disciplinary-actionBoard members and property managers of condominium communities need to be aware that the State of Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation issued revisions to rules pertaining to violations and penalties, 61B-21, Condominium Resolution Guidelines for Unit Owner Controlled Associations, which went into effect December 5, 2018.

The disciplinary guidelines detail minor violations and penalty guidelines within Chapter 718, F.S.  If a violation is deemed minor, the division will send a Notice of Noncompliance to the association. A community association’s failure to timely comply with the Notice of Noncompliance may result in sanctions, including civil monetary damages and enforcement. For the violations not deemed minor by the division, there is no longer a notice/warning requirement and, if found guilty of the violation, the Association may be fined pursuant to the new standards in the rule.   Rulemaking Authority 120.695, 718.501(1)(d)6., (f) FS. Law Implemented 718.501(1)(d)6. FS. History–New 6-4-98, Amended 10-23-18.

These disciplinary guidelines were enacted to inform affected parties about the range of penalties which may be imposed for violations, pursuant to subsection 61B-21.003 detailing penalty guidelines in the following categories: Accounting Records, Assessing, Board, Budgets, Commingle, Common Expenses, Conflict of Interest, Converter Reserves, Debit Card, Elections, Estoppel Certificate, Final Order, Fiduciary Duty, Investigation, Property, Records, Reporting, Reserves, Special Assessment and Website.

“It is important for community associations and the governing boards to understand the consequences and potential monetary ramifications they will face if they do not abide by these new guidelines,” said Alessandra Stivelman, attorney at Eisinger, Brown, Lewis, Frankel & Chaiet, P.A. “Ignoring or not fully compiling with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s rules, as well as Chapter 718, Florida Statutes, in a timely manner can have a detrimental effect on an association’s financial standing.”

If an association fails to comply with a Notice of Noncompliance, a civil penalty will be imposed between $5 and $10, per unit, for each minor violation. The penalty will be assessed beginning with the middle of the specified range and adjusted either up or down based upon any aggravating or accepted mitigating circumstances. The minimum total penalty to be assessed shall be calculated according to these guidelines or $500, whichever amount is greater. In no event shall a penalty for a minor violation exceed $2,500, the statutory maximum for a single minor violation. For all other violations (those not deemed to be minor), the penalty imposed is between $10-$30 per unit for each violation and the statutory maximum is $5,000.00. For both types of violations, multiple counts of the violated provision or a combination of the listed violations are added together to determine an overall total penalty.

Alessandra Stivelman, Esq.

 

Alessandra Stivelman, shareholder and partner at Eisinger Brown Lewis Frankel & Chaiet, P.A. is AV rated and focuses her practice on community association and real estate law. She can be reached at (954) 894-8000 x 304 or astivelman@eisingerlaw.com. Eisinger, Brown, Lewis, Frankel & Chaiet, P.A., is a full service Florida law firm focusing on community association law, real estate law, developer representation, commercial litigation and insurance law. Visit eisingerlaw.com.

  1. Chris Carter says:

    This seems to be a good first step.

    However, DBPR framework for filing a complaint is awkward and cumbersome for an aggrieved unit owner or owners. It is probably safe to say that there are hundreds, possibly thousands of violations currently out there that are negatively affecting Association members/owners. It is also safe to say that they don’t know what to do when faced with such situations. Most often, the CAM company and Association Attorney lean toward shielding violations from member awareness.

    Law is law and politics are politics. The two don’t usually blend too well.

  2. Harold Chanin says:

    If the LCAM will not, who specifically is responsible, authorized and liable to implement compliance and enforcement when the majority of directors violate FSS Ch. 617 and 718 and/or the association’s governing documents?

    • Alessandra Stivelman says:

      Hi Harold,
      The answer to that question depends on the issues, whether there are third party vendors involved, who are the board members (pre or post turnover), and several other details. Generally, the Board of Directors are responsible for certain matters and have a fiduciary duty to the owners and to act in the best interest of the Association. If the Board Members are not taking action, the owners may have several options to compel enforcement of the governing documents. Feel free to contact our office should you wish to discuss further.

    • Anonymous says:

      Report them to the State. It will take awhile for the State to take any action but at least you did what you could do officially. Then work locally to overthrow the corrupt BOD and bad property manager. I know that is easy said than done. My motto is the rules are made by those that show up. When A$$holes show up. A$$hole rules are made.

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