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2015 Florida Statutes

SECTION 104
Cooperatives; access to units; records; financial reports; assessments; purchase of leases.
F.S. 719.104
719.104 Cooperatives; access to units; records; financial reports; assessments; purchase of leases.
(1) RIGHT OF ACCESS TO UNITS.The association has the irrevocable right of access to each unit from time to time during reasonable hours when necessary for the maintenance, repair, or replacement of any structural components of the building or of any mechanical, electrical, or plumbing elements necessary to prevent damage to the building or to another unit.
(2) OFFICIAL RECORDS.
(a) From the inception of the association, the association shall maintain a copy of each of the following, where applicable, which shall constitute the official records of the association:
1. The plans, permits, warranties, and other items provided by the developer pursuant to s. 719.301(4).
2. A photocopy of the cooperative documents.
3. A copy of the current rules of the association.
4. A book or books containing the minutes of all meetings of the association, of the board of directors, and of the unit owners, which minutes shall be retained for a period of not less than 7 years.
5. A current roster of all unit owners and their mailing addresses, unit identifications, voting certifications, and, if known, telephone numbers. The association shall also maintain the electronic mailing addresses and the numbers designated by unit owners for receiving notice sent by electronic transmission of those unit owners consenting to receive notice by electronic transmission. The electronic mailing addresses and numbers provided by unit owners to receive notice by electronic transmission shall be removed from association records when consent to receive notice by electronic transmission is revoked. However, the association is not liable for an erroneous disclosure of the electronic mail address or the number for receiving electronic transmission of notices.
6. All current insurance policies of the association.
7. A current copy of any management agreement, lease, or other contract to which the association is a party or under which the association or the unit owners have an obligation or responsibility.
8. Bills of sale or transfer for all property owned by the association.
9. Accounting records for the association and separate accounting records for each unit it operates, according to good accounting practices. All accounting records shall be maintained for a period of not less than 7 years. The accounting records shall include, but not be limited to:
a. Accurate, itemized, and detailed records of all receipts and expenditures.
b. A current account and a monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly statement of the account for each unit designating the name of the unit owner, the due date and amount of each assessment, the amount paid upon the account, and the balance due.
c. All audits, reviews, accounting statements, and financial reports of the association.
d. All contracts for work to be performed. Bids for work to be performed shall also be considered official records and shall be maintained for a period of 1 year.
10. Ballots, sign-in sheets, voting proxies, and all other papers relating to voting by unit owners, which shall be maintained for a period of 1 year after the date of the election, vote, or meeting to which the document relates.
11. All rental records where the association is acting as agent for the rental of units.
12. A copy of the current question and answer sheet as described in s. 719.504.
13. All other written records of the association not specifically included in the foregoing which are related to the operation of the association.
(b) The official records of the association must be maintained within the state for at least 7 years. The records of the association shall be made available to a unit owner within 45 miles of the cooperative property or within the county in which the cooperative property is located within 5 working days after receipt of written request by the board or its designee. This paragraph may be complied with by having a copy of the official records of the association available for inspection or copying on the cooperative property or the association may offer the option of making the records available to a unit owner electronically via the Internet or by allowing the records to be viewed in an electronic format on a computer screen and printed upon request. The association is not responsible for the use or misuse of the information provided to an association member or his or her authorized representative pursuant to the compliance requirements of this chapter unless the association has an affirmative duty not to disclose such information pursuant to this chapter.
(c) The official records of the association are open to inspection by any association member or the authorized representative of such member at all reasonable times. The right to inspect the records includes the right to make or obtain copies, at the reasonable expense, if any, of the association member. The association may adopt reasonable rules regarding the frequency, time, location, notice, and manner of record inspections and copying. The failure of an association to provide the records within 10 working days after receipt of a written request creates a rebuttable presumption that the association willfully failed to comply with this paragraph. A unit owner who is denied access to official records is entitled to the actual damages or minimum damages for the association’s willful failure to comply. The minimum damages are $50 per calendar day for up to 10 days, beginning on the 11th working day after receipt of the written request. The failure to permit inspection entitles any person prevailing in an enforcement action to recover reasonable attorney fees from the person in control of the records who, directly or indirectly, knowingly denied access to the records. Any person who knowingly or intentionally defaces or destroys accounting records that are required by this chapter to be maintained during the period for which such records are required to be maintained, or who knowingly or intentionally fails to create or maintain accounting records that are required to be created or maintained, with the intent of causing harm to the association or one or more of its members, is personally subject to a civil penalty pursuant to s. 719.501(1)(d). The association shall maintain an adequate number of copies of the declaration, articles of incorporation, bylaws, and rules, and all amendments to each of the foregoing, as well as the question and answer sheet as described in s. 719.504 and year-end financial information required by the department, on the cooperative property to ensure their availability to unit owners and prospective purchasers, and may charge its actual costs for preparing and furnishing these documents to those requesting the same. An association shall allow a member or his or her authorized representative to use a portable device, including a smartphone, tablet, portable scanner, or any other technology capable of scanning or taking photographs, to make an electronic copy of the official records in lieu of the association providing the member or his or her authorized representative with a copy of such records. The association may not charge a member or his or her authorized representative for the use of a portable device. Notwithstanding this paragraph, the following records shall not be accessible to unit owners:
1. Any record protected by the lawyer-client privilege as described in s. 90.502 and any record protected by the work-product privilege, including any record prepared by an association attorney or prepared at the attorney’s express direction which reflects a mental impression, conclusion, litigation strategy, or legal theory of the attorney or the association, and which was prepared exclusively for civil or criminal litigation or for adversarial administrative proceedings, or which was prepared in anticipation of such litigation or proceedings until the conclusion of the litigation or proceedings.
2. Information obtained by an association in connection with the approval of the lease, sale, or other transfer of a unit.
3. Personnel records of association or management company employees, including, but not limited to, disciplinary, payroll, health, and insurance records. For purposes of this subparagraph, the term “personnel records” does not include written employment agreements with an association employee or management company, or budgetary or financial records that indicate the compensation paid to an association employee.
4. Medical records of unit owners.
5. Social security numbers, driver license numbers, credit card numbers, e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, facsimile numbers, emergency contact information, addresses of a unit owner other than as provided to fulfill the association’s notice requirements, and other personal identifying information of any person, excluding the person’s name, unit designation, mailing address, property address, and any address, e-mail address, or facsimile number provided to the association to fulfill the association’s notice requirements. Notwithstanding the restrictions in this subparagraph, an association may print and distribute to parcel owners a directory containing the name, parcel address, and all telephone numbers of each parcel owner. However, an owner may exclude his or her telephone numbers from the directory by so requesting in writing to the association. An owner may consent in writing to the disclosure of other contact information described in this subparagraph. The association is not liable for the inadvertent disclosure of information that is protected under this subparagraph if the information is included in an official record of the association and is voluntarily provided by an owner and not requested by the association.
6. Electronic security measures that are used by the association to safeguard data, including passwords.
7. The software and operating system used by the association which allow the manipulation of data, even if the owner owns a copy of the same software used by the association. The data is part of the official records of the association.
(d) The association or its authorized agent shall not be required to provide a prospective purchaser or lienholder with information about the cooperative or association other than the information or documents required by this chapter to be made available or disclosed. The association or its authorized agent shall be entitled to charge a reasonable fee to the prospective purchaser, lienholder, or the current unit owner for its time in providing good faith responses to requests for information by or on behalf of a prospective purchaser or lienholder, other than that required by law, provided that such fee shall not exceed $150 plus the reasonable cost of photocopying and any attorney’s fees incurred by the association in connection with the association’s response.
(e) An outgoing board or committee member must relinquish all official records and property of the association in his or her possession or under his or her control to the incoming board within 5 days after the election. The division shall impose a civil penalty as set forth in s. 719.501(1)(d) against an outgoing board or committee member who willfully and knowingly fails to relinquish such records and property.
(3) INSURANCE.The association shall use its best efforts to obtain and maintain adequate insurance to protect the association property. The association may also obtain and maintain liability insurance for directors and officers, insurance for the benefit of association employees, and flood insurance. A copy of each policy of insurance in effect shall be made available for inspection by unit owners at reasonable times.
(a) Windstorm insurance coverage for a group of no fewer than three communities created and operating under chapter 718, this chapter, chapter 720, or chapter 721 may be obtained and maintained for the communities if the insurance coverage is sufficient to cover an amount equal to the probable maximum loss for the communities for a 250-year windstorm event. Such probable maximum loss must be determined through the use of a competent model that has been accepted by the Florida Commission on Hurricane Loss Projection Methodology. Such insurance coverage is deemed adequate windstorm insurance for the purposes of this section.
(b) An association or group of associations may self-insure against claims against the association, the association property, and the cooperative property required to be insured by an association, upon compliance with the applicable provisions of ss. 624.460-624.488, which shall be considered adequate insurance for purposes of this section.
(4) FINANCIAL REPORT.
(a) Within 90 days following the end of the fiscal or calendar year or annually on such date as provided in the bylaws of the association, the board of administration shall prepare and complete, or contract with a third party to prepare and complete, a financial report covering the preceding fiscal or calendar year. Within 21 days after the financial report is completed by the association or received from the third party, but no later than 120 days after the end of the fiscal year, calendar year, or other date provided in the bylaws, the association shall provide each member with a copy of the annual financial report or a written notice that a copy of the financial report is available upon request at no charge to the member. The division shall adopt rules setting forth uniform accounting principles, standards, and reporting requirements.
(b) Except as provided in paragraph (c), an association whose total annual revenues meet the criteria of this paragraph shall prepare or cause to be prepared a complete set of financial statements according to the generally accepted accounting principles adopted by the Board of Accountancy. The financial statements shall be as follows:
1. An association with total annual revenues between $150,000 and $299,999 shall prepare a compiled financial statement.
2. An association with total annual revenues between $300,000 and $499,999 shall prepare a reviewed financial statement.
3. An association with total annual revenues of $500,000 or more shall prepare an audited financial statement.
4. The requirement to have the financial statement compiled, reviewed, or audited does not apply to an association if a majority of the voting interests of the association present at a duly called meeting of the association have voted to waive this requirement for the fiscal year. In an association in which turnover of control by the developer has not occurred, the developer may vote to waive the audit requirement for the first 2 years of operation of the association, after which time waiver of an applicable audit requirement shall be by a majority of voting interests other than the developer. The meeting shall be held prior to the end of the fiscal year, and the waiver shall be effective for only one fiscal year. An association may not waive the financial reporting requirements of this section for more than 3 consecutive years.
(c)1. An association with total annual revenues of less than $150,000 shall prepare a report of cash receipts and expenditures.
2. An association in a community of fewer than 50 units, regardless of the association’s annual revenues, shall prepare a report of cash receipts and expenditures in lieu of the financial statements required by paragraph (b), unless the declaration or other recorded governing documents provide otherwise.
3. A report of cash receipts and expenditures must disclose the amount of receipts by accounts and receipt classifications and the amount of expenses by accounts and expense classifications, including the following, as applicable: costs for security, professional, and management fees and expenses; taxes; costs for recreation facilities; expenses for refuse collection and utility services; expenses for lawn care; costs for building maintenance and repair; insurance costs; administration and salary expenses; and reserves, if maintained by the association.
(d) If at least 20 percent of the unit owners petition the board for a greater level of financial reporting than that required by this section, the association shall duly notice and hold a membership meeting within 30 days after receipt of the petition to vote on raising the level of reporting for that fiscal year. Upon approval by a majority of the voting interests represented at a meeting at which a quorum of unit owners is present, the association shall prepare an amended budget or shall adopt a special assessment to pay for the financial report regardless of any provision to the contrary in the declaration or other recorded governing documents. In addition, the association shall provide within 90 days after the meeting or the end of the fiscal year, whichever occurs later:
1. Compiled, reviewed, or audited financial statements, if the association is otherwise required to prepare a report of cash receipts and expenditures;
2. Reviewed or audited financial statements, if the association is otherwise required to prepare compiled financial statements; or
3. Audited financial statements, if the association is otherwise required to prepare reviewed financial statements.
(e) If approved by a majority of the voting interests present at a properly called meeting of the association, an association may prepare or cause to be prepared:
1. A report of cash receipts and expenditures in lieu of a compiled, reviewed, or audited financial statement;
2. A report of cash receipts and expenditures or a compiled financial statement in lieu of a reviewed or audited financial statement; or
3. A report of cash receipts and expenditures, a compiled financial statement, or a reviewed financial statement in lieu of an audited financial statement.
(5) ASSESSMENTS.The association has the power to make and collect assessments and to lease, maintain, repair, and replace the common areas. However, the association may not charge a use fee against the unit owner for the use of common areas unless otherwise provided for in the cooperative documents or by a majority vote of the association or unless the charges relate to expenses incurred by an owner having exclusive use of common areas.
(6) PURCHASE OF LEASES.The association has the power to purchase any land or recreation lease upon the approval of such voting interest as is required by the cooperative documents. If the cooperative documents make no provision for acquisition of the land or recreational lease, the vote required is that required to amend the cooperative documents to permit the acquisition.
(7) COMMINGLING.All funds shall be maintained separately in the association’s name. Reserve and operating funds of the association shall not be commingled unless combined for investment purposes. This subsection is not meant to prohibit prudent investment of association funds even if combined with operating or other reserve funds of the same association, but such funds must be accounted for separately, and the combined account balance may not, at any time, be less than the amount identified as reserve funds in the combined account. No manager or business entity required to be licensed or registered under s. 468.432, or an agent, employee, officer, or director of a cooperative association may commingle any association funds with his or her own funds or with the funds of any other cooperative association or community association as defined in s. 468.431.
(8) CORPORATE ENTITY.
(a) The officers and directors of the association have a fiduciary relationship to the unit owners. An officer, director, or manager may not solicit, offer to accept, or accept any thing or service of value for which consideration has not been provided for his or her own benefit or that of his or her immediate family, from any person providing or proposing to provide goods or services to the association. Any such officer, director, or manager who knowingly solicits, offers to accept, or accepts any thing or service of value is subject to a civil penalty pursuant to s. 719.501(1)(d). However, this paragraph does not prohibit an officer, director, or manager from accepting services or items received in connection with trade fairs or education programs.
(b) A director of the association who is present at a meeting of its board at which action on any corporate matter is taken is presumed to have assented to the action taken unless the director votes against such action or abstains from voting in respect thereto because of an asserted conflict of interest. Directors may not vote by proxy or by secret ballot at board meetings, except that officers may be elected by secret ballot. A vote or abstention for each member present shall be recorded in the minutes.
(c) A unit owner does not have any authority to act for the association by reason of being a unit owner.
(9) EASEMENTS.Unless prohibited by the cooperative documents, the board of administration has the authority, without the joinder of any unit owner, to grant, modify, or move any easement, if the easement constitutes part of or crosses the common areas or association property. This subsection does not authorize the board of administration to modify, move, or vacate any easement created in whole or in part for the use or benefit of anyone other than the unit owners, or crossing the property of anyone other than the unit owners, without the consent or approval of those other persons having the use or benefit of the easement, as required by law or by the instrument creating the easement.
(10) POWERS AND DUTIES.The powers and duties of the association include those set forth in this section and, except as expressly limited or restricted in this chapter, those set forth in the articles of incorporation and bylaws and part I of chapter 607 and chapter 617, as applicable.
(11) NOTIFICATION OF DIVISION.When the board of directors intends to dissolve or merge the cooperative association, the board shall so notify the division before taking any action to dissolve or merge the cooperative association.
History.s. 2, ch. 76-222; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 1, ch. 79-284; s. 12, ch. 86-175; s. 18, ch. 92-49; s. 2, ch. 94-77; s. 236, ch. 94-218; s. 42, ch. 95-274; s. 875, ch. 97-102; s. 10, ch. 98-322; s. 7, ch. 99-382; s. 8, ch. 2003-14; s. 11, ch. 2007-80; s. 10, ch. 2013-188; s. 14, ch. 2014-133; s. 70, ch. 2014-209; s. 12, ch. 2015-97.