September 2020: Some News Laws Affecting Community Associations

First, we hope you and yours are well during these trying times. We look forward to the return of some form of normalcy in the not too distant future. Some comments about a couple of new Florida laws that affect community associations:

Florida Registration as Housing for Older Persons

Chapter 760, F. S. is entitled Discrimination in the Treatment of Persons; Minority Representation. The statute contains The Florida Fair Housing Act, Sections 760.20-760.37 Florida Statutes, which exempts communities that qualify as “Housing for Older Persons” under federal and state law from the provisions and requirements of the Florida Fair Housing Act regarding familial status. However, the statute required communities and homeowners associations responsible for the operation of communities that qualified as Housing for Older Persons to register with the Florida Commission on Human Relations, and to file a certification every two years with the Commission stating that the community continues to comply with the requirements necessary to qualify as housing for older persons under federal and state law.

Florida House Bill 255, Florida Law 2020 -153, signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis on June 30, 2020, and effective July 1, 2020, eliminates the requirement for communities that qualify as Housing for Older Persons to register with the Commission. In addition, homeowners’ associations responsible for the operation of communities that qualify as Housing for Older Persons under federal and state law are no longer required to submit a letter to the Commission every two years stating that the community complies with the requirements to qualify as housing for older persons under federal and state law.

The changes to the Act eliminating the requirements to initially register and biennially file a certification of compliance with the Act’s provisions, have no effect on the requirements of federal law governing housing for older persons. Specifically, communities that qualify as housing for older persons under federal law must continue to comply with federal requirements including publishing and adhering to policies and procedures that demonstrate the intent to be for older persons and complying with the federal regulations relating to verification of occupancy, which regulations require verification by reliable surveys and affidavits.

Parking Law Enforcement Vehicles in Community Associations

Another new law passed in the 2020 Legislative section deals with parking law enforcement vehicles in community associations. Chapters 718, 719 and 720 were all amended with  virtually the same language which provides that an association may not prohibit a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(1), who is a unit or parcel owner, or who is a tenant, guest, or invitee of a unit or parcel owner, from parking his or her assigned law enforcement vehicle in an area where the unit owner, or the tenant, guest, or invitee of the unit owner, otherwise has a right to park. This language is contained in Florida Senate Bill 476 which is now Chapter 2020-5 of the Laws of Florida.

Annual Meetings

We have received numerous questions about conducting annual meetings in the fall and beyond. Currently, the state is still under The Governor’s State of Emergency order which is as of today scheduled to expire September 7, 2020. The State of Emergency provision allows community associations to operate under the section on each law giving Emergency Powers to the Board to do what is necessary to cope with the situation which includes rescheduling or cancelling meetings. If the State of Emergency is not extended, we will revert back to normal operations as far as annual meetings and board meetings go.

If you intend to hold an annual meeting, be sure the association complies with whatever directives are issued by the state with regards to social distancing and the numbers allowed to gather in a group setting. I have talked to some associations who are planning to hold the annual meeting outside on the grounds of the association. Be sure our and your boards plan accordingly.

Continuing Education

The community association manager license expires September 30, 2020. Licensees must renew the license and pay the license fee by that date. For those licensed before October 1, 2018, you must compete your continuing education before you can renew your license. Those who were licensed after September 30, 2018 do not have to complete any continuing education for this renewal period. Those licensed in the period July 1, 2020 through September 30, 2020 will not have to renew the initial license until September 30, 2022. You will be required to complete the continuing education requirement in effect at that time.

Contact the DBPR to pay your state license renewal fees by visiting www.myfloridalicense.com or by calling 1-850-487-1395. You may pay them by credit card before or after you have completed your continuing education. When both your CE’s and your payment are in your portal, you will become active through September 30, 2022.

We are still offering live continuing education classes using the Zoom platform. The schedule may be accessed at the following link:

https://www.graysystems.com/cam-classroom-schedule-through-zoom-2020/

We also offer the electronic version of our courses and hard copy correspondence courses. You can register for any of these at our website, www.graysystems.com or by calling our office at 800-223-5457.

Please let us know if we can provide additional information on any of the subjects contained in this newsletter or on any other issues related to community association management in the state of Florida.

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