Florida has many laws that apply to homeowners associations and condominiums. As such, it is imperative to familiarize yourself with these Florida HOA laws to avoid potential liability.
How to Establish an HOA in Florida
To create a homeowners association in Florida, a community must be incorporated and record its initial governing documents in the official records of the county where the association is located. Similar to other states, homeowners associations in Florida are organized as non-profit corporations. Therefore, they follow the Florida Not for Profit Corporation Act when it comes to corporate governance.
For Homeowners Associations
The Florida Homeowners Association Act oversees the creation, management, authority, and operation of non-for-profit organizations that run homeowners associations. You can find it under the Florida Statutes Title XL Chapter 720. This Act consists of three parts, each one divided further into sections.
Part I – General Provisions
Part II – Disclosure prior to sale of residential parcels
Part III – Covenant revitalization
The Florida Condominium Act governs the creation, management, authority, and operation of condominium associations. It works similarly to the Florida Homeowners Associations Act and even contains principles that parallel the ones in the HAA.
Unlike the HAA, though, the Condominium Act does consist of more comprehensive provisions when it comes to certain aspects of association management. This includes budget preparation and adoption.
You can find the Florida Condominium Act under the Florida Statutes Title XL Chapter 718. It consists of seven parts, namely:
- General Provisions – Sections 718.101 through 718.129
- Rights and obligations of developers – Sections 718.202 through 718.203
- Rights and obligations of association – Sections 718.301 through 718.303
- Special types of condominiums – Sections 718.401 through 718.406
- Regulation and disclosure prior to sale of residential condominiums – Sections 718.501 through 718.509
- Conversions to condominium – Sections 718.604 through 718.622
- Distressed condominium relief – Sections 718.701 through 718.71
The Florida Cooperative Act functions as a legal structure concerning cooperative ownership of real estate. In Florida, cooperatives can choose to organize as a not-for-profit or for-profit corporation. The Act does not boast the same level of detail as the HAA, but it does offer guidance on the following:
- Formation of cooperatives
- Limitations on managing a cooperative
- Owners’ rights
You can find the Florida Cooperative Act under Title XL Chapter 719 of the Florida Statutes. It consists of six parts, each one divided further into sections:
Part I – General Provisions
Part II – Rights and Obligations of Developers
Part III – Rights and Obligations of Associations
Part IV – Special Types of Cooperatives
Part V – Regulation and Disclosure Prior to Sale of Residential Cooperatives
Part VI – Conversions to Cooperative
Florida HOA Laws on Corporate Governance
In Florida, homeowners associations must establish themselves as non-profit corporations. And, when it comes to corporate structure and procedure, the Florida Not for Profit Corporation Act provides guidance to HOAs. Condominiums, on the other hand, can be established as non-profit or for-profit corporations.
- Short title.
- Reservation of power to amend or repeal.
- Filing requirements.
- Fees for filing documents and issuing certificates.
- Effective date of document.
- Correcting filed document.
- Filing duties of Department of State.
- Appeal from Department of State’s refusal to file document.
- Evidentiary effect of copy of filed document.
- Certificate of status.
- Powers of Department of State.
- Articles of incorporation; content.
- Liability for preincorporation transactions.
- Organizational meeting of directors.
- Emergency bylaws.
- Purposes and application.
- Corporate powers.
- Emergency powers.
- Ultra vires.
- Corporate name.
- Registered name; application; renewal; revocation.
- Registered office and registered agent.
- Reserved name.
- Change of registered office or registered agent; resignation of registered agent.
- Registered agent; duties; confidentiality of investigation records.
- Service of process, notice, or demand on a corporation.
- Distributions; exceptions.
- Members, generally.
- Liability of members.
- Transfer of membership interests.
- Resignation of members.
- Termination, expulsion, and suspension.
- Purchase of memberships.
- Meetings of members, generally; failure to hold annual meeting; special meeting; consent to corporate actions without meetings; waiver of notice of meetings.
- Voting by members.
- Members’ derivative actions.
- Duties of board of directors.
- Qualifications of directors.
- Number of directors.
- Staggered terms for directors.
- Resignation of directors.
- Removal of directors.
- Board vacancy.
- Compensation of directors.
- Action by directors without a meeting.
- Notice of meetings.
- Waiver of notice.
- Quorum and voting.
- Board committees and advisory committees.
- General standards for directors.
- Indemnification and liability of officers, directors, employees, and agents.
- Director conflicts of interest.
- Loans to directors or officers.
- Officers and directors of certain corporations and associations not for profit; immunity from civil liability.
- Prohibited activities by private foundations.
- Required officers.
- Duties of officers.
- Resignation and removal of officers.
- Contract rights of officers.
- Authority to amend the articles of incorporation.
- Procedure for amending articles of incorporation.
- Contents of articles of amendment.
- Restated articles of incorporation.
- Amendment pursuant to reorganization.
- Effect of amendment.
- Plan of merger.
- Limitation on merger.
- Approval of plan of merger; abandonment of plan thereafter.
- Articles of merger.
- Effect of merger.
- Merger of domestic and foreign corporations.
- Merger of domestic corporation and other eligible entities.
- Secured transactions and other dispositions of corporate property and assets not requiring member approval.
- Sale, lease, exchange, or other disposition of corporate property and assets requiring member approval.
- Prohibited distributions.
- Authorized distributions.
- Voluntary dissolution of corporation prior to conducting its affairs.
- Dissolution of corporation.
- Articles of dissolution.
- Revocation of dissolution.
- Effect of dissolution.
- Plan of distribution of assets.
- Unknown claims against dissolved corporation.
- Known claims against dissolved corporation.
- Grounds for administrative dissolution.
- Procedure for and effect of administrative dissolution.
- Reinstatement following administrative dissolution.
- Appeal from denial of reinstatement.
- Grounds for judicial dissolution.
- Procedure for judicial dissolution.
- Receivership or custodianship.
- Judgment of dissolution.
- Deposit with Department of Financial Services.
- Authority of foreign corporation to conduct affairs required.
- Consequences of conducting affairs without authority.
- Application for certificate of authority.
- Amended certificate of authority.
- Effect of certificate of authority.
- Corporate name of foreign corporation.
- Registered office and registered agent of foreign corporation.
- Change of registered office and registered agent of foreign corporation.
- Resignation of registered agent of foreign corporation.
- Service of process, notice, or demand on a foreign corporation.
- Withdrawal of foreign corporation.
- Grounds for revocation of authority to conduct affairs.
- Procedure for and effect of revocation.
- Appeal from revocation.
- Reinstatement following revocation.
- Corporate records.
- Inspection of records by members.
- Scope of inspection right.
- Court-ordered inspection.
- Financial reports for members.
- Access to records.
- Annual report for Department of State.
- Corporate information available to the public; application to corporations incorporated by circuit courts and by special act of the Legislature.
- Application to existing domestic corporation.
- Application to qualified foreign corporations.
- Application of chapter.
- Application to foreign and interstate commerce.
- Domestication of foreign not-for-profit corporations.
- Corporations for profit; when may become corporations not for profit.
- Conversion to corporation not for profit; petition and contents.
- Conversion to corporation not for profit; authority of circuit judge.
- Application of act to corporation converted to corporation not for profit.
- Limited agricultural association; conversion to a domestic corporation not for profit.
- Effect of repeal or amendment of prior acts.
- Applicability of Florida Business Corporation Act.
- Corporations which may be incorporated hereunder; incorporation of certain medical services corporations.
- Corporation not for profit organized pursuant to s. 2, ch. 87-296; requirements.
- Proceedings to revoke articles of incorporation or charter or prevent its use.
- Extinct churches and religious societies; property.
- Extinct churches and religious societies; dissolution.
- Incorporation of labor unions or bodies.
- Sponge packing and marketing corporations.
- Corporation authorized to act as trustee.
- Fines and penalties against members.
- Florida Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act.
- Corporation issued a deed to real property.
- Membership associations.
Florida HOA Laws on Fair Debt Collection
The Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act directs debt collection practices. It functions similarly to the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, though the state-level act offers more protection for consumers, a.k.a. homeowners. Although homeowners associations are not considered debt collectors under the FDCPA, collection agencies and third-party collectors are.
Florida HOA Laws on Solar Rights
Florida is one of the many states that protect the solar rights of homeowners. According to the Florida Statutes Section 163.04, HOAs may not forbid homeowners from installing renewable energy devices. However, associations can regulate the placement of these devices, and homeowners must still follow their HOA’s architectural changes approval process.
Homeowners associations must comply with the federal Fair Housing Act as well as the state-level Fair Housing laws in Florida. Under Title XLIV Chapter 760 of the Florida Statutes, the Florida Fair Housing Act protects persons from discrimination based on their color, race, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or handicap.