As attorneys working exclusively with planned community associations for the past ten years, Business Law Group has seen a lot of different kinds of issues arise that can complicate collections of delinquent accounts. Defenses that have been raised at various times include whether owners are aware of their responsibilities to the association, whether the board has properly passed its budget, whether owners have been noticed and given an opportunity to attend annual and other meetings, etc. In the past we had to create a paper trail when this issue came up based on the documents kept by our clients. Fortunately, these days things have been greatly simplified by the introduction of the association website.
An association’s website contains a lot of useful information for current owners, future owners, and other interested parties. Websites differ from association to association; but all condominium associations with over 150 units are required to maintain a website and to include certain information on it. The requirements for the websites can be found in Section 718.111(12)(g) of the Florida Statutes. The best way to ensure that your website is statutorily up to par is to review the checklist of requirements below.
The statute indicates that the association’s website or web portal must be independently owned by the association. It may also be operated by a competent third-party provider. If a third-party provider operates the website, the association must control and operate some aspects of the website including information about the association’s activities; posting required notices; and maintaining records and documents. The website must be accessible through the internet and must have a protected electronic location which is only accessible to unit owners and association employees.
A copy of the following documents must be posted on the website:
a. The recorded declaration and amendments.
b. The recorded bylaws and amendments.
c. The articles of incorporation as filed with the state and each amendment.
d. The rules of the association.
e. A list of all service contracts and a list of bids received by the association within the past year.
f. The annual budget and any proposed budget to be considered at the annual meeting.
g. Financial reporting including any monthly income or expense statements to be considered at a meeting.
h. The certification of each director.
i. All contracts, agreements, or transactions between the association and any of its directors or officers or any corporate entities associated with an association director or officer.
j. Any contract or document regarding a conflict of interest or possible conflict of interest.
k. The notice of any unit owner meeting and the agenda for the meeting no later than 14 days before the meeting. There are specific requirements for how these notices must be posted to the website.
l. Other types of meeting notices
For anyone who has been involved with condominium associations for a long period of time, it is not hard to remember the posting requirements, mailing requirements, etc. and all the paper, time, and effort that were put into making sure everyone had the information required by the statute. An association’s website is a much simpler and far superior way to get that same information to owners, employees, agents, and anyone associated with the community.
Associations can now utilize their website to announce board meetings. Just as with the old paper notifications, all board meetings must be posted to the website with a minimum of 48 hours’ notice and an agenda which specifically covers all topic areas to be discussed – other than emergency meetings. If the association uses its website to announce board meetings, it must also email an electronic notice with a hyperlink to the notice on the website. The email must be sent to every owner for whom the association has an email in its records.
If an association follows the statutory guidelines for its website, it will have a number of legal and other benefits. A website is a much more convenient and organized way to maintain information and disburse notices. It also makes it easier to Business Law Group to protect the interests of the association in litigation. As part of our services, we are happy to review your association’s website to make sure it is in compliance with the statute or to help the association put a website together if it does not currently have one. At Business Law Group, we work exclusively with condominium associations and we are happy to put our expertise to work for you.