In the case that the governor of Florida declares a state of emergency, HOA board members now have the power to borrow money and hire service providers to remedy any emergency issues. These changes were first proposed when the state was hit with 3 consecutive hurricanes that caused chaos with many homeowner associations. The organizations found themselves powerless to enforce common sense regulations such as preventing residents from throwing “hurricane parties” in the community pool or enforcing mandatory evacuation orders.
Besides being able to borrow money and contract for services, HOA board members can charge home owners special assessment fees for emergency-related expenses and appoint assistant officers that have the freedom to make decisions concerning HOA assets. For example, if a clubhouse needs to be repaired, the HOA can now charge its members a fee without sending a notice to the home owners or calling a meeting of board members.
“Having to have a certain amount of advance notice to call meetings and a quorum of board members and money you can’t touch in reserves and, meanwhile, the building is exposed to the elements … well, it just didn’t make sense,” said South Florida attorney Donna Berger
“Having to have a certain amount of advance notice to call meetings and a quorum of board members and money you can’t touch in reserves and, meanwhile, the building is exposed to the elements … well, it just didn’t make sense,” said Donna Berger, a South Florida attorney involved with the new legislation. She assures that homeowner associations will only be able to use these powers if there is a state of emergency declared in order to prevent abuse.
The new law has been met with some opposition. Homeowner advocacy group Cyber Citizens for Justice, has concerns that homeowner associations will abuse their new emergency powers. Their main argument being that association should not have the power to enter into big contracts without approval of its members. Any “emergency” can be handled with due process and approval from the paying residents of the community.
Francisco Orchilles, Realtor | Dr. Phillips Real Estate Specialist | The Orchilles Realty Group | Keller Williams Classic Realty