2023 Florida Community Association Legislative Update

By: Dan Greenberg. Esq., Greenberg Nikoloff P.A., Neal Bach, CPA, BJM Group

On June 24, 2021, Champlain Towers South, a 12-story condo building in Surfside, Florida, partially collapsed, tragically resulting in the loss of 98 lives. This devastating event prompted significant changes in Florida’s condo living, including laws passed in May 2022 that established new requirements for inspecting and funding repairs for buildings of at least three stories. These requirements include completing a Structural Integrity Reserve Study and a Milestone Inspection by December 31, 2024.

In 2023, Florida legislation continues to refine condo safety and operations. New bills were introduced this year to address some 2022 ambiguities and further define requirements for safe and legitimate building and association operations. To ensure compliance with the new laws, affected associations (regardless of building size) must take action promptly. Below is a basic overview of what we feel are the most important new laws. Please consult with your retained professionals for comprehensive guidance on ensuring compliance. We can help!

HB 919 – Homeowners Association Bill of Rights (Passed)

  • Prohibition on kickbacks to Board Members, with the exception of amounts less than $25 for food.
  • Grounds for immediate removal of Board Members for election violations, theft, or obstruction of justice.
  • Required conflict of interest disclosures when proposing to do business with a company owned or operated by a Board Member or their family.
  • Enhanced penalties for fraudulent voting activities.

HB 437 – Right to Install, Display, and Store Items on Their Lot (Passed)

  • Homeowners may store items on their property, regardless of deed restrictions, as long as they are not visible from the street or adjoining lots. This includes items like sheds, boats, and trailers.
  • Right to display a second approved (U.S., Florida, Armed Forces, etc.) flag on the lot.
  • Adds 9/11 to the dates an owner may display armed forces flags.

SB 154 – Milestone and SIRS Glitch Bill (Passed)

  • Refines and redefines aspects of the Structural Integrity Reserve Study and Milestone Inspections, including local authority to extend deadlines in certain instances.
  • Structural integrity reserve items with a life of more than 25 years are exempt.
  • Knowingly failing to complete SIRS or Milestone is a breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Removes the 25-year Milestone requirement if within 3 miles of a coastline and replaces it with local building department jurisdiction to require an inspection sooner than 30 years from the original issuance of the building’s Certificate of Occupancy.
  • Heightens the voting requirement to a strict majority of owners for future waiving or partial funding of non-SIRS reserve components.

HB 837 – Actions for Negligence (Passed)

  • Community associations are exempt from liability if a third party commits a crime on the property, as long as certain safeguards are met (video, surveillance, locks, etc.).

SB 2A – Insurance (Passed)

  • Cuts claim filing deadlines in half.
  • Reduces insurance pay/deny timeframe from 90 to 60 days. Also reduces investigation times.

Other relevant legislation:

Here are a few other bills passed recently that may impact you or your community. Please click on the links to read more.

Seek professional counsel to ensure you’re making the right decisions.

While most buildings are expected to require moderate fixes after inspections, some communities will face extensive and costly repairs. Unfortunately, there’s no state-sponsored financial assistance available.

Strict timelines and funding requirements will pose challenges for many Florida communities, and some may even consider disbanding or selling properties for redevelopment.

Boards must start planning early, reviewing finances, exploring funding sources, understanding legal and financial obligations, and building relationships with engineers and contractors. Taking these proactive steps will help your association navigate upcoming challenges and ensure resident safety. It’s time to plan ahead and face these hurdles head-on. Please contact us for guidance and assistance.

Greenberg Nikoloff, P.A. specializes in representing Florida community associations in legal matters, including collections, contract review, deed restriction enforcement, fair housing compliance, developer turnover claims, and litigation defense.

BJM Group is a network of accounting firms that offers auditing, bookkeeping, and tax preparation services to community associations. Local branches include WDC Suncoast, RCC Accounting, and DJA Suncoast.