Florida Senate - 2021                                    SB 1998
       By Senator Pizzo
       38-00246-21                                           20211998__
    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 an
   29         itemized list and a sworn affidavit to persons
   30         requesting to inspect records; requiring the
   31         association to maintain the itemized list for a
   32         specified period of time; creating a rebuttable
   33         presumption for an association that provides such
   34         itemized list and sworn affidavit; providing criminal
   35         penalties for certain violations relating to official
   36         association records; defining the term “repeatedly”;
   37         requiring certain associations to post copies of
   38         certain documents on their websites by a specified
   39         date; revising criminal penalties relating to the use
   40         of association debit cards; defining the term “lawful
   41         obligation of the association”; creating s. 718.1285,
   42         F.S.; providing criminal penalties for fraudulent
   43         voting activities related to association elections;
   44         amending s. 718.501, F.S.; revising the jurisdiction
   45         of the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares,
   46         and Mobile Homes of the Department of Business and
   47         Professional Regulation with regard to investigating
   48         complaints; defining the term “financial issue”;
   49         providing an effective date.
   51  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   53         Section 1. Paragraph (e) of subsection (3) of section
   54  194.011, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
   55         194.011 Assessment notice; objections to assessments.—
   56         (3) A petition to the value adjustment board must be in
   57  substantially the form prescribed by the department.
   58  Notwithstanding s. 195.022, a county officer may not refuse to
   59  accept a form provided by the department for this purpose if the
   60  taxpayer chooses to use it. A petition to the value adjustment
   61  board must be signed by the taxpayer or be accompanied at the
   62  time of filing by the taxpayer’s written authorization or power
   63  of attorney, unless the person filing the petition is listed in
   64  s. 194.034(1)(a). A person listed in s. 194.034(1)(a) may file a
   65  petition with a value adjustment board without the taxpayer’s
   66  signature or written authorization by certifying under penalty
   67  of perjury that he or she has authorization to file the petition
   68  on behalf of the taxpayer. If a taxpayer notifies the value
   69  adjustment board that a petition has been filed for the
   70  taxpayer’s property without his or her consent, the value
   71  adjustment board may require the person filing the petition to
   72  provide written authorization from the taxpayer authorizing the
   73  person to proceed with the appeal before a hearing is held. If
   74  the value adjustment board finds that a person listed in s.
   75  194.034(1)(a) willfully and knowingly filed a petition that was
   76  not authorized by the taxpayer, the value adjustment board shall
   77  require such person to provide the taxpayer’s written
   78  authorization for representation to the value adjustment board
   79  clerk before any petition filed by that person is heard, for 1
   80  year after imposition of such requirement by the value
   81  adjustment board. A power of attorney or written authorization
   82  is valid for 1 assessment year, and a new power of attorney or
   83  written authorization by the taxpayer is required for each
   84  subsequent assessment year. A petition shall also describe the
   85  property by parcel number and shall be filed as follows:
   86         (e)1. A condominium association as described in chapter
   87  718, a cooperative association as described in chapter 719, or a
   88  any homeowners’ association as defined in s. 723.075, with
   89  approval of its board of administration or directors, may file
   90  with the value adjustment board a single joint petition on
   91  behalf of any association members who own units or parcels of
   92  property which the property appraiser determines are
   93  substantially similar with respect to location, proximity to
   94  amenities, number of rooms, living area, and condition. The
   95  condominium association, cooperative association, or homeowners’
   96  association as defined in s. 723.075 shall provide the unit or
   97  parcel owners with notice of its intent to petition the value
   98  adjustment board and shall provide at least 20 days for a unit
   99  or parcel owner to elect, in writing, that his or her unit or
  100  parcel not be included in the petition.
  101         2.A condominium association as described in chapter 718,
  102  or a cooperative association as described in chapter 719, which
  103  has filed a single joint petition under this subsection may
  104  continue to represent, prosecute, or defend the unit owners
  105  through any related subsequent proceeding in any tribunal,
  106  including judicial review under part II of this chapter and any
  107  appeals. This subparagraph is intended to clarify existing law
  108  and applies to cases pending on October 1, 2021, or filed
  109  thereafter.
  110         Section 2. Subsection (2) of section 194.181, Florida
  111  Statutes, is amended to read:
  112         194.181 Parties to a tax suit.—
  113         (2)(a) In any case brought by a the taxpayer or a
  114  condominium or cooperative association, as described in chapters
  115  718 and 719, respectively, on behalf of some or all unit owners
  116  to contest contesting the assessment of any property, the county
  117  property appraiser is the shall be party defendant.
  118         (b)Except as provided in paragraph (c), in any case
  119  brought by the property appraiser under pursuant to s.
  120  194.036(1)(a) or (b), the taxpayer is the shall be party
  121  defendant.
  122         (c)In any case brought by the property appraiser under s.
  123  194.036(1)(a) or (b) concerning a value adjustment board
  124  decision on a single joint petition filed by a condominium or
  125  cooperative association under s. 194.011(3), the association and
  126  all unit owners included in the single joint petition are the
  127  party defendants. In such cases:
  128         1.The condominium or cooperative association must provide
  129  unit owners with notice of its intent to respond to or answer
  130  the property appraiser’s complaint and advise them that they may
  131  elect to:
  132         a.Retain their own counsel to defend the appeal;
  133         b.Not defend the appeal; or
  134         c.Be represented together with other unit owners in the
  135  response or answer filed by the association.
  136         2.The notice required in subparagraph 1. must be mailed,
  137  delivered, or electronically transmitted to unit owners and
  138  posted conspicuously on the condominium or cooperative property
  139  in the same manner as is required for notice of board meetings
  140  under s. 718.112(2) or s. 719.106(1), as applicable. Any unit
  141  owner who does not respond to the association’s notice will be
  142  represented in the response or answer filed by the association.
  143         (d) In any case brought by the property appraiser under
  144  pursuant to s. 194.036(1)(c), the value adjustment board is the
  145  shall be party defendant.
  146         Section 3. Paragraphs (a) and (d) of subsection (1),
  147  subsection (3), paragraphs (a), (b), (c), and (g) of subsection
  148  (12), and paragraph (b) of subsection (15) of section 718.111,
  149  Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
  150         718.111 The association.—
  151         (1) CORPORATE ENTITY.—
  152         (a) The operation of the condominium shall be by the
  153  association, which must be a Florida corporation for profit or a
  154  Florida corporation not for profit. However, any association
  155  which was in existence on January 1, 1977, need not be
  156  incorporated. The owners of units shall be shareholders or
  157  members of the association. The officers and directors of the
  158  association have a fiduciary relationship to the unit owners. It
  159  is the intent of the Legislature that nothing in this paragraph
  160  shall be construed as providing for or removing a requirement of
  161  a fiduciary relationship between any manager employed by the
  162  association and the unit owners. An officer, director, or
  163  manager may not solicit, offer to accept, or accept any thing or
  164  service of value or kickback for which consideration has not
  165  been provided for his or her own benefit or that of his or her
  166  immediate family, from any person providing or proposing to
  167  provide goods or services to the association. Any such officer,
  168  director, or manager who knowingly so solicits, offers to
  169  accept, or accepts any thing or service of value or kickback
  170  commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in
  171  s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, and is subject to a civil
  172  penalty pursuant to s. 718.501(1)(d) and, if applicable, a
  173  criminal penalty as provided in paragraph (d). However, this
  174  paragraph does not prohibit an officer, director, or manager
  175  from accepting services or items received in connection with
  176  trade fairs or education programs. An association may operate
  177  more than one condominium.
  178         (d) As required by s. 617.0830, an officer, director, or
  179  agent shall discharge his or her duties in good faith, with the
  180  care an ordinarily prudent person in a like position would
  181  exercise under similar circumstances, and in a manner he or she
  182  reasonably believes to be in the interests of the association.
  183  An officer, director, or agent shall be liable for monetary
  184  damages as provided in s. 617.0834 if such officer, director, or
  185  agent breached or failed to perform his or her duties and the
  186  breach of, or failure to perform, his or her duties constitutes
  187  a violation of criminal law as provided in s. 617.0834;
  188  constitutes a transaction from which the officer or director
  189  derived an improper personal benefit, either directly or
  190  indirectly; or constitutes recklessness or an act or omission
  191  that was in bad faith, with malicious purpose, or in a manner
  192  exhibiting wanton and willful disregard of human rights, safety,
  193  or property. Forgery of a ballot envelope or voting certificate
  194  used in a condominium association election is punishable as
  195  provided in s. 831.01, the theft or embezzlement of funds of a
  196  condominium association is punishable as provided in s. 812.014,
  197  and the destruction of or the refusal to allow inspection or
  198  copying of an official record of a condominium association that
  199  is accessible to unit owners within the time periods required by
  200  general law in furtherance of any crime is punishable as
  201  tampering with physical evidence as provided in s. 918.13 or as
  202  obstruction of justice as provided in chapter 843. An officer or
  203  director charged by information or indictment with a crime
  204  referenced in this paragraph must be removed from office, and
  205  the vacancy shall be filled as provided in s. 718.112(2)(d)2.
  206  until the end of the officer’s or director’s period of
  207  suspension or the end of his or her term of office, whichever
  208  occurs first. If a criminal charge is pending against the
  209  officer or director, he or she may not be appointed or elected
  210  to a position as an officer or a director of any association and
  211  may not have access to the official records of any association,
  212  except pursuant to a court order. However, if the charges are
  213  resolved without a finding of guilt, the officer or director
  214  must be reinstated for the remainder of his or her term of
  215  office, if any.
  218         (a) The association may contract, sue, or be sued with
  219  respect to the exercise or nonexercise of its powers. For these
  220  purposes, the powers of the association include, but are not
  221  limited to, the maintenance, management, and operation of the
  222  condominium property.
  223         (b) After control of the association is obtained by unit
  224  owners other than the developer, the association may:
  225         1. Institute, maintain, settle, or appeal actions or
  226  hearings in its name on behalf of all unit owners concerning
  227  matters of common interest to most or all unit owners,
  228  including, but not limited to, the common elements; the roof and
  229  structural components of a building or other improvements;
  230  mechanical, electrical, and plumbing elements serving an
  231  improvement or a building; and representations of the developer
  232  pertaining to any existing or proposed commonly used facilities;
  233         2.Protest and protesting ad valorem taxes on commonly used
  234  facilities and on units; and may
  235         3. Defend actions pertaining to ad valorem taxation of
  236  commonly used facilities or units or pertaining to in eminent
  237  domain; or
  238         4. Bring inverse condemnation actions.
  239         (c) If the association has the authority to maintain a
  240  class action, the association may be joined in an action as
  241  representative of that class with reference to litigation and
  242  disputes involving the matters for which the association could
  243  bring a class action.
  244         (d)The association, in its own name or on behalf of some
  245  or all unit owners, may institute, file, protest, maintain, or
  246  defend any administrative challenge, lawsuit, appeal, or other
  247  challenge to ad valorem taxes assessed on units for commonly
  248  used facilities or common elements. The affected association
  249  members are not necessary or indispensable parties to such
  250  actions. This paragraph is intended to clarify existing law and
  251  applies to cases pending on October 1, 2021, or filed
  252  thereafter.
  253         (e) Nothing herein limits any statutory or common-law right
  254  of any individual unit owner or class of unit owners to bring
  255  any action without participation by the association which may
  256  otherwise be available.
  257         (f) An association may not hire an attorney who represents
  258  the management company of the association.
  259         (12) OFFICIAL RECORDS.—
  260         (a) From the inception of the association, the association
  261  shall maintain each of the following items, if applicable, which
  262  constitutes the official records of the association:
  263         1. A copy of the plans, permits, warranties, and other
  264  items provided by the developer pursuant to s. 718.301(4).
  265         2. A photocopy of the recorded declaration of condominium
  266  of each condominium operated by the association and each
  267  amendment to each declaration.
  268         3. A photocopy of the recorded bylaws of the association
  269  and each amendment to the bylaws.
  270         4. A certified copy of the articles of incorporation of the
  271  association, or other documents creating the association, and
  272  each amendment thereto.
  273         5. A copy of the current rules of the association.
  274         6. A book or books that contain the minutes of all meetings
  275  of the association, the board of administration, and the unit
  276  owners.
  277         7. A current roster of all unit owners and their mailing
  278  addresses, unit identifications, voting certifications, and, if
  279  known, telephone numbers. The association shall also maintain
  280  the e-mail addresses and facsimile numbers of unit owners
  281  consenting to receive notice by electronic transmission. The e
  282  mail addresses and facsimile numbers are not accessible to unit
  283  owners if consent to receive notice by electronic transmission
  284  is not provided in accordance with sub-subparagraph (c)5.e.
  285  (c)3.e. However, the association is not liable for an
  286  inadvertent disclosure of the e-mail address or facsimile number
  287  for receiving electronic transmission of notices.
  288         8. All current insurance policies of the association and
  289  condominiums operated by the association.
  290         9. A current copy of any management agreement, lease, or
  291  other contract to which the association is a party or under
  292  which the association or the unit owners have an obligation or
  293  responsibility.
  294         10. Bills of sale or transfer for all property owned by the
  295  association.
  296         11. Accounting records for the association and separate
  297  accounting records for each condominium that the association
  298  operates. Any person who knowingly or intentionally defaces or
  299  destroys such records, or who knowingly or intentionally fails
  300  to create or maintain such records, with the intent of causing
  301  harm to the association or one or more of its members, is
  302  personally subject to a civil penalty pursuant to s.
  303  718.501(1)(d). The accounting records must include, but are not
  304  limited to:
  305         a. Accurate, itemized, and detailed records of all receipts
  306  and expenditures.
  307         b. A current account and a monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly
  308  statement of the account for each unit designating the name of
  309  the unit owner, the due date and amount of each assessment, the
  310  amount paid on the account, and the balance due.
  311         c. All audits, reviews, accounting statements, and
  312  financial reports of the association or condominium.
  313         d. All contracts for work to be performed. Bids for work to
  314  be performed are also considered official records and must be
  315  maintained by the association.
  316         e.All bank statements, canceled checks, and credit card
  317  statements.
  318         f.All invoices, transaction receipts, deposit slips, or
  319  other underlying documentation that substantiates any receipt or
  320  expenditure of funds by the association.
  321         12. Ballots, sign-in sheets, voting proxies, and all other
  322  papers and electronic records relating to voting by unit owners,
  323  which must be maintained for 1 year from the date of the
  324  election, vote, or meeting to which the document relates,
  325  notwithstanding paragraph (b).
  326         13. All rental records if the association is acting as
  327  agent for the rental of condominium units.
  328         14. A copy of the current question and answer sheet as
  329  described in s. 718.504.
  330         15. All other written records of the association not
  331  specifically included in the foregoing which are related to the
  332  operation of the association.
  333         16. A copy of the inspection report as described in s.
  334  718.301(4)(p).
  335         17. Bids for materials, equipment, or services.
  336         (b) The official records specified in subparagraphs (a)1.
  337  6. must be permanently maintained from the inception of the
  338  association. All other official records must be maintained
  339  within the state for at least 7 years, unless otherwise provided
  340  by general law. All official records must be maintained in a
  341  manner and format prescribed by division rule so that they are
  342  easily accessible for inspection. The records of the association
  343  shall be made available to a unit owner within 45 miles of the
  344  condominium property or within the county in which the
  345  condominium property is located within 10 working days after
  346  receipt of a written request by the board or its designee.
  347  However, such distance requirement does not apply to an
  348  association governing a timeshare condominium. This paragraph
  349  may be complied with by having a copy of the official records of
  350  the association available for inspection or copying on the
  351  condominium property or association property, or the association
  352  may offer the option of making the records available to a unit
  353  owner electronically via the Internet or by allowing the records
  354  to be viewed in electronic format on a computer screen and
  355  printed upon request. The association is not responsible for the
  356  use or misuse of the information provided to an association
  357  member or his or her authorized representative pursuant to the
  358  compliance requirements of this chapter unless the association
  359  has an affirmative duty not to disclose such information
  360  pursuant to this chapter.
  361         (c)1.a. The official records of the association are open to
  362  inspection by any association member or the authorized
  363  representative of such member at all reasonable times. The right
  364  to inspect the records includes the right to make or obtain
  365  copies, at the reasonable expense, if any, of the member or
  366  authorized representative of such member. A renter of a unit has
  367  a right to inspect and copy the association’s bylaws and rules.
  368  The association may adopt reasonable rules regarding the
  369  frequency, time, location, notice, and manner of record
  370  inspections and copying. The failure of an association to
  371  provide the records within 10 working days after receipt of a
  372  written request that complies with the association’s document
  373  inspection rule creates a rebuttable presumption that the
  374  association willfully failed to comply with this paragraph. A
  375  unit owner who is denied access to official records is entitled
  376  to the actual damages or minimum damages for the association’s
  377  willful failure to comply. Minimum damages are $50 per calendar
  378  day for up to 10 days, beginning on the 11th working day after
  379  receipt of the written request that complies with the
  380  association’s document inspection rule. The failure to permit
  381  inspection entitles any person prevailing in an enforcement
  382  action to recover reasonable attorney fees from the person in
  383  control of the records who, directly or indirectly, knowingly
  384  denied access to the records. If the requested records are
  385  posted on an association’s website, the association may fulfill
  386  its obligations as provided under this paragraph by directing to
  387  the website all persons authorized to request access to official
  388  records pursuant to this paragraph.
  389         b.In response to a statutorily compliant written request
  390  to inspect records, the association must simultaneously provide
  391  an itemized list to the requestor of all records made available
  392  for inspection and copying and a sworn affidavit in which the
  393  person facilitating or handling the association’s compliance
  394  with the request attests to the veracity of the itemized list
  395  provided to the requestor. The itemized list must also identify
  396  any of the association’s official records that were not made
  397  available to the requestor. An association must maintain an
  398  itemized list provided under this sub-subparagraph for 7 years.
  399  The delivery by an association of an itemized list and affidavit
  400  pursuant to this sub-subparagraph creates a rebuttable
  401  presumption that the association has complied with this
  402  paragraph.
  403         2. Any director or member of the board or association or a
  404  community association manager who knowingly, willfully, and
  405  repeatedly violates subparagraph 1. commits a misdemeanor of the
  406  second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s.
  407  775.083. For purposes of this subparagraph, the term
  408  “repeatedly” means two or more violations within a 12-month
  409  period.
  410         3.2. Any person who knowingly or intentionally defaces or
  411  destroys accounting records that are required by this chapter to
  412  be maintained during the period for which such records are
  413  required to be maintained, or who knowingly or intentionally
  414  fails to create or maintain accounting records that are required
  415  to be created or maintained, with the intent of causing harm to
  416  the association or one or more of its members, commits a
  417  misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s.
  418  775.082 or s. 775.083 is personally subject to a civil penalty
  419  pursuant to s. 718.501(1)(d).
  420         4. Any person who willfully and knowingly refuses to
  421  release or otherwise produce association records with the intent
  422  to avoid or escape detection, arrest, trial, or punishment for
  423  the commission of a crime, or to assist another person with such
  424  avoidance or escape, commits a felony of the third degree,
  425  punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
  426         5.3. The association shall maintain an adequate number of
  427  copies of the declaration, articles of incorporation, bylaws,
  428  and rules, and all amendments to each of the foregoing, as well
  429  as the question and answer sheet as described in s. 718.504 and
  430  year-end financial information required under this section, on
  431  the condominium property to ensure their availability to unit
  432  owners and prospective purchasers, and may charge its actual
  433  costs for preparing and furnishing these documents to those
  434  requesting the documents. An association shall allow a member or
  435  his or her authorized representative to use a portable device,
  436  including a smartphone, tablet, portable scanner, or any other
  437  technology capable of scanning or taking photographs, to make an
  438  electronic copy of the official records in lieu of the
  439  association’s providing the member or his or her authorized
  440  representative with a copy of such records. The association may
  441  not charge a member or his or her authorized representative for
  442  the use of a portable device. Notwithstanding this paragraph,
  443  the following records are not accessible to unit owners:
  444         a. Any record protected by the lawyer-client privilege as
  445  described in s. 90.502 and any record protected by the work
  446  product privilege, including a record prepared by an association
  447  attorney or prepared at the attorney’s express direction, which
  448  reflects a mental impression, conclusion, litigation strategy,
  449  or legal theory of the attorney or the association, and which
  450  was prepared exclusively for civil or criminal litigation or for
  451  adversarial administrative proceedings, or which was prepared in
  452  anticipation of such litigation or proceedings until the
  453  conclusion of the litigation or proceedings.
  454         b. Information obtained by an association in connection
  455  with the approval of the lease, sale, or other transfer of a
  456  unit.
  457         c. Personnel records of association or management company
  458  employees, including, but not limited to, disciplinary, payroll,
  459  health, and insurance records. For purposes of this sub
  460  subparagraph, the term “personnel records” does not include
  461  written employment agreements with an association employee or
  462  management company, or budgetary or financial records that
  463  indicate the compensation paid to an association employee.
  464         d. Medical records of unit owners.
  465         e. Social security numbers, driver license numbers, credit
  466  card numbers, e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, facsimile
  467  numbers, emergency contact information, addresses of a unit
  468  owner other than as provided to fulfill the association’s notice
  469  requirements, and other personal identifying information of any
  470  person, excluding the person’s name, unit designation, mailing
  471  address, property address, and any address, e-mail address, or
  472  facsimile number provided to the association to fulfill the
  473  association’s notice requirements. Notwithstanding the
  474  restrictions in this sub-subparagraph, an association may print
  475  and distribute to parcel owners a directory containing the name,
  476  parcel address, and all telephone numbers of each parcel owner.
  477  However, an owner may exclude his or her telephone numbers from
  478  the directory by so requesting in writing to the association. An
  479  owner may consent in writing to the disclosure of other contact
  480  information described in this sub-subparagraph. The association
  481  is not liable for the inadvertent disclosure of information that
  482  is protected under this sub-subparagraph if the information is
  483  included in an official record of the association and is
  484  voluntarily provided by an owner and not requested by the
  485  association.
  486         f. Electronic security measures that are used by the
  487  association to safeguard data, including passwords.
  488         g. The software and operating system used by the
  489  association which allow the manipulation of data, even if the
  490  owner owns a copy of the same software used by the association.
  491  The data is part of the official records of the association.
  492         (g)1. By January 1, 2023 2019, an association managing a
  493  condominium with 25 150 or more units which does not contain
  494  timeshare units shall post digital copies of the documents
  495  specified in subparagraph 2. on its website.
  496         a. The association’s website must be:
  497         (I) An independent website or web portal wholly owned and
  498  operated by the association; or
  499         (II) A website or web portal operated by a third-party
  500  provider with whom the association owns, leases, rents, or
  501  otherwise obtains the right to operate a web page, subpage, web
  502  portal, or collection of subpages or web portals dedicated to
  503  the association’s activities and on which required notices,
  504  records, and documents may be posted by the association.
  505         b. The association’s website must be accessible through the
  506  Internet and must contain a subpage, web portal, or other
  507  protected electronic location that is inaccessible to the
  508  general public and accessible only to unit owners and employees
  509  of the association.
  510         c. Upon a unit owner’s written request, the association
  511  must provide the unit owner with a username and password and
  512  access to the protected sections of the association’s website
  513  that contain any notices, records, or documents that must be
  514  electronically provided.
  515         2. A current copy of the following documents must be posted
  516  in digital format on the association’s website:
  517         a. The recorded declaration of condominium of each
  518  condominium operated by the association and each amendment to
  519  each declaration.
  520         b. The recorded bylaws of the association and each
  521  amendment to the bylaws.
  522         c. The articles of incorporation of the association, or
  523  other documents creating the association, and each amendment
  524  thereto. The copy posted pursuant to this sub-subparagraph must
  525  be a copy of the articles of incorporation filed with the
  526  Department of State.
  527         d. The rules of the association.
  528         e. A list of all executory contracts or documents to which
  529  the association is a party or under which the association or the
  530  unit owners have an obligation or responsibility and, after
  531  bidding for the related materials, equipment, or services has
  532  closed, a list of bids received by the association within the
  533  past year. Summaries of bids for materials, equipment, or
  534  services which exceed $500 must be maintained on the website for
  535  1 year. In lieu of summaries, complete copies of the bids may be
  536  posted.
  537         f. The annual budget required by s. 718.112(2)(f) and any
  538  proposed budget to be considered at the annual meeting.
  539         g. The financial report required by subsection (13) and any
  540  monthly income or expense statement to be considered at a
  541  meeting.
  542         h. The certification of each director required by s.
  543  718.112(2)(d)4.b.
  544         i. All contracts or transactions between the association
  545  and any director, officer, corporation, firm, or association
  546  that is not an affiliated condominium association or any other
  547  entity in which an association director is also a director or
  548  officer and financially interested.
  549         j. Any contract or document regarding a conflict of
  550  interest or possible conflict of interest as provided in ss.
  551  468.436(2)(b)6. and 718.3027(3).
  552         k. The notice of any unit owner meeting and the agenda for
  553  the meeting, as required by s. 718.112(2)(d)3., no later than 14
  554  days before the meeting. The notice must be posted in plain view
  555  on the front page of the website, or on a separate subpage of
  556  the website labeled “Notices” which is conspicuously visible and
  557  linked from the front page. The association must also post on
  558  its website any document to be considered and voted on by the
  559  owners during the meeting or any document listed on the agenda
  560  at least 7 days before the meeting at which the document or the
  561  information within the document will be considered.
  562         l. Notice of any board meeting, the agenda, and any other
  563  document required for the meeting as required by s.
  564  718.112(2)(c), which must be posted no later than the date
  565  required for notice pursuant to s. 718.112(2)(c).
  566         3. The association shall ensure that the information and
  567  records described in paragraph (c), which are not allowed to be
  568  accessible to unit owners, are not posted on the association’s
  569  website. If protected information or information restricted from
  570  being accessible to unit owners is included in documents that
  571  are required to be posted on the association’s website, the
  572  association shall ensure the information is redacted before
  573  posting the documents online. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the
  574  association or its agent is not liable for disclosing
  575  information that is protected or restricted pursuant to this
  576  paragraph unless such disclosure was made with a knowing or
  577  intentional disregard of the protected or restricted nature of
  578  such information.
  579         4. The failure of the association to post information
  580  required under subparagraph 2. is not in and of itself
  581  sufficient to invalidate any action or decision of the
  582  association’s board or its committees.
  583         5.By January 1, 2023, an association managing 25 or more
  584  units, not including timeshare units, shall post on its website
  585  digital copies of all official records subject to inspection by
  586  tenants or unit owners or their authorized representatives.
  587         (15) DEBIT CARDS.—
  588         (b) A person who uses Use of a debit card issued in the
  589  name of the association, or billed directly to the association,
  590  for any expense that is not a lawful obligation of the
  591  association commits theft under s. 812.014. For the purposes of
  592  this paragraph, a “lawful obligation of the association” means
  593  an obligation that has been properly preapproved by the board
  594  and is reflected in the meeting minutes or the written budget
  595  may be prosecuted as credit card fraud pursuant to s. 817.61.
  596         Section 4. Section 718.1285, Florida Statutes, is created
  597  to read:
  598         718.1285Fraudulent voting activities related to
  599  association elections; penalties.—
  600         (1) Each of the following acts is a fraudulent voting
  601  activity related to association elections and constitutes a
  602  felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s.
  603  775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084:
  604         (a) Willfully and falsely swearing or affirming any oath or
  605  affirmation, or willfully procuring another person to swear or
  606  affirm falsely to an oath or affirmation, in connection with or
  607  arising out of voting or elections.
  608         (b) Perpetrating or attempting to perpetrate, or aiding in
  609  the perpetration of, any fraud in connection with any vote cast,
  610  to be cast, or attempted to be cast.
  611         (c) Preventing an elector from voting, or preventing an
  612  elector from voting as the elector intended, by fraudulently
  613  changing or attempting to change a ballot, ballot envelope,
  614  vote, or voting certificate of the elector.
  615         (d) Using bribery, menace, threat, or any other corruption
  616  to attempt, directly or indirectly, to influence, deceive, or
  617  deter any elector in voting.
  618         (e) Directly or indirectly giving or promising anything of
  619  value to another person with the intent to buy the vote of that
  620  person or another person or to corruptly influence that person
  621  or another person in casting his or her vote. However, this
  622  paragraph does not apply to the serving of food to be consumed
  623  at an election rally or meeting or to any item of nominal value
  624  which is used as an election advertisement, including a campaign
  625  message designed to be worn by a person.
  626         (f) Directly or indirectly using or threatening to use
  627  force, violence, or intimidation or any tactic of coercion or
  628  intimidation to induce or compel an individual to vote or
  629  refrain from voting in an election or on any particular ballot
  630  measure.
  631         (2) Each of the following acts constitutes a felony of the
  632  third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083,
  633  or s. 775.084:
  634         (a) Knowingly aiding, abetting, or advising a person in the
  635  commission of a fraudulent voting activity related to
  636  association elections.
  637         (b) Agreeing, conspiring, combining, or confederating with
  638  at least one other person to commit a fraudulent voting activity
  639  related to association elections.
  640         (c) Having knowledge of a fraudulent voting activity
  641  related to association elections and giving any aid to the
  642  offender with intent that the offender avoid or escape
  643  detection, arrest, trial, or punishment. This paragraph does not
  644  apply to a licensed attorney giving legal advice to a client.
  645         Section 5. Subsection (1) of section 718.501, Florida
  646  Statutes, is amended to read:
  647         718.501 Authority, responsibility, and duties of Division
  648  of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes.—
  649         (1) The division may enforce and ensure compliance with the
  650  provisions of this chapter and rules relating to the
  651  development, construction, sale, lease, ownership, operation,
  652  and management of residential condominium units. In performing
  653  its duties, the division has complete jurisdiction to
  654  investigate complaints and enforce compliance with respect to
  655  associations that are still under developer control or the
  656  control of a bulk assignee or bulk buyer pursuant to part VII of
  657  this chapter and complaints against developers, bulk assignees,
  658  or bulk buyers involving improper turnover or failure to
  659  turnover, pursuant to s. 718.301. However, after turnover has
  660  occurred, the division has jurisdiction to investigate
  661  complaints related only to financial issues, elections,
  662  maintenance of official records, and unit owner access to
  663  association records pursuant to s. 718.111(12). As used in this
  664  subsection, the term “financial issue” means an issue related to
  665  operating budgets; reserve schedules; financial records under s.
  666  718.111(12)(a)11.; notices of meetings and meeting minutes for
  667  budget or financial statement related meetings; any assessment
  668  for common expenses, fees, or fines; commingling of funds; and
  669  any other records necessary to determine the revenues and
  670  expenses of the association. The division may adopt rules to
  671  further specify what is included within the meaning of the term.
  672         (a)1. The division may make necessary public or private
  673  investigations within or outside this state to determine whether
  674  any person has violated this chapter or any rule or order
  675  hereunder, to aid in the enforcement of this chapter, or to aid
  676  in the adoption of rules or forms.
  677         2. The division may submit any official written report,
  678  worksheet, or other related paper, or a duly certified copy
  679  thereof, compiled, prepared, drafted, or otherwise made by and
  680  duly authenticated by a financial examiner or analyst to be
  681  admitted as competent evidence in any hearing in which the
  682  financial examiner or analyst is available for cross-examination
  683  and attests under oath that such documents were prepared as a
  684  result of an examination or inspection conducted pursuant to
  685  this chapter.
  686         (b) The division may require or permit any person to file a
  687  statement in writing, under oath or otherwise, as the division
  688  determines, as to the facts and circumstances concerning a
  689  matter to be investigated.
  690         (c) For the purpose of any investigation under this
  691  chapter, the division director or any officer or employee
  692  designated by the division director may administer oaths or
  693  affirmations, subpoena witnesses and compel their attendance,
  694  take evidence, and require the production of any matter which is
  695  relevant to the investigation, including the existence,
  696  description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any
  697  books, documents, or other tangible things and the identity and
  698  location of persons having knowledge of relevant facts or any
  699  other matter reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of
  700  material evidence. Upon the failure by a person to obey a
  701  subpoena or to answer questions propounded by the investigating
  702  officer and upon reasonable notice to all affected persons, the
  703  division may apply to the circuit court for an order compelling
  704  compliance.
  705         (d) Notwithstanding any remedies available to unit owners
  706  and associations, if the division has reasonable cause to
  707  believe that a violation of any provision of this chapter or
  708  related rule has occurred, the division may institute
  709  enforcement proceedings in its own name against any developer,
  710  bulk assignee, bulk buyer, association, officer, or member of
  711  the board of administration, or its assignees or agents, as
  712  follows:
  713         1. The division may permit a person whose conduct or
  714  actions may be under investigation to waive formal proceedings
  715  and enter into a consent proceeding whereby orders, rules, or
  716  letters of censure or warning, whether formal or informal, may
  717  be entered against the person.
  718         2. The division may issue an order requiring the developer,
  719  bulk assignee, bulk buyer, association, developer-designated
  720  officer, or developer-designated member of the board of
  721  administration, developer-designated assignees or agents, bulk
  722  assignee-designated assignees or agents, bulk buyer-designated
  723  assignees or agents, community association manager, or community
  724  association management firm to cease and desist from the
  725  unlawful practice and take such affirmative action as in the
  726  judgment of the division carry out the purposes of this chapter.
  727  If the division finds that a developer, bulk assignee, bulk
  728  buyer, association, officer, or member of the board of
  729  administration, or its assignees or agents, is violating or is
  730  about to violate any provision of this chapter, any rule adopted
  731  or order issued by the division, or any written agreement
  732  entered into with the division, and presents an immediate danger
  733  to the public requiring an immediate final order, it may issue
  734  an emergency cease and desist order reciting with particularity
  735  the facts underlying such findings. The emergency cease and
  736  desist order is effective for 90 days. If the division begins
  737  nonemergency cease and desist proceedings, the emergency cease
  738  and desist order remains effective until the conclusion of the
  739  proceedings under ss. 120.569 and 120.57.
  740         3. If a developer, bulk assignee, or bulk buyer, fails to
  741  pay any restitution determined by the division to be owed, plus
  742  any accrued interest at the highest rate permitted by law,
  743  within 30 days after expiration of any appellate time period of
  744  a final order requiring payment of restitution or the conclusion
  745  of any appeal thereof, whichever is later, the division must
  746  bring an action in circuit or county court on behalf of any
  747  association, class of unit owners, lessees, or purchasers for
  748  restitution, declaratory relief, injunctive relief, or any other
  749  available remedy. The division may also temporarily revoke its
  750  acceptance of the filing for the developer to which the
  751  restitution relates until payment of restitution is made.
  752         4. The division may petition the court for appointment of a
  753  receiver or conservator. If appointed, the receiver or
  754  conservator may take action to implement the court order to
  755  ensure the performance of the order and to remedy any breach
  756  thereof. In addition to all other means provided by law for the
  757  enforcement of an injunction or temporary restraining order, the
  758  circuit court may impound or sequester the property of a party
  759  defendant, including books, papers, documents, and related
  760  records, and allow the examination and use of the property by
  761  the division and a court-appointed receiver or conservator.
  762         5. The division may apply to the circuit court for an order
  763  of restitution whereby the defendant in an action brought
  764  pursuant to subparagraph 4. is ordered to make restitution of
  765  those sums shown by the division to have been obtained by the
  766  defendant in violation of this chapter. At the option of the
  767  court, such restitution is payable to the conservator or
  768  receiver appointed pursuant to subparagraph 4. or directly to
  769  the persons whose funds or assets were obtained in violation of
  770  this chapter.
  771         6. The division may impose a civil penalty against a
  772  developer, bulk assignee, or bulk buyer, or association, or its
  773  assignee or agent, for any violation of this chapter or related
  774  rule. The division may impose a civil penalty individually
  775  against an officer or board member who willfully and knowingly
  776  violates a provision of this chapter, adopted rule, or a final
  777  order of the division; may order the removal of such individual
  778  as an officer or from the board of administration or as an
  779  officer of the association; and may prohibit such individual
  780  from serving as an officer or on the board of a community
  781  association for a period of time. The term “willfully and
  782  knowingly” means that the division informed the officer or board
  783  member that his or her action or intended action violates this
  784  chapter, a rule adopted under this chapter, or a final order of
  785  the division and that the officer or board member refused to
  786  comply with the requirements of this chapter, a rule adopted
  787  under this chapter, or a final order of the division. The
  788  division, before initiating formal agency action under chapter
  789  120, must afford the officer or board member an opportunity to
  790  voluntarily comply, and an officer or board member who complies
  791  within 10 days is not subject to a civil penalty. A penalty may
  792  be imposed on the basis of each day of continuing violation, but
  793  the penalty for any offense may not exceed $5,000. By January 1,
  794  1998, the division shall adopt, by rule, penalty guidelines
  795  applicable to possible violations or to categories of violations
  796  of this chapter or rules adopted by the division. The guidelines
  797  must specify a meaningful range of civil penalties for each such
  798  violation of the statute and rules and must be based upon the
  799  harm caused by the violation, the repetition of the violation,
  800  and upon such other factors deemed relevant by the division. For
  801  example, the division may consider whether the violations were
  802  committed by a developer, bulk assignee, or bulk buyer, or
  803  owner-controlled association, the size of the association, and
  804  other factors. The guidelines must designate the possible
  805  mitigating or aggravating circumstances that justify a departure
  806  from the range of penalties provided by the rules. It is the
  807  legislative intent that minor violations be distinguished from
  808  those which endanger the health, safety, or welfare of the
  809  condominium residents or other persons and that such guidelines
  810  provide reasonable and meaningful notice to the public of likely
  811  penalties that may be imposed for proscribed conduct. This
  812  subsection does not limit the ability of the division to
  813  informally dispose of administrative actions or complaints by
  814  stipulation, agreed settlement, or consent order. All amounts
  815  collected shall be deposited with the Chief Financial Officer to
  816  the credit of the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares,
  817  and Mobile Homes Trust Fund. If a developer, bulk assignee, or
  818  bulk buyer fails to pay the civil penalty and the amount deemed
  819  to be owed to the association, the division shall issue an order
  820  directing that such developer, bulk assignee, or bulk buyer
  821  cease and desist from further operation until such time as the
  822  civil penalty is paid or may pursue enforcement of the penalty
  823  in a court of competent jurisdiction. If an association fails to
  824  pay the civil penalty, the division shall pursue enforcement in
  825  a court of competent jurisdiction, and the order imposing the
  826  civil penalty or the cease and desist order is not effective
  827  until 20 days after the date of such order. Any action commenced
  828  by the division shall be brought in the county in which the
  829  division has its executive offices or in the county where the
  830  violation occurred.
  831         7. If a unit owner presents the division with proof that
  832  the unit owner has requested access to official records in
  833  writing by certified mail, and that after 10 days the unit owner
  834  again made the same request for access to official records in
  835  writing by certified mail, and that more than 10 days has
  836  elapsed since the second request and the association has still
  837  failed or refused to provide access to official records as
  838  required by this chapter, the division shall issue a subpoena
  839  requiring production of the requested records where the records
  840  are kept pursuant to s. 718.112.
  841         8. In addition to subparagraph 6., the division may seek
  842  the imposition of a civil penalty through the circuit court for
  843  any violation for which the division may issue a notice to show
  844  cause under paragraph (r). The civil penalty shall be at least
  845  $500 but no more than $5,000 for each violation. The court may
  846  also award to the prevailing party court costs and reasonable
  847  attorney attorney’s fees and, if the division prevails, may also
  848  award reasonable costs of investigation.
  849         (e) The division may prepare and disseminate a prospectus
  850  and other information to assist prospective owners, purchasers,
  851  lessees, and developers of residential condominiums in assessing
  852  the rights, privileges, and duties pertaining thereto.
  853         (f) The division may adopt rules to administer and enforce
  854  the provisions of this chapter.
  855         (g) The division shall establish procedures for providing
  856  notice to an association and the developer, bulk assignee, or
  857  bulk buyer during the period in which the developer, bulk
  858  assignee, or bulk buyer controls the association if the division
  859  is considering the issuance of a declaratory statement with
  860  respect to the declaration of condominium or any related
  861  document governing such condominium community.
  862         (h) The division shall furnish each association that pays
  863  the fees required by paragraph (2)(a) a copy of this chapter, as
  864  amended, and the rules adopted thereto on an annual basis.
  865         (i) The division shall annually provide each association
  866  with a summary of declaratory statements and formal legal
  867  opinions relating to the operations of condominiums which were
  868  rendered by the division during the previous year.
  869         (j) The division shall provide training and educational
  870  programs for condominium association board members and unit
  871  owners. The training may, in the division’s discretion, include
  872  web-based electronic media, and live training and seminars in
  873  various locations throughout the state. The division may review
  874  and approve education and training programs for board members
  875  and unit owners offered by providers and shall maintain a
  876  current list of approved programs and providers and make such
  877  list available to board members and unit owners in a reasonable
  878  and cost-effective manner.
  879         (k) The division shall maintain a toll-free telephone
  880  number accessible to condominium unit owners.
  881         (l) The division shall develop a program to certify both
  882  volunteer and paid mediators to provide mediation of condominium
  883  disputes. The division shall provide, upon request, a list of
  884  such mediators to any association, unit owner, or other
  885  participant in arbitration proceedings under s. 718.1255
  886  requesting a copy of the list. The division shall include on the
  887  list of volunteer mediators only the names of persons who have
  888  received at least 20 hours of training in mediation techniques
  889  or who have mediated at least 20 disputes. In order to become
  890  initially certified by the division, paid mediators must be
  891  certified by the Supreme Court to mediate court cases in county
  892  or circuit courts. However, the division may adopt, by rule,
  893  additional factors for the certification of paid mediators,
  894  which must be related to experience, education, or background.
  895  Any person initially certified as a paid mediator by the
  896  division must, in order to continue to be certified, comply with
  897  the factors or requirements adopted by rule.
  898         (m) If a complaint is made, the division must conduct its
  899  inquiry with due regard for the interests of the affected
  900  parties. Within 30 days after receipt of a complaint, the
  901  division shall acknowledge the complaint in writing and notify
  902  the complainant whether the complaint is within the jurisdiction
  903  of the division and whether additional information is needed by
  904  the division from the complainant. The division shall conduct
  905  its investigation and, within 90 days after receipt of the
  906  original complaint or of timely requested additional
  907  information, take action upon the complaint. However, the
  908  failure to complete the investigation within 90 days does not
  909  prevent the division from continuing the investigation,
  910  accepting or considering evidence obtained or received after 90
  911  days, or taking administrative action if reasonable cause exists
  912  to believe that a violation of this chapter or a rule has
  913  occurred. If an investigation is not completed within the time
  914  limits established in this paragraph, the division shall, on a
  915  monthly basis, notify the complainant in writing of the status
  916  of the investigation. When reporting its action to the
  917  complainant, the division shall inform the complainant of any
  918  right to a hearing pursuant to ss. 120.569 and 120.57.
  919         (n) Condominium association directors, officers, and
  920  employees; condominium developers; bulk assignees, bulk buyers,
  921  and community association managers; and community association
  922  management firms have an ongoing duty to reasonably cooperate
  923  with the division in any investigation pursuant to this section.
  924  The division shall refer to local law enforcement authorities
  925  any person whom the division believes has altered, destroyed,
  926  concealed, or removed any record, document, or thing required to
  927  be kept or maintained by this chapter with the purpose to impair
  928  its verity or availability in the department’s investigation.
  929         (o) The division may:
  930         1. Contract with agencies in this state or other
  931  jurisdictions to perform investigative functions; or
  932         2. Accept grants-in-aid from any source.
  933         (p) The division shall cooperate with similar agencies in
  934  other jurisdictions to establish uniform filing procedures and
  935  forms, public offering statements, advertising standards, and
  936  rules and common administrative practices.
  937         (q) The division shall consider notice to a developer, bulk
  938  assignee, or bulk buyer to be complete when it is delivered to
  939  the address of the developer, bulk assignee, or bulk buyer
  940  currently on file with the division.
  941         (r) In addition to its enforcement authority, the division
  942  may issue a notice to show cause, which must provide for a
  943  hearing, upon written request, in accordance with chapter 120.
  944         (s) The division shall submit to the Governor, the
  945  President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of
  946  Representatives, and the chairs of the legislative
  947  appropriations committees an annual report that includes, but
  948  need not be limited to, the number of training programs provided
  949  for condominium association board members and unit owners, the
  950  number of complaints received by type, the number and percent of
  951  complaints acknowledged in writing within 30 days and the number
  952  and percent of investigations acted upon within 90 days in
  953  accordance with paragraph (m), and the number of investigations
  954  exceeding the 90-day requirement. The annual report must also
  955  include an evaluation of the division’s core business processes
  956  and make recommendations for improvements, including statutory
  957  changes. The report shall be submitted by September 30 following
  958  the end of the fiscal year.
  959         Section 6. This act shall take effect October 1, 2021.