There are several changes that are being considered during this legislative session which will directly impact HOAs if they become law. Two of those changes are:
- Fines may only be levied if the association was authorized by its original governing documents to impose fines; and
- The removal of the provision which allows a lien to be filed if the fine is $1,000 or more. Thus, an HOA will lose its ability to file a lien for fines.
Currently, 720.305(2) of the Florida Statutes gives HOAs the right to levy reasonable fines of up to $100 per violation against any member or any member’s tenant, guest, or invitee for the failure of the owner of the parcel or its occupant, licensee, or invitee to comply withy any provision of the declaration, the association bylaws, or reasonable rules of the association.
If the law is changed so that an association can only impose a fine if its original governing documents authorize it to do so, HOAs will lose a very inexpensive way to enforce its governing documents. If an association can’t impose a fine, the association will most likely have to turn to the association’s attorney to try to get an owner to comply with the governing documents whether it is by asking the association’s attorney to send a violation letter or to file an injunction to enforce the covenants and restrictions. Either way, this will increase the association’s costs.
The statute also provides that a fine of less than $1,000 may not become a lien against a parcel. Many people interpret this to mean that if a fine is more than $1,000, a lien may be imposed. SB 1348 is proposing to change the law so that an HOA will lose its ability to file a lien for fines regardless of the amount the amount of the fine.
If you oppose this change, contact your local legislatures and voice your opinion before it is too late.