Florida Senate - 2024                        COMMITTEE AMENDMENT
       Bill No. SB 426
                              LEGISLATIVE ACTION                        
                    Senate             .             House              
                  Comm: RCS            .                                
                  02/05/2024           .                                

       The Committee on Regulated Industries (Garcia) recommended the
    1         Senate Substitute for Amendment (549732) (with title
    2  amendment)
    4         Delete lines 72 - 350
    5  and insert:
    6         16.0151 Condominium and Homeowners’ Association Economic
    7  Crime, Fraud, and Corruption Investigation Pilot Program.—
    8         (1) The Condominium and Homeowners’ Association Economic
    9  Crime, Fraud, and Corruption Investigation Pilot Program is
   10  created within the Department of Legal Affairs, Office of the
   11  Attorney General. The purpose of the pilot program is to
   12  investigate condominium and homeowners’ association-related
   13  economic crime, fraud, and corruption in this state. For the
   14  purposes of this section, the term “corruption” means the act of
   15  an official or fiduciary person who unlawfully and wrongfully
   16  uses his or her position to procure some benefit for himself or
   17  herself or for another person, contrary to the duty and rights
   18  of others. The department may contract with a private entity
   19  that employs retired law enforcement officers who have subject
   20  matter expertise in financial fraud to achieve the purpose of
   21  the pilot program. If the department does not contract with a
   22  private entity, the department must hire a suitable number of
   23  financial investigators, investigators with previous law
   24  enforcement experience, and clerical employees to staff the
   25  pilot program.
   26         (2) A person may submit a condominium or homeowners’
   27  association-related complaint to the Office of the Condominium
   28  and Homeowners’ Ombudsman. The ombudsman shall review all
   29  complaints submitted to the office and determine which
   30  complaints to forward to the department for additional analysis
   31  and investigation under the pilot program. If a complaint
   32  submitted to the pilot program does not contain allegations of
   33  economic crimes, fraud, or corruption, the task force must
   34  forward the complaint to the Division of Florida Condominiums,
   35  Timeshares, and Mobile Homes, which shall investigate claims
   36  made pursuant to s. 718.501.
   37         (3) The department has the power to issue subpoenas and
   38  conduct audits for investigations in furtherance of the pilot
   39  program, and may administer oaths, subpoena witnesses, and
   40  compel production of books, papers, or other records relevant to
   41  such investigations. If, after reviewing a complaint filed under
   42  the pilot program, the department finds sufficient evidence for
   43  criminal prosecution, it must refer the case to the appropriate
   44  state attorney for prosecution.
   45         (4) The department shall fund the pilot program from the
   46  Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes
   47  Trust Fund as specifically appropriated annually in the General
   48  Appropriations Act.
   49         (5) The pilot program’s primary office shall be located in
   50  Miami-Dade County.
   51         (6) This section is repealed October 2, 2029, unless
   52  reviewed and saved from repeal through reenactment by the
   53  Legislature.
   54         Section 2. Paragraph (w) is added to subsection (1) of
   55  section 215.22, Florida Statutes, to read:
   56         215.22 Certain income and certain trust funds exempt.—
   57         (1) The following income of a revenue nature or the
   58  following trust funds shall be exempt from the appropriation
   59  required by s. 215.20(1):
   60         (w) The Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and
   61  Mobile Homes Trust Fund.
   62         Section 3. Paragraph (h) of subsection (11) of section
   63  718.111, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
   64         718.111 The association.—
   65         (11) INSURANCE.—In order to protect the safety, health, and
   66  welfare of the people of the State of Florida and to ensure
   67  consistency in the provision of insurance coverage to
   68  condominiums and their unit owners, this subsection applies to
   69  every residential condominium in the state, regardless of the
   70  date of its declaration of condominium. It is the intent of the
   71  Legislature to encourage lower or stable insurance premiums for
   72  associations described in this subsection.
   73         (h) The association shall maintain insurance or fidelity
   74  bonding of all persons who control or disburse funds of the
   75  association. The insurance policy or fidelity bond must cover
   76  the maximum funds that will be in the custody of the association
   77  or its management agent at any one time. The division shall
   78  monitor compliance with this paragraph and may issue fines and
   79  penalties established by the division for failure of an
   80  association to maintain the required insurance policy or
   81  fidelity bond. As used in this paragraph, the term “persons who
   82  control or disburse funds of the association” includes, but is
   83  not limited to, those individuals authorized to sign checks on
   84  behalf of the association, and the president, secretary, and
   85  treasurer of the association. The association shall bear the
   86  cost of any such bonding.
   87         Section 4. Section 718.13, Florida Statutes, is created to
   88  read:
   89         718.13 Database for condominium association information.—
   90         (1) By July 1, 2026, the division shall establish a
   91  searchable cloud-based database that contains information
   92  regarding each condominium association operating within this
   93  state. The division shall establish rules and procedures for how
   94  an association is to provide such information. The database must
   95  allow a user to search the name by which a condominium property
   96  is identified to find the association that governs such
   97  property. At a minimum, the database must include all of the
   98  following information for each association:
   99         (a) The names, e-mail addresses, and other contact
  100  information of officers and directors of the association.
  101         (b) An indication that the association is self-managed, or,
  102  if not self-managed, the contact information for any person
  103  licensed under part VIII of chapter 468 and responsible for
  104  management of the association.
  105         (c) A copy of the association’s governing documents,
  106  including, but not limited to, declarations, bylaws, and rules
  107  and any amendments thereto.
  108         (d) A copy of the association’s adopted annual budget, in a
  109  file format that is compatible with the database, which includes
  110  the amount and purpose of any monthly assessments and current or
  111  pending special assessments levied by the association.
  112         (e) A copy of any studies regarding funds in reserve
  113  accounts held by the association or any reports regarding the
  114  physical inspection of properties maintained by the association,
  115  including any structural integrity reserve studies conducted
  116  under s. 718.112(2)(g) of such properties.
  117         (2) An association must notify the division of any changes
  118  to the information related to the association which is included
  119  in the database within 30 days after such changes occur.
  120         (3) Expenses associated with the creation and
  121  administration of the database must be funded in part by
  122  proceeds from the annual fee paid by associations pursuant to s.
  123  718.501(2)(a).
  124         Section 5. Subsection (1) of section 718.501, Florida
  125  Statutes, is amended to read:
  126         718.501 Authority, responsibility, and duties of Division
  127  of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes.—
  128         (1) The division may enforce and ensure compliance with
  129  this chapter and rules relating to the development,
  130  construction, sale, lease, ownership, operation, and management
  131  of residential condominium units and complaints related to the
  132  procedural completion of milestone inspections under s. 553.899.
  133  In performing its duties, the division has complete jurisdiction
  134  to investigate complaints and enforce compliance with respect to
  135  associations that are still under developer control or the
  136  control of a bulk assignee or bulk buyer pursuant to part VII of
  137  this chapter and complaints against developers, bulk assignees,
  138  or bulk buyers involving improper turnover or failure to
  139  turnover, pursuant to s. 718.301. However, after turnover has
  140  occurred, the division has jurisdiction to investigate
  141  complaints related only to financial issues, elections, and the
  142  maintenance of and unit owner access to association records
  143  under s. 718.111(12), and the procedural completion of
  144  structural integrity reserve studies under s. 718.112(2)(g). If
  145  the division receives a complaint about an association which
  146  alleges economic crimes, fraud, or corruption, the division must
  147  forward the complaint to the Office of the Condominium and
  148  Homeowners’ Ombudsman, pursuant to s. 16.0151.
  149         (a)1. The division may make necessary public or private
  150  investigations within or outside this state to determine whether
  151  any person has violated this chapter or any rule or order
  152  hereunder, to aid in the enforcement of this chapter, or to aid
  153  in the adoption of rules or forms.
  154         2. The division may submit any official written report,
  155  worksheet, or other related paper, or a duly certified copy
  156  thereof, compiled, prepared, drafted, or otherwise made by and
  157  duly authenticated by a financial examiner or analyst to be
  158  admitted as competent evidence in any hearing in which the
  159  financial examiner or analyst is available for cross-examination
  160  and attests under oath that such documents were prepared as a
  161  result of an examination or inspection conducted pursuant to
  162  this chapter.
  163         (b) The division may require or permit any person to file a
  164  statement in writing, under oath or otherwise, as the division
  165  determines, as to the facts and circumstances concerning a
  166  matter to be investigated.
  167         (c) For the purpose of any investigation under this
  168  chapter, the division director or any officer or employee
  169  designated by the division director may administer oaths or
  170  affirmations, subpoena witnesses and compel their attendance,
  171  take evidence, and require the production of any matter which is
  172  relevant to the investigation, including the existence,
  173  description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any
  174  books, documents, or other tangible things and the identity and
  175  location of persons having knowledge of relevant facts or any
  176  other matter reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of
  177  material evidence. Upon the failure by a person to obey a
  178  subpoena or to answer questions propounded by the investigating
  179  officer and upon reasonable notice to all affected persons, the
  180  division may apply to the circuit court for an order compelling
  181  compliance.
  182         (d) Notwithstanding any remedies available to unit owners
  183  and associations, if the division has reasonable cause to
  184  believe that a violation of any provision of this chapter or
  185  related rule has occurred, the division may institute
  186  enforcement proceedings in its own name against any developer,
  187  bulk assignee, bulk buyer, association, officer, or member of
  188  the board of administration, or its assignees or agents, as
  189  follows:
  190         1. The division may permit a person whose conduct or
  191  actions may be under investigation to waive formal proceedings
  192  and enter into a consent proceeding whereby orders, rules, or
  193  letters of censure or warning, whether formal or informal, may
  194  be entered against the person.
  195         2. The division may issue an order requiring the developer,
  196  bulk assignee, bulk buyer, association, developer-designated
  197  officer, or developer-designated member of the board of
  198  administration, developer-designated assignees or agents, bulk
  199  assignee-designated assignees or agents, bulk buyer-designated
  200  assignees or agents, community association manager, or community
  201  association management firm to cease and desist from the
  202  unlawful practice and take such affirmative action as in the
  203  judgment of the division carry out the purposes of this chapter.
  204  If the division finds that a developer, bulk assignee, bulk
  205  buyer, association, officer, or member of the board of
  206  administration, or its assignees or agents, is violating or is
  207  about to violate any provision of this chapter, any rule adopted
  208  or order issued by the division, or any written agreement
  209  entered into with the division, and presents an immediate danger
  210  to the public requiring an immediate final order, it may issue
  211  an emergency cease and desist order reciting with particularity
  212  the facts underlying such findings. The emergency cease and
  213  desist order is effective for 90 days. If the division begins
  214  nonemergency cease and desist proceedings, the emergency cease
  215  and desist order remains effective until the conclusion of the
  216  proceedings under ss. 120.569 and 120.57.
  217         3. If a developer, bulk assignee, or bulk buyer fails to
  218  pay any restitution determined by the division to be owed, plus
  219  any accrued interest at the highest rate permitted by law,
  220  within 30 days after expiration of any appellate time period of
  221  a final order requiring payment of restitution or the conclusion
  222  of any appeal thereof, whichever is later, the division must
  223  bring an action in circuit or county court on behalf of any
  224  association, class of unit owners, lessees, or purchasers for
  225  restitution, declaratory relief, injunctive relief, or any other
  226  available remedy. The division may also temporarily revoke its
  227  acceptance of the filing for the developer to which the
  228  restitution relates until payment of restitution is made.
  229         4. The division may petition the court for appointment of a
  230  receiver or conservator. If appointed, the receiver or
  231  conservator may take action to implement the court order to
  232  ensure the performance of the order and to remedy any breach
  233  thereof. In addition to all other means provided by law for the
  234  enforcement of an injunction or temporary restraining order, the
  235  circuit court may impound or sequester the property of a party
  236  defendant, including books, papers, documents, and related
  237  records, and allow the examination and use of the property by
  238  the division and a court-appointed receiver or conservator.
  239         5. The division may apply to the circuit court for an order
  240  of restitution whereby the defendant in an action brought under
  241  subparagraph 4. is ordered to make restitution of those sums
  242  shown by the division to have been obtained by the defendant in
  243  violation of this chapter. At the option of the court, such
  244  restitution is payable to the conservator or receiver appointed
  245  under subparagraph 4. or directly to the persons whose funds or
  246  assets were obtained in violation of this chapter.
  247         6. The division may impose a civil penalty against a
  248  developer, bulk assignee, or bulk buyer, or association, or its
  249  assignee or agent, for any violation of this chapter or related
  250  rule. The division may impose a civil penalty individually
  251  against an officer or board member who willfully and knowingly
  252  violates this chapter, an adopted rule, or a final order of the
  253  division; may order the removal of such individual as an officer
  254  or from the board of administration or as an officer of the
  255  association; and may prohibit such individual from serving as an
  256  officer or on the board of a community association for a period
  257  of time. The term “willfully and knowingly” means that the
  258  division informed the officer or board member that his or her
  259  action or intended action violates this chapter, a rule adopted
  260  under this chapter, or a final order of the division and that
  261  the officer or board member refused to comply with the
  262  requirements of this chapter, a rule adopted under this chapter,
  263  or a final order of the division. The division, before
  264  initiating formal agency action under chapter 120, must afford
  265  the officer or board member an opportunity to voluntarily
  266  comply, and an officer or board member who complies within 10
  267  days is not subject to a civil penalty. A penalty may be imposed
  268  on the basis of each day of continuing violation, but the
  269  penalty for any offense may not exceed $5,000. The division
  270  shall adopt, by rule, penalty guidelines applicable to possible
  271  violations or to categories of violations of this chapter or
  272  rules adopted by the division. The guidelines must specify a
  273  meaningful range of civil penalties for each such violation of
  274  the statute and rules and must be based upon the harm caused by
  275  the violation, upon the repetition of the violation, and upon
  276  such other factors deemed relevant by the division. For example,
  277  the division may consider whether the violations were committed
  278  by a developer, bulk assignee, or bulk buyer, or owner
  279  controlled association, the size of the association, and other
  280  factors. The guidelines must designate the possible mitigating
  281  or aggravating circumstances that justify a departure from the
  282  range of penalties provided by the rules. It is the legislative
  283  intent that minor violations be distinguished from those which
  284  endanger the health, safety, or welfare of the condominium
  285  residents or other persons and that such guidelines provide
  286  reasonable and meaningful notice to the public of likely
  287  penalties that may be imposed for proscribed conduct. This
  288  subsection does not limit the ability of the division to
  289  informally dispose of administrative actions or complaints by
  290  stipulation, agreed settlement, or consent order. All amounts
  291  collected shall be deposited with the Chief Financial Officer to
  292  the credit of the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares,
  293  and Mobile Homes Trust Fund. If a developer, bulk assignee, or
  294  bulk buyer fails to pay the civil penalty and the amount deemed
  295  to be owed to the association, the division shall issue an order
  296  directing that such developer, bulk assignee, or bulk buyer
  297  cease and desist from further operation until such time as the
  298  civil penalty is paid or may pursue enforcement of the penalty
  299  in a court of competent jurisdiction. If an association fails to
  300  pay the civil penalty, the division shall pursue enforcement in
  301  a court of competent jurisdiction, and the order imposing the
  302  civil penalty or the cease and desist order is not effective
  303  until 20 days after the date of such order. Any action commenced
  304  by the division shall be brought in the county in which the
  305  division has its executive offices or in the county where the
  306  violation occurred.
  307         7. If a unit owner presents the division with proof that
  308  the unit owner has requested access to official records in
  309  writing by certified mail, and that after 10 days the unit owner
  310  again made the same request for access to official records in
  311  writing by certified mail, and that more than 10 days has
  312  elapsed since the second request and the association has still
  313  failed or refused to provide access to official records as
  314  required by this chapter, the division shall issue a subpoena
  315  requiring production of the requested records where the records
  316  are kept pursuant to s. 718.112.
  317         8. In addition to subparagraph 6., the division may seek
  318  the imposition of a civil penalty through the circuit court for
  319  any violation for which the division may issue a notice to show
  320  cause under paragraph (r). The civil penalty shall be at least
  321  $500 but no more than $5,000 for each violation. The court may
  322  also award to the prevailing party court costs and reasonable
  323  attorney fees and, if the division prevails, may also award
  324  reasonable costs of investigation.
  325         (e) The division may prepare and disseminate a prospectus
  326  and other information to assist prospective owners, purchasers,
  327  lessees, and developers of residential condominiums in assessing
  328  the rights, privileges, and duties pertaining thereto.
  329         (f) The division may adopt rules to administer and enforce
  330  this chapter.
  331         (g) The division shall establish procedures for providing
  332  notice to an association and the developer, bulk assignee, or
  333  bulk buyer during the period in which the developer, bulk
  334  assignee, or bulk buyer controls the association if the division
  335  is considering the issuance of a declaratory statement with
  336  respect to the declaration of condominium or any related
  337  document governing such condominium community.
  338         (h) The division shall furnish each association that pays
  339  the fees required by paragraph (2)(a) a copy of this chapter, as
  340  amended, and the rules adopted thereto on an annual basis.
  341         (i) The division shall annually provide each association
  342  with a summary of declaratory statements and formal legal
  343  opinions relating to the operations of condominiums which were
  344  rendered by the division during the previous year.
  345         (j) The division shall provide training and educational
  346  programs for condominium association board members and unit
  347  owners. The training may, in the division’s discretion, include
  348  web-based electronic media and live training and seminars in
  349  various locations throughout the state. The division may review
  350  and approve education and training programs for board members
  351  and unit owners offered by providers and shall maintain a
  352  current list of approved programs and providers and make such
  353  list available to board members and unit owners in a reasonable
  354  and cost-effective manner.
  355         (k) The division shall maintain a toll-free telephone
  356  number accessible to condominium unit owners.
  357         (l) The division shall develop a program to certify both
  358  volunteer and paid mediators to provide mediation of condominium
  359  disputes. The division shall provide, upon request, a list of
  360  such mediators to any association, unit owner, or other
  361  participant in alternative dispute resolution proceedings under
  362  s. 718.1255 requesting a copy of the list. The division shall
  363  include on the list of volunteer mediators only the names of
  364  persons who have received at least 20 hours of training in
  365  mediation techniques or who have mediated at least 20 disputes.
  366  In order to become initially certified by the division, paid
  367  mediators must be certified by the Supreme Court to mediate
  368  court cases in county or circuit courts. However, the division
  369  may adopt, by rule, additional factors for the certification of
  370  paid mediators, which must be related to experience, education,
  371  or background. Any person initially certified as a paid mediator
  372  by the division must, in order to continue to be certified,
  373  comply with the factors or requirements adopted by rule.
  374         (m) If a complaint is made, the division must conduct its
  375  inquiry with due regard for the interests of the affected
  376  parties. Within 30 days after receipt of a complaint, the
  377  division shall acknowledge the complaint in writing and notify
  378  the complainant whether the complaint is within the jurisdiction
  379  of the division and whether additional information is needed by
  380  the division from the complainant. The division shall conduct
  381  its investigation and, within 90 days after receipt of the
  382  original complaint or of timely requested additional
  383  information, take action upon the complaint. However, the
  384  failure to complete the investigation within 90 days does not
  385  prevent the division from continuing the investigation,
  386  accepting or considering evidence obtained or received after 90
  387  days, or taking administrative action if reasonable cause exists
  388  to believe that a violation of this chapter or a rule has
  389  occurred. If an investigation is not completed within the time
  390  limits established in this paragraph, the division shall, on a
  391  monthly basis, notify the complainant in writing of the status
  392  of the investigation. When reporting its action to the
  393  complainant, the division shall inform the complainant of any
  394  right to a hearing under ss. 120.569 and 120.57. The division
  395  may adopt rules regarding the submission of a complaint against
  396  an association.
  397         (n) Condominium association directors, officers, and
  398  employees; condominium developers; bulk assignees, bulk buyers,
  399  and community association managers; and community association
  400  management firms have an ongoing duty to reasonably cooperate
  401  with the division in any investigation under this section. The
  402  division shall refer to local law enforcement authorities any
  403  person whom the division believes has altered, destroyed,
  404  concealed, or removed any record, document, or thing required to
  405  be kept or maintained by this chapter with the purpose to impair
  406  its verity or availability in the department’s investigation.
  407         (o) The division may:
  408         1. Contract with agencies in this state or other
  409  jurisdictions to perform investigative functions; or
  410         2. Accept grants-in-aid from any source.
  411         (p) The division shall cooperate with similar agencies in
  412  other jurisdictions to establish uniform filing procedures and
  413  forms, public offering statements, advertising standards, and
  414  rules and common administrative practices.
  415         (q) The division shall consider notice to a developer, bulk
  416  assignee, or bulk buyer to be complete when it is delivered to
  417  the address of the developer, bulk assignee, or bulk buyer
  418  currently on file with the division.
  419         (r) In addition to its enforcement authority, the division
  420  may issue a notice to show cause, which must provide for a
  421  hearing, upon written request, in accordance with chapter 120.
  422         (s) The division shall submit to the Governor, the
  423  President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of
  424  Representatives, and the chairs of the legislative
  425  appropriations committees an annual report that includes, but
  426  need not be limited to, the number of training programs provided
  427  for condominium association board members and unit owners, the
  428  number of complaints received by type, the number and percent of
  429  complaints acknowledged in writing within 30 days and the number
  430  and percent of investigations acted upon within 90 days in
  431  accordance with paragraph (m), and the number of investigations
  432  exceeding the 90-day requirement. The annual report must also
  433  include an evaluation of the division’s core business processes
  434  and make recommendations for improvements, including statutory
  435  changes. The report shall be submitted by September 30 following
  436  the end of the fiscal year.
  437         Section 6. Subsection (1) of section 718.5011, Florida
  438  Statutes, is amended to read:
  439         718.5011 Ombudsman; appointment; administration.—
  440         (1) There is created an Office of the Condominium and
  441  Homeowners’ Ombudsman, to be located for administrative purposes
  442  within the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and
  443  Mobile Homes. The functions of the office shall be funded by the
  444  Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes
  445  Trust Fund. The ombudsman shall be a bureau chief of the
  446  division, and the office shall be set within the division in the
  447  same manner as any other bureau is staffed and funded.
  448         Section 7. Subsections (3) through (10) of section
  449  718.5012, Florida Statutes, are amended, and subsections (11),
  450  (12), and (13) are added to that section, to read:
  451         718.5012 Ombudsman; powers and duties.—The ombudsman shall
  452  have the powers that are necessary to carry out the duties of
  453  his or her office for this chapter and chapter 720, including
  454  the following specific powers:
  455         (3) To prepare and issue reports and recommendations to the
  456  Governor, the department, the division, the Advisory Council on
  457  Condominiums, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of
  458  the House of Representatives on any matter or subject within the
  459  jurisdiction of the division. The ombudsman shall make
  460  recommendations he or she deems appropriate for legislation
  461  relative to division procedures, rules, jurisdiction, personnel,
  462  and functions.
  463         (4) To act as liaison between the division, unit owners,
  464  boards of directors, board members, community association
  465  managers, and other affected parties under this chapter and
  466  chapter 720. The ombudsman shall develop policies and procedures
  467  to assist homeowners, unit owners, boards of directors, board
  468  members, community association managers, and other affected
  469  parties to understand their rights and responsibilities as set
  470  forth in this chapter and the condominium documents governing
  471  their respective associations association. The ombudsman shall
  472  coordinate and assist in the preparation and adoption of
  473  educational and reference material, and shall endeavor to
  474  coordinate with private or volunteer providers of these
  475  services, so that the availability of these resources is made
  476  known to the largest possible audience.
  477         (5) To monitor and review procedures and disputes
  478  concerning condominium elections or meetings, including, but not
  479  limited to, recommending that the division pursue enforcement
  480  action in any manner where there is reasonable cause to believe
  481  that election misconduct has occurred and reviewing secret
  482  ballots cast at a vote of the association.
  483         (6) To make recommendations to the division for changes in
  484  rules and procedures for the filing, investigation, and
  485  resolution of complaints filed by homeowners, unit owners,
  486  associations, and managers.
  487         (7) To provide resources to assist members of boards of
  488  directors and officers of associations to carry out their powers
  489  and duties consistent with this chapter, chapter 720, division
  490  rules, and the condominium documents governing the association.
  491         (8) To encourage and facilitate voluntary meetings with and
  492  between homeowners, unit owners, boards of directors, board
  493  members, community association managers, and other affected
  494  parties when the meetings may assist in resolving a dispute
  495  within a community association before a person submits a dispute
  496  for a formal or administrative remedy. It is the intent of the
  497  Legislature that the ombudsman act as a neutral resource for
  498  both the rights and responsibilities of homeowners, unit owners,
  499  associations, and board members.
  500         (9) To assist with the resolution of disputes between
  501  homeowners, unit owners, and the association or between
  502  homeowners or unit owners when the dispute is not within the
  503  jurisdiction of the division to resolve.
  504         (10) To appoint an election monitor to attend the annual
  505  meeting of the homeowner or unit owners and conduct the election
  506  of directors if 15 percent of the total voting interests in an
  507  association, or six owners, whichever is greater, make such a
  508  petition to the ombudsman Fifteen percent of the total voting
  509  interests in a condominium association, or six unit owners,
  510  whichever is greater, may petition the ombudsman to appoint an
  511  election monitor to attend the annual meeting of the unit owners
  512  and conduct the election of directors. The ombudsman shall
  513  appoint a division employee, a person or persons specializing in
  514  homeowners’ association or condominium election monitoring, as
  515  applicable, or an attorney licensed to practice in this state as
  516  the election monitor. All costs associated with the election
  517  monitoring process shall be paid by the association. The
  518  division shall adopt a rule establishing procedures for the
  519  appointment of election monitors and the scope and extent of the
  520  monitor’s role in the election process.
  521         (11)To void an election if the ombudsman determines that a
  522  violation of this chapter or chapter 720 has occurred relating
  523  to elections.
  524         (12)To petition the court to appoint a receiver if the
  525  appointment of a receiver is in the best interests of the
  526  association or owners.
  527         (13)To issue subpoenas and conduct audits for
  528  investigations for the purposes of the Condominium and
  529  Homeowners’ Association Economic Crime, Fraud, and Corruption
  530  Investigation Pilot Program established under s. 16.0151.
  531         Section 8. Subsection (2) of section 718.509, Florida
  532  Statutes, is amended to read:
  533         718.509 Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and
  534  Mobile Homes Trust Fund.—
  535         (2) All moneys collected by the division from fees, fines,
  536  or penalties or from costs awarded to the division by a court or
  537  administrative final order must shall be paid into the Division
  538  of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes Trust
  539  Fund. The Legislature shall appropriate funds from this trust
  540  fund sufficient to administer carry out the provisions of this
  541  chapter and the provisions of law with respect to each category
  542  of business covered by the trust fund. The division shall
  543  maintain separate revenue accounts in the trust fund for each of
  544  the businesses regulated by the division. The division shall
  545  provide for the proportionate allocation among the accounts of
  546  expenses incurred by the division in the performance of its
  547  duties with respect to each of these businesses. As part of its
  548  normal budgetary process, the division shall prepare an annual
  549  report of revenue and allocated expenses related to the
  550  operation of each of these businesses, which may be used to
  551  determine fees charged by the division. This subsection shall
  552  operate pursuant to the provisions of s. 215.20.
  554  ================= T I T L E  A M E N D M E N T ================
  555  And the title is amended as follows:
  556         Delete lines 3 - 66
  557  and insert:
  558         16.0151, F.S.; creating the Condominium and
  559         Homeowners’ Association Economic Crime, Fraud, and
  560         Corruption Investigation Pilot Program within the
  561         Department of Legal Affairs in the Office of the
  562         Attorney General; providing the purpose of the pilot
  563         program; defining the term “corruption”; authorizing
  564         the department to contract with a private entity to
  565         achieve the program’s purpose; requiring the
  566         department to hire specified personnel under certain
  567         circumstances; authorizing the submission of
  568         complaints to the Office of the Condominium and
  569         Homeowners’ Ombudsman; requiring the ombudsman to
  570         review such complaints and take specified actions;
  571         providing powers of and requirements for the
  572         department relating to the pilot program; requiring
  573         that the pilot program be funded from the Division of
  574         Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes
  575         Trust Fund; requiring that the pilot program’s primary
  576         office be located in Miami-Dade County; providing for
  577         future repeal of the pilot program unless it is
  578         reviewed and saved from repeal by the Legislature;
  579         amending s. 215.22, F.S.; exempting the Division of
  580         Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes
  581         Trust Fund from contributing to the General Revenue
  582         Fund; amending s. 718.111, F.S.; requiring the
  583         division to monitor condominium associations’
  584         compliance with requirements relating to maintenance
  585         of certain insurance or fidelity bonding of certain
  586         persons; authorizing the division to issue fines and
  587         penalties for noncompliance; creating s. 718.13, F.S.;
  588         requiring the division to establish a searchable
  589         cloud-based database by a specified date which
  590         contains specified information regarding each
  591         condominium association in this state; requiring the
  592         division to establish rules and procedures for
  593         associations to report such information; requiring a
  594         condominium association to notify the division of any
  595         changes to the information related to the association
  596         which is listed in the database; requiring that the
  597         creation and administration of the database be funded
  598         in part by specified proceeds; amending s. 718.501,
  599         F.S.; requiring the division to forward complaints
  600         received alleging fraud or corruption to the Office of
  601         the Condominium and Homeowners’ Ombudsman; amending s.
  602         718.5011, F.S.; renaming the Office of the Condominium
  603         Ombudsman as the Office of the Condominium and
  604         Homeowners’ Ombudsman; amending s. 718.5012, F.S.;
  605         revising the powers of the ombudsman; amending s.
  606         718.509, F.S.; conforming a provision to changes made
  607         by the act; making technical changes; providing an
  608         effective date.