Tuesday, October 20, 2009

One statute for all types of communities?

In Florida, we have five different statutes for five different types of community associations: 718 (condominiums), 719 (cooperatives), 720 (homeowners' associations), 721 (time shares) and 723 (mobile home parks).

While there is no doubt each of these kinds of communities have very different components, they all share certain procedural necessities as corporate entities (holding meetings, preparing budgets, etc.) that might benefit from one streamlined statutory process.

Vermont, Nevada and Minnesota are some of the states that have Common Interest Ownership Acts. Is it time that Florida join the list? Mark R. Benson, Past Chairman of the Florida Community Association Living Study Council, Past Member of the Regulatory Council of Community Association Managers, Past Vice-Chairman of the Advisory Council on Condominiums and a County Court Mediator, believes the answer is a resounding "Yes".

Mark has spearheaded a project known as the 7xx Project for Community Association Legislative Change whose highlights are as follows:

1. A single, streamlined uniform statute which addresses residential condominiums, HOA's and Co-ops;

2. Use of common language;

3. Replaces the DBPR with the Department of Agriculture Consumer Services;

4. Greater accountability for board members;

5. Better access to education and assistance;

6. More education for and discipline of community association managers; and

7. Places time shares and condo-hotels in a separate statute to which they are better suited.

If you want a copy of the 7xx Draft, please send an email request to mark@markRbenson.com and indicate if you want it in Word or PDF format.

Having one uniform common interest ownership statute will certainly make association attorneys' lives a little easier as it cuts down on the potential to misquote the wrong statute. The real question is will it make your life as a board member or a unit owner any easier?

No matter what you feel about "one statute to rule them all" most of us can agree that some sort of change is needed. Our Florida Condominium Act is one of the most bloated and incomprehensible laws on our books. At some point we might want to stop putting new parts in an old car and just buy a nice, shiny new one instead!

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