each
  517  amendment to the bylaws.
  518         c. The articles of incorporation of the association, or
  519  other documents creating the association, and each amendment
  520  thereto. The copy posted pursuant to this sub-subparagraph must
  521  be a copy of the articles of incorporation filed with the
  522  Department of State.
  523         d. The rules of the association.
  524         e. A list of all executory contracts or documents to which
  525  the association is a party or under which the association or the
  526  unit owners have an obligation or responsibility and, after
  527  bidding for the related materials, equipment, or services has
  528  closed, a list of bids received by the association within the
  529  past year. Summaries of bids for materials, equipment, or
  530  services which exceed $500 must be maintained on the website for
  531  1 year. In lieu of summaries, complete copies of the bids may be
  532  posted.
  533         f. The annual budget required by s. 718.112(2)(f) and any
  534  proposed budget to be considered at the annual meeting.
  535         g. The financial report required by subsection (13) and any
  536  monthly income or expense statement to be considered at a
  537  meeting.
  538         h. The certification of each director required by s.
  539  718.112(2)(d)4.b.
  540         i. All contracts or transactions between the association
  541  and any director, officer, corporation, firm, or association
  542  that is not an affiliated condominium association or any other
  543  entity in which an association director is also a director or
  544  officer and financially interested.
  545         j. Any contract or document regarding a conflict of
  546  interest or possible conflict of interest as provided in ss.
  547  468.436(2)(b)6. and 718.3027(3).
  548         k. The notice of any unit owner meeting and the agenda for
  549  the meeting, as required by s. 718.112(2)(d)3., no later than 14
  550  days before the meeting. The notice must be posted in plain view
  551  on the front page of the website, or on a separate subpage of
  552  the website labeled “Notices” which is conspicuously visible and
  553  linked from the front page. The association must also post on
  554  its website any document to be considered and voted on by the
  555  owners during the meeting or any document listed on the agenda
  556  at least 7 days before the meeting at which the document or the
  557  information within the document will be considered.
  558         l. Notice of any board meeting, the agenda, and any other
  559  document required for the meeting as required by s.
  560  718.112(2)(c), which must be posted no later than the date
  561  required for notice pursuant to s. 718.112(2)(c).
  562         3. The association shall ensure that the information and
  563  records described in paragraph (c), which are not allowed to be
  564  accessible to unit owners, are not posted on the association’s
  565  website. If protected information or information restricted from
  566  being accessible to unit owners is included in documents that
  567  are required to be posted on the association’s website, the
  568  association shall ensure the information is redacted before
  569  posting the documents online. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the
  570  association or its agent is not liable for disclosing
  571  information that is protected or restricted pursuant to this
  572  paragraph unless such disclosure was made with a knowing or
  573  intentional disregard of the protected or restricted nature of
  574  such information.
  575         4. The failure of the association to post information
  576  required under subparagraph 2. is not in and of itself
  577  sufficient to invalidate any action or decision of the
  578  association’s board or its committees.
  579         5.By January 1, 2022, an association managing 25 or more
  580  units, not including timeshare units, shall post on its website
  581  digital copies of all official records subject to inspection by
  582  tenants or unit owners or their authorized representatives.
  583         (15) DEBIT CARDS.—
  584         (b) A person who uses Use of a debit card issued in the
  585  name of the association, or billed directly to the association,
  586  for any expense that is not a lawful obligation of the
  587  association commits theft under s. 812.014. For the purposes of
  588  this paragraph, a “lawful obligation of the association” means
  589  an obligation that has been properly preapproved by the board
  590  and is reflected in the meeting minutes or the written budget
  591  may be prosecuted as credit card fraud pursuant to s. 817.61.
  592         Section 4. Section 718.129, Florida Statutes, is created to
  593  read:
  594         718.129 Fraudulent voting activities related to association
  595  elections; penalties.—
  596         (1) Each of the following acts is a fraudulent voting
  597  activity related to association elections and constitutes a
  598  felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s.
  599  775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084:
  600         (a) Willfully and falsely swearing or affirming any oath or
  601  affirmation, or willfully procuring another person to swear or
  602  affirm falsely to an oath or affirmation, in connection with or
  603  arising out of voting or elections.
  604         (b) Perpetrating or attempting to perpetrate, or aiding in
  605  the perpetration of, any fraud in connection with any vote cast,
  606  to be cast, or attempted to be cast.
  607         (c) Preventing an elector from voting, or preventing an
  608  elector from voting as the elector intended, by fraudulently
  609  changing or attempting to change a ballot, ballot envelope,
  610  vote, or voting certificate of the elector.
  611         (d) Using bribery, menace, threat, or any other corruption
  612  to attempt, directly or indirectly, to influence, deceive, or
  613  deter any elector in voting.
  614         (e) Directly or indirectly giving or promising anything of
  615  value to another person with the intent to buy the vote of that
  616  person or another person or to corruptly influence that person
  617  or another person in casting his or her vote. However, this
  618  paragraph does not apply to the serving of food to be consumed
  619  at an election rally or meeting or to any item of nominal value
  620  which is used as an election advertisement, including a campaign
  621  message designed to be worn by a person.
  622         (f) Directly or indirectly using or threatening to use
  623  force, violence, or intimidation or any tactic of coercion or
  624  intimidation to induce or compel an individual to vote or
  625  refrain from voting in an election or on any particular ballot
  626  measure.
  627         (2) Each of the following acts constitutes a felony of the
  628  third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083,
  629  or s. 775.084:
  630         (a) Knowingly aiding, abetting, or advising a person in the
  631  commission of a fraudulent voting activity related to
  632  association elections.
  633         (b) Agreeing, conspiring, combining, or confederating with
  634  at least one other person to commit a fraudulent voting activity
  635  related to association elections.
  636         (c) Having knowledge of a fraudulent voting activity
  637  related to association elections and giving any aid to the
  638  offender with intent that the offender avoid or escape
  639  detection, arrest, trial, or punishment. This paragraph does not
  640  apply to a licensed attorney giving legal advice to a client.
  641         Section 5. Subsection (1) of section 718.501, Florida
  642  Statutes, is amended to read:
  643         718.501 Authority, responsibility, and duties of Division
  644  of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes.—
  645         (1) The division may enforce and ensure compliance with the
  646  provisions of this chapter and rules relating to the
  647  development, construction, sale, lease, ownership, operation,
  648  and management of residential condominium units. In performing
  649  its duties, the division has complete jurisdiction to
  650  investigate complaints and enforce compliance with respect to
  651  associations that are still under developer control or the
  652  control of a bulk assignee or bulk buyer pursuant to part VII of
  653  this chapter and complaints against developers, bulk assignees,
  654  or bulk buyers involving improper turnover or failure to
  655  turnover, pursuant to s. 718.301. However, after turnover has
  656  occurred, the division has jurisdiction to investigate
  657  complaints related only to financial issues, elections,
  658  maintenance of official records, and unit owner access to
  659  association records pursuant to s. 718.111(12). As used in this
  660  subsection, the term “financial issue” means an issue related to
  661  operating budgets; reserve schedules; financial records under s.
  662  718.111(12)(a)11.; notices of meetings and meeting minutes for
  663  budget or financial statement related meetings; any assessment
  664  for common expenses, fees, or fines; commingling of funds; and
  665  any other record necessary to determine the revenues and
  666  expenses of the association. The division may adopt rules to
  667  further define the term “financial issue.”
  668         (a)1. The division may make necessary public or private
  669  investigations within or outside this state to determine whether
  670  any person has violated this chapter or any rule or order
  671  hereunder, to aid in the enforcement of this chapter, or to aid
  672  in the adoption of rules or forms.
  673         2. The division may submit any official written report,
  674  worksheet, or other related paper, or a duly certified copy
  675  thereof, compiled, prepared, drafted, or otherwise made by and
  676  duly authenticated by a financial examiner or analyst to be
  677  admitted as competent evidence in any hearing in which the
  678  financial examiner or analyst is available for cross-examination
  679  and attests under oath that such documents were prepared as a
  680  result of an examination or inspection conducted pursuant to
  681  this chapter.
  682         (b) The division may require or permit any person to file a
  683  statement in writing, under oath or otherwise, as the division
  684  determines, as to the facts and circumstances concerning a
  685  matter to be investigated.
  686         (c) For the purpose of any investigation under this
  687  chapter, the division director or any officer or employee
  688  designated by the division director may administer oaths or
  689  affirmations, subpoena witnesses and compel their attendance,
  690  take evidence, and require the production of any matter which is
  691  relevant to the investigation, including the existence,
  692  description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any
  693  books, documents, or other tangible things and the identity and
  694  location of persons having knowledge of relevant facts or any
  695  other matter reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of
  696  material evidence. Upon the failure by a person to obey a
  697  subpoena or to answer questions propounded by the investigating
  698  officer and upon reasonable notice to all affected persons, the
  699  division may apply to the circuit court for an order compelling
  700  compliance.
  701         (d) Notwithstanding any remedies available to unit owners
  702  and associations, if the division has reasonable cause to
  703  believe that a violation of any provision of this chapter or
  704  related rule has occurred, the division may institute
  705  enforcement proceedings in its own name against any developer,
  706  bulk assignee, bulk buyer, association, officer, or member of
  707  the board of administration, or its assignees or agents, as
  708  follows:
  709         1. The division may permit a person whose conduct or
  710  actions may be under investigation to waive formal proceedings
  711  and enter into a consent proceeding whereby orders, rules, or
  712  letters of censure or warning, whether formal or informal, may
  713  be entered against the person.
  714         2. The division may issue an order requiring the developer,
  715  bulk assignee, bulk buyer, association, developer-designated
  716  officer, or developer-designated member of the board of
  717  administration, developer-designated assignees or agents, bulk
  718  assignee-designated assignees or agents, bulk buyer-designated
  719  assignees or agents, community association manager, or community
  720  association management firm to cease and desist from the
  721  unlawful practice and take such affirmative action as in the
  722  judgment of the division carry out the purposes of this chapter.
  723  If the division finds that a developer, bulk assignee, bulk
  724  buyer, association, officer, or member of the board of
  725  administration, or its assignees or agents, is violating or is
  726  about to violate any provision of this chapter, any rule adopted
  727  or order issued by the division, or any written agreement
  728  entered into with the division, and presents an immediate danger
  729  to the public requiring an immediate final order, it may issue
  730  an emergency cease and desist order reciting with particularity
  731  the facts underlying such findings. The emergency cease and
  732  desist order is effective for 90 days. If the division begins
  733  nonemergency cease and desist proceedings, the emergency cease
  734  and desist order remains effective until the conclusion of the
  735  proceedings under ss. 120.569 and 120.57.
  736         3. If a developer, bulk assignee, or bulk buyer, fails to
  737  pay any restitution determined by the division to be owed, plus
  738  any accrued interest at the highest rate permitted by law,
  739  within 30 days after expiration of any appellate time period of
  740  a final order requiring payment of restitution or the conclusion
  741  of any appeal thereof, whichever is later, the division must
  742  bring an action in circuit or county court on behalf of any
  743  association, class of unit owners, lessees, or purchasers for
  744  restitution, declaratory relief, injunctive relief, or any other
  745  available remedy. The division may also temporarily revoke its
  746  acceptance of the filing for the developer to which the
  747  restitution relates until payment of restitution is made.
  748         4. The division may petition the court for appointment of a
  749  receiver or conservator. If appointed, the receiver or
  750  conservator may take action to implement the court order to
  751  ensure the performance of the order and to remedy any breach
  752  thereof. In addition to all other means provided by law for the
  753  enforcement of an injunction or temporary restraining order, the
  754  circuit court may impound or sequester the property of a party
  755  defendant, including books, papers, documents, and related
  756  records, and allow the examination and use of the property by
  757  the division and a court-appointed receiver or conservator.
  758         5. The division may apply to the circuit court for an order
  759  of restitution whereby the defendant in an action brought
  760  pursuant to subparagraph 4. is ordered to make restitution of
  761  those sums shown by the division to have been obtained by the
  762  defendant in violation of this chapter. At the option of the
  763  court, such restitution is payable to the conservator or
  764  receiver appointed pursuant to subparagraph 4. or directly to
  765  the persons whose funds or assets were obtained in violation of
  766  this chapter.
  767         6. The division may impose a civil penalty against a
  768  developer, bulk assignee, or bulk buyer, or association, or its
  769  assignee or agent, for any violation of this chapter or related
  770  rule. The division may impose a civil penalty individually
  771  against an officer or board member who willfully and knowingly
  772  violates a provision of this chapter, adopted rule, or a final
  773  order of the division; may order the removal of such individual
  774  as an officer or from the board of administration or as an
  775  officer of the association; and may prohibit such individual
  776  from serving as an officer or on the board of a community
  777  association for a period of time. The term “willfully and
  778  knowingly” means that the division informed the officer or board
  779  member that his or her action or intended action violates this
  780  chapter, a rule adopted under this chapter, or a final order of
  781  the division and that the officer or board member refused to
  782  comply with the requirements of this chapter, a rule adopted
  783  under this chapter, or a final order of the division. The
  784  division, before initiating formal agency action under chapter
  785  120, must afford the officer or board member an opportunity to
  786  voluntarily comply, and an officer or board member who complies
  787  within 10 days is not subject to a civil penalty. A penalty may
  788  be imposed on the basis of each day of continuing violation, but
  789  the penalty for any offense may not exceed $5,000. By January 1,
  790  1998, the division shall adopt, by rule, penalty guidelines
  791  applicable to possible violations or to categories of violations
  792  of this chapter or rules adopted by the division. The guidelines
  793  must specify a meaningful range of civil penalties for each such
  794  violation of the statute and rules and must be based upon the
  795  harm caused by the violation, the repetition of the violation,
  796  and upon such other factors deemed relevant by the division. For
  797  example, the division may consider whether the violations were
  798  committed by a developer, bulk assignee, or bulk buyer, or
  799  owner-controlled association, the size of the association, and
  800  other factors. The guidelines must designate the possible
  801  mitigating or aggravating circumstances that justify a departure
  802  from the range of penalties provided by the rules. It is the
  803  legislative intent that minor violations be distinguished from
  804  those which endanger the health, safety, or welfare of the
  805  condominium residents or other persons and that such guidelines
  806  provide reasonable and meaningful notice to the public of likely
  807  penalties that may be imposed for proscribed conduct. This
  808  subsection does not limit the ability of the division to
  809  informally dispose of administrative actions or complaints by
  810  stipulation, agreed settlement, or consent order. All amounts
  811  collected shall be deposited with the Chief Financial Officer to
  812  the credit of the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares,
  813  and Mobile Homes Trust Fund. If a developer, bulk assignee, or
  814  bulk buyer fails to pay the civil penalty and the amount deemed
  815  to be owed to the association, the division shall issue an order
  816  directing that such developer, bulk assignee, or bulk buyer
  817  cease and desist from further operation until such time as the
  818  civil penalty is paid or may pursue enforcement of the penalty
  819  in a court of competent jurisdiction. If an association fails to
  820  pay the civil penalty, the division shall pursue enforcement in
  821  a court of competent jurisdiction, and the order imposing the
  822  civil penalty or the cease and desist order is not effective
  823  until 20 days after the date of such order. Any action commenced
  824  by the division shall be brought in the county in which the
  825  division has its executive offices or in the county where the
  826  violation occurred.
  827         7. If a unit owner presents the division with proof that
  828  the unit owner has requested access to official records in
  829  writing by certified mail, and that after 10 days the unit owner
  830  again made the same request for access to official records in
  831  writing by certified mail, and that more than 10 days has
  832  elapsed since the second request and the association has still
  833  failed or refused to provide access to official records as
  834  required by this chapter, the division shall issue a subpoena
  835  requiring production of the requested records where the records
  836  are kept pursuant to s. 718.112.
  837         8. In addition to subparagraph 6., the division may seek
  838  the imposition of a civil penalty through the circuit court for
  839  any violation for which the division may issue a notice to show
  840  cause under paragraph (r). The civil penalty shall be at least
  841  $500 but no more than $5,000 for each violation. The court may
  842  also award to the prevailing party court costs and reasonable
  843  attorney attorney’s fees and, if the division prevails, may also
  844  award reasonable costs of investigation.
  845         (e) The division may prepare and disseminate a prospectus
  846  and other information to assist prospective owners, purchasers,
  847  lessees, and developers of residential condominiums in assessing
  848  the rights, privileges, and duties pertaining thereto.
  849         (f) The division may adopt rules to administer and enforce
  850  the provisions of this chapter.
  851         (g) The division shall establish procedures for providing
  852  notice to an association and the developer, bulk assignee, or
  853  bulk buyer during the period in which the developer, bulk
  854  assignee, or bulk buyer controls the association if the division
  855  is considering the issuance of a declaratory statement with
  856  respect to the declaration of condominium or any related
  857  document governing such condominium community.
  858         (h) The division shall furnish each association that pays
  859  the fees required by paragraph (2)(a) a copy of this chapter, as
  860  amended, and the rules adopted thereto on an annual basis.
  861         (i) The division shall annually provide each association
  862  with a summary of declaratory statements and formal legal
  863  opinions relating to the operations of condominiums which were
  864  rendered by the division during the previous year.
  865         (j) The division shall provide training and educational
  866  programs for condominium association board members and unit
  867  owners. The training may, in the division’s discretion, include
  868  web-based electronic media, and live training and seminars in
  869  various locations throughout the state. The division may review
  870  and approve education and training programs for board members
  871  and unit owners offered by providers and shall maintain a
  872  current list of approved programs and providers and make such
  873  list available to board members and unit owners in a reasonable
  874  and cost-effective manner.
  875         (k) The division shall maintain a toll-free telephone
  876  number accessible to condominium unit owners.
  877         (l) The division shall develop a program to certify both
  878  volunteer and paid mediators to provide mediation of condominium
  879  disputes. The division shall provide, upon request, a list of
  880  such mediators to any association, unit owner, or other
  881  participant in arbitration proceedings under s. 718.1255
  882  requesting a copy of the list. The division shall include on the
  883  list of volunteer mediators only the names of persons who have
  884  received at least 20 hours of training in mediation techniques
  885  or who have mediated at least 20 disputes. In order to become
  886  initially certified by the division, paid mediators must be
  887  certified by the Supreme Court to mediate court cases in county
  888  or circuit courts. However, the division may adopt, by rule,
  889  additional factors for the certification of paid mediators,
  890  which must be related to experience, education, or background.
  891  Any person initially certified as a paid mediator by the
  892  division must, in order to continue to be certified, comply with
  893  the factors or requirements adopted by rule.
  894         (m) If a complaint is made, the division must conduct its
  895  inquiry with due regard for the interests of the affected
  896  parties. Within 30 days after receipt of a complaint, the
  897  division shall acknowledge the complaint in writing and notify
  898  the complainant whether the complaint is within the jurisdiction
  899  of the division and whether additional information is needed by
  900  the division from the complainant. The division shall conduct
  901  its investigation and, within 90 days after receipt of the
  902  original complaint or of timely requested additional
  903  information, take action upon the complaint. However, the
  904  failure to complete the investigation within 90 days does not
  905  prevent the division from continuing the investigation,
  906  accepting or considering evidence obtained or received after 90
  907  days, or taking administrative action if reasonable cause exists
  908  to believe that a violation of this chapter or a rule has
  909  occurred. If an investigation is not completed within the time
  910  limits established in this paragraph, the division shall, on a
  911  monthly basis, notify the complainant in writing of the status
  912  of the investigation. When reporting its action to the
  913  complainant, the division shall inform the complainant of any
  914  right to a hearing pursuant to ss. 120.569 and 120.57.
  915         (n) Condominium association directors, officers, and
  916  employees; condominium developers; bulk assignees, bulk buyers,
  917  and community association managers; and community association
  918  management firms have an ongoing duty to reasonably cooperate
  919  with the division in any investigation pursuant to this section.
  920  The division shall refer to local law enforcement authorities
  921  any person whom the division believes has altered, destroyed,
  922  concealed, or removed any record, document, or thing required to
  923  be kept or maintained by this chapter with the purpose to impair
  924  its verity or availability in the department’s investigation.
  925         (o) The division may:
  926         1. Contract with agencies in this state or other
  927  jurisdictions to perform investigative functions; or
  928         2. Accept grants-in-aid from any source.
  929         (p) The division shall cooperate with similar agencies in
  930  other jurisdictions to establish uniform filing procedures and
  931  forms, public offering statements, advertising standards, and
  932  rules and common administrative practices.
  933         (q) The division shall consider notice to a developer, bulk
  934  assignee, or bulk buyer to be complete when it is delivered to
  935  the address of the developer, bulk assignee, or bulk buyer
  936  currently on file with the division.
  937         (r) In addition to its enforcement authority, the division
  938  may issue a notice to show cause, which must provide for a
  939  hearing, upon written request, in accordance with chapter 120.
  940         (s) The division shall submit to the Governor, the
  941  President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of
  942  Representatives, and the chairs of the legislative
  943  appropriations committees an annual report that includes, but
  944  need not be limited to, the number of training programs provided
  945  for condominium association board members and unit owners, the
  946  number of complaints received by type, the number and percent of
  947  complaints acknowledged in writing within 30 days and the number
  948  and percent of investigations acted upon within 90 days in
  949  accordance with paragraph (m), and the number of investigations
  950  exceeding the 90-day requirement. The annual report must also
  951  include an evaluation of the division’s core business processes
  952  and make recommendations for improvements, including statutory
  953  changes. The report shall be submitted by September 30 following
  954  the end of the fiscal year.
  955         Section 6. This act shall take effect October 1, 2020.