A discussion of routine & complex issues which confront all types of shared ownership communities.

Condo and HOA Law Blog By Donna DiMaggio Berger, Esq.

Condo and HOA Law Blog By Donna DiMaggio Berger, Esq.
This blog covers every topic under the sun related to condominiums, cooperatives, HOAs, timeshares and mobile home communities from the unique perspective of attorney Donna DiMaggio Berger.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

You Be the Judge on Late Fees, Board Member Certification and More!

Although this year's community association bills, HB 319 and SB 680, were not debated this week there was much work done behind the scenes in preparation for the bill’s first hearing.

There have been numerous discussions among the representative of various groups, but I’d like to do an informal policy survey of those who work day in and out in the community association industry.

What are your thoughts on the following proposed changes?

Late fees -

Should the amounts collected from delinquent accounts be limited to only “administrative late fees, interest, costs and reasonable attorney’s fees” or should management companies be allowed to collect a reasonable fee up to $150 per account for the work they do on delinquent accounts. Yeline Goin of the Community Association Leadership Lobby (or CALL) and the Becker & Poliakoff attorneys prepared language that could be added to HB 319/SB 680 that would provide as follows: "If provided in the management agreement between the association and a community association manager or community association management firm, the community association manager or community association management firm may retain, or be paid, all or a portion of the administrative late fees charged to a delinquent account. No fees other than administrative late fees, interest, costs and reasonable attorney's fees are chargeable to the owner's account in connection with the collection of delinquent assessments. For purposes of Section 718.116, costs are defined as taxable costs as determined by the Florida Supreme Court."

Is your association currently sharing these late fees with your manager or management company or do they look elsewhere to be compensated for the extra time they spend each month dealing with owners who aren't paying?

Education for board members –

Legislators have been asked to remove language requiring HOA and Co-op board members to be certified for Board service from the bill by CALL. Additionally, they are advocating that the current certification requirements for condominium board members be eliminated.

Do you share their concerns that asking directors to certify that they will "faithfully discharge" their duties creates potential liability for them? Do you think the fewer board members would attend classes and attempt to become educated if the certification process was no longer required? Do you support or oppose requiring all types of community association directors from having to either certify that they've read their governing documents or attend a Division-approved educational course?

Elevators –

Some are arguing that the provision allowing associations to retrofit their elevators when the next major change is needed (as opposed to automatically upgrading in 2015) should be removed from the bill. What are your thoughts? If you currently know how much it will cost your association to upgrade your elevator in line with the Phase II Firefighter retrofits, please let us know so we can provide that information to our bill sponsors.

HOA Elections –

Last year CAN’s language changing the HOA election procedures to mirror condominium elections was resoundingly rejected by some industry stakeholders. At that point, it was not politically feasible to move it forward. Now some of those folks agree that moving forward with this change would be acceptable. Would you support such a change in election procedure for HOA's?

A lot can change as these bills wind through the Committee process so stay tuned. Please do reach out with your comments and input since what ultimately passes has the potential to impact you on a daily basis.

This work by Donna DiMaggio Berger, Esq. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Generic License.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I sent the following in 2009 re: BOD Certification:
From: h...m.... [mailto:................net]
Sent: Wednesday, September 23, 2009 12:39 PM
To: Robaina, Julio; Ambler, Kevin
Cc: Mark@markrbenson.com
Subject: Your HB 115


My Name is HM.


Congratulations to you Rep. Kevin Amber and Rep Julio Robina for trying to make changes in the Statues and laws that have been affecting negatively community associations of this State.


I hold two professional licenses in Florida: Community Association Manager and R.E. Broker.


Re: Your HB 115


I am taking the opportunity to give you my observations that perhaps need to be addressed before placing HB 115 for a vote.


Item # 1: Perhaps a misprint, as I have received it, but, line item number 815 is MISSING! (7xx Project for Community Association Manager Section of Florida Law 468 Part VIII Tuesday, September 22, 2009 11:17 AM)


Item # 2: I believe, that it should be made obligatory and mandatory, for training be obtained before anyone can become a member of any board of directors and this should should be part of this re-writing of the Statues and Laws of Florida.


One of the biggest problems that face community associations in general, in spite of what so call surveys have found, is that most community association lack educated and informed members of the Board of Directors for most of these associations.


Most association members that get involved in running and management of communities have not idea what their legal, moral, obligations, responsibilities, and duties that are legally placed upon them as board of directors members. The truth is, that most of these board members, never have obtained the education and experience that is required to run any business or corporation. In fact, many, if not most, board members, do not even know how to balance and keep track of their personal finances.


Florida Statues places a great deal of responsibilities and duties to the licensed property managers. But it does not require nor obligates members of association board of directors, that control possibly millions of dollars yearly, to get educated! Board members should be obligated to obtain professional schooling making them better understand their legal obligations, responsibilities and duties. Perhaps this might be one of the reasons why there has been so many problems in the area mismanagement of association funds in the past.


Yes I read what has been written re line item # 1104:


“(j) The division shall provide training and educational programs for condominium association board members and unit owners. The training may, in the division's discretion, include web-based electronic media, and live training and seminars in various locations throughout the state. The division shall have the authority to review and approve education and training programs for board members and unit owners offered by providers and shall maintain a current list of approved programs and providers and shall make such list available to board members and unit owners in a reasonable and cost-effective manner.”


Sorry, but the above does not go far enough, it should made mandatory!

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