New Requirements for Condominium Association on Inspections
of Official Records

New Requirements for Condominium Association on Inspections of Official Records

The Florida Legislature adopted House Bill (HB) 1021, which was recently signed into law by the Governor which makes certain changes to Chapter 718, Florida Statutes, known as the Condominium Act. It will become law on July 1, 2024. A comprehensive review of all of the changes is beyond the scope of this article, but one of the areas of law impacted by this bill is the inspection of the official records of the association by unit owners. The association should have reasonable rules in place regarding records requests and inspection. If the association does not, this would be a good time to talk to association counsel about adopting such rules. If there are already rules in place, association counsel should be consulted to ensure that the updates to the law reflected in the rules.

Maintaining the official records in an organized manner that facilitates inspection will be a requirement under the new law. What is considered an “organized manner” is not described. This, however, might be an impetus for the association to digitalize its official records and make them available on a section of its website only accessible to unit owners. This will also simplify inspections as the association may fulfill its obligations by directing an owner who has requested records to the website. (This can also be done via an application on a mobile device.) Additionally, when an owner requests records, the association will have to provide the requestor with a checklist of all of the records that were made available for inspection and copying, as well as identifying the records that were not made available to the requesting owner. The checklist itself also becomes an association record to be kept for seven years. Moreover, in the event that official records are lost, destroyed or unavailable, the association’s obligation to maintain official records will now also include a good faith obligation to obtain and recover missing records.

The new law also makes changes to the accessibility of email addresses and fax numbers of other unit owners. A current roster of all owners is part of the association official records. Email addresses and fax numbers are currently not accessible by other owners if consent to receive notices by electronic transmission is not provided. The new law provides that email addresses and fax numbers are only accessible to unit owners if consent to receive notice by electronic transmission is provided, or if the owner has expressly indicated that such personal information can be shared with other owners and the owner has not provided the association with a request to opt out of such dissemination with other owners.

With in the foregoing mind, the Condominium Act allows an association to adopt reasonable rules regarding frequency, time, location, notice, and manner of record inspections and copying. As stated, the association should discuss with counsel adopting such rules, or updating existing rules to ensure compliance with the new laws. Again, this is a large bill with major impact in a lot of different areas governing condominiums. The above only grazes the surface. Consulting with association counsel to navigate these changes is recommended.

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