As many of you know, Florida’s legislators, in a special session last year, attempted to respond to the tragic collapse of the condominium in Surfside with changes to the laws governing many community associations. Those changes may have been well-intended but created all kinds of headaches for condominium and cooperative associations and the unit owners, board members and managers of these communities.
Unit owners, board members and managers in resident-owned manufactured housing and RV communities found themselves struggling to answer the questions of whether–and to what extent–the “Surfside legislation” applied to their communities. Most, if not all, mobile home and RV communities do not have any buildings three stories or higher. Did these communities still have to have “milestone inspections”? Did they have to obtain “structural integrity reserve studies”? And what about their reserves? Did communities that did not have to have “milestone inspections” or “structural integrity reserve studies” have to provide for the reserve items now listed in Florida Statutes Section 719.104(1)(k) in their budgets? And could the unit owners no longer waive the reserve requirements?
History teaches us that in Florida, for every piece of well-intended and sweeping legislation, there is at least one “glitch bill” that swiftly follows. In the case of the “Surfside legislation”, that “glitch bill” is this year’s Senate Bill 154, which was signed into law by the Governor on June 9th and becomes effective unless otherwise provided immediately.
Here are some observations for our resident owned manufactured housing and RV cooperatives (and similar language can be found in the relevant provisions of Chapter 718 for those of you in manufactured housing or RV condominium associations):
- Florida Statutes Sections 553.899(2)(a) and (3)(a) now provide that communities with no buildings three stories or more in height are not required to have a “milestone inspection.”
- Florida Statutes Section 719.106(1)(k) provides that no “structural integrity reserve study” is required in communities with no buildings three stories or more in height (and the definition of “structural integrity reserve study” can be found in F.S. Section 719.103(24)).
- The requirement that an association’s budget provide that reserves be maintained for any of the items identified in F.S. Section 719.106(1)(k) seems to apply only to budgets adopted by an association that is required to obtain a “structural integrity reserve study.” This would appear to clarify that communities with no buildings three stories or more in height don’t need to provide for any of those items in their budgets except for those items that would otherwise already have to be included in their budgets.
There are two other important changes to note: First, the provisions in regard to the annual vote required to waive or underfund the reserves that would otherwise be required in the association’s budget under F.S. Section 719.106(1)(j) have been changed to require that a majority vote of the total voting interests in the association is now required to waive or underfund those reserves. This revision represents an increase from the former voting requirement of a simple majority of the quorum present in person or by limited proxy at the meeting. Also, in communities where no “milestone inspection” or “structural integrity reserve study” is required, all contracts for sale or resale of a unit entered into after December 31, 2024, must contain a statement, in conspicuous type, that indicated that the association is NOT required to have that milestone inspection or structural integrity study.
Let’s hope this “glitch bill” in fact makes our lives easier…we’re going to need all the help we can get over the next few months…as we’re already monitoring a developing storm (or two) out in the Atlantic!