All Florida homeowners’ association laws and regulations are described in detail within Chapter 720 of Florida Statutes. This document goes over all aspects of HOA law from how to register an HOA, to board meetings, to financial statements, and dispute resolution. There are even example forms for acceptable lien notices and delinquent assessments.
HOAs must be registered with the state as a corporation and must file all governing documents in the official records of the county in which the community is located. While they must file with the county government, homeowners’ associations in Florida are not governed by a government agency. Community associations must operate within the guidelines of Chapter 720 and if they are out of compliance, it is up to the community members to litigate against the HOA. There are no regular government checks or audits.
Homeowners Association’s Rights and Responsibilities
The HOA is responsible for drafting and enforcing its covenants and restrictions. These are the rules that members must follow. In Florida, if a homeowners’ association is set up, membership is mandatory. There is no way to back out of an HOA agreement. When looking at property, it is a good idea to look over all community covenants and restrictions before purchase. All association information must be readily available to all community members and potential members.
The board of directors can place liens on property in the event of account delinquency. In extreme cases, the community association can even foreclose on the property despite on-time mortgage payments.
If an unexpected expense arises that the homeowners’ association cannot afford on the regular budget, they may legally enforce a special assessment to raise funds. Special assessments are additional fees that homeowners must pay to compensate for large expenses such as a new roof on the clubhouse.
It is the responsibility of the HOA to prepare and maintain community and financial records. According to Chapter 720, the homeowners’ association must keep on file:
All Meeting minutes for at least 7 years.
Insurance policy information for at least 7 years.
Financial Records for at least 7 years.
Any bids received for work performed for at least 1 year.
Current community member account information for at least 1 year.
Financial statements must be prepared and filed annually. The type of preparation depends on the size of the HOA.
Under $150,000 annually must file a report of cash receipts and expenditures.
$150,000 – $300,000 must file compiled financial statements.
$300,000 – $500,000 must file reviewed financial statements.
$500,000+ must file audited financial statements.
Compiled financial statements must be created by an accounting firm. When an accounting firm goes back and takes a deeper look at the finances and verifies they are accurate, that constitutes a reviewed financial statement. Audited financial statements are verified by a third-party auditor.
At any time, homeowners, and even potential homeowners have the right to view community documents such as the covenants and restrictions, community bylaws, and even association financial information. A written notice must be given to the board in advance to view the information.
Any homeowner in good standing with the association is allowed to be present during board meetings, even if they are not on the board of directors. In addition to attending meetings, homeowners may speak on certain issues, however, community laws may regulate the amount of on-board speakers and impose time limits.
If a board member is not properly fulfilling their obligation to the community, the homeowners may recall them at any time for any reason with a majority vote.
The Florida Statute is so detailed that it even grants homeowners the right to fly the American, State, and/or Military flag on their property despite any community association rules so long that it is of an appropriate size.
Chapter 720 of the Florida Statute
To ensure that your community association is being run following all state and local laws, it helps to have a professional on your side. CSM has a team of experienced professionals that have worked with communities in almost every state in the US. Specializing in HOA financial management, we can help your board of directors manage association finances, write and submit documents, and prepare for audits. If you have any questions regarding state HOA laws and regulations, give us a call at (865) 315-7505, contact us online or email us at email@example.com.