MIAMI – As the reality of a new law governing Florida’s condominium associations sets in, boards of directors and property managers are focusing on becoming compliant within the next year. According to one consultant, this process starts with developing new websites.
“We’re seeing a strong response to the section of the bill requiring condo associations with more than 150 units to have a compliant website,” said Todd Paton, president of Miami-based Paton Marketing, a website development firm that is consulting with these associations. “The law basically sets standards for websites and how they must contain specific information and follow strict security protocols.”
The legislation went into effect on July 1, 2017, and adds several requirements and prohibitions to the Florida Condominium Act and Florida Statutes Chapter 718 governing condominium associations. In a nutshell, the legislation mandates that boards become more accountable and transparent to their constituents.
The bill requires that all condominium associations with more than 150 units must have a compliant web site by July 1, 2018.
“Most associations in Florida are well run,” said Paton. “But due to the actions of a few bad apples, this legislation was created to provide the framework paving the way for honest and open operations.”
As with all online businesses, there is a concern about security. Paton urges all of these associations to select website designers who understand and have a track record of building secure online properties.
“Keep in mind that while attractive design and ease of navigation are important, there is nothing more important than protecting and securing valuable information,” he said. “In short, information should only be available to those who are entitled to seeing it – residents of the association communities.”
The new law stipulates that specific information must be updated in a timely fashion. Consequently, these sites should be easy to update so that the association remains compliant with the law. In addition, the new legislation maps out some very specific characteristics for a website. They include:
- Each owner must be provided a login and password
- The website must contain the various condominium association official records including all condominium documents, rules and regulations, management and other agreements to which the association is a party
- It must publish the annual budget and proposed an annual budget, financial reports, board certifications, notice of any unit owner meeting and the agenda within the statutory time periods. They must be posted in plain view on the front page of the website or a separate subpage of the website labeled “Notices” which is conspicuously visible and linked from the front page along with any document to be considered and voted on by the owners during the meeting or any document listed on the agenda, notices of board meetings and agendas within the statutory time periods.