Florida’s HOA ‘Crime Bill’ HB 1237 should be emulated by other states

Finally, a strong HOA enforcement bill, HB 1237, has come law in Florida this July 1, 2017.  Penalties and fraud charges against the HOA, its directors and offices, and HOA managers became real. Sadly, the bill only pertains to condominiums.

In short, among other things, the new law allows for:

  1. Fraud charges for misuse of association credit cards;
  2. Civil and criminal penalties for director, officer and manager ‘kickbacks’;
  3. Civil penalties for destroying or failing to maintain records;
  4. Not allowing officers and directors charged with criminal acts to hold office or be elected, and the removal from office directors and officers charged with certain crimes;

While the bill is some 51 pages, you need only read the underlined — parts added to the statute and the strike-outs – parts deleted.  By law, the entire section must be included in the bill if any part is modified.

According to the Miami Herald (as reported by Florida’s advocacy group, CyberCitizens for Justice), this bill originated with investigative stories by two newspapers, el Nuevo Herald and Univision 23:

 

“The proposal came one year after el Nuevo Herald and Univision 23 published a series of investigative stories on condo abuses in South Florida, like electoral fraud, falsification of signatures, conflicts of interest, embezzlement and cases of fraudulent bidding.

“The series also exposed the lack of enforcement by authorities, from local police departments who refused to investigate allegations of fraud, to widespread negligence at the state agency in charge of enforcing condo laws and regulations and investigating complaints.”

The investigative reporting and publishing of HOA problems by these news media must be emulated by the media in all states. Rather than treating news stories as simply local neighborhood problems, the deep, insidious HOA social, legal and constitutional issues would also be addressed by state legislatures as in Florida this year.

As it stands, the media is cooperating in the public deception of serious HOA abuse by ignoring and treating the abuse superficially.

 

I take my hat off to el Nuevo Herald, Univison 23, the Miami Herald, CyberCitizens and the sponsors and supporters of HB 1237.

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Published in: on August 6, 2017 at 12:16 pm  Comments (9)  

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  1. Being here in Florida, I don’t want anyone to have the impression that the law that passed and the law being considered for HOAs means are troubles are over. It’s very difficult to find attorneys who will go up against an HOA. They want top dollar. Has there been any actual updates on the progress in Tallahassee regarding enforcement of the new law? If so, please advise. Thanks

  2. Wake up Arizona Congress men and women! You’re ignoring the growing problems of HOA’s. Many of your constituents are being hurt when you simply don’t have the gonads to implement strategies to stop the abuse. Every state needs to go beyond what Fla is doing.

    • I am awaiting a reply from ADRE, AZ Real Estate Dept., on removing CAI and AACM (AZ Assn Community Managers, a 2003 split-off from CAI, from its list of resources on its web page. No advocate’s web page is listed.

      • Can I help by writing to someone there too?

  3. This law should be nationwide. There is no excuse for any HOA Board of Director, HOA manager to ever be allowed to abuse their position and take advantage of the community and misuse HOA funds. The only way this will stop is if they are held personally liable.

    This bill should speak loud and clear to every person on a Board or a manager who misuses HOA funds that they will be held accountable and liable. Gone are the days of being on a Board, misusing the positions and power and HOA funds. I am certain that those type of Board members and managers will be very concerned about the passing of this law.

    *George you noted the following applied

    *Fraud charges for misuse of association credit cards;
    Suggest new laws adding: “misuse of any HOA funds” to the above.

    *Civil and criminal penalties for director, officer and manager ‘kickbacks’;
    Suggest new laws adding: Any director, officer or manager who receives a kickback will automatically resign. In addition, ever contract signed by an HOA Board member or manager must have a provision which states that no Board member or family member or manager has received a kickback. The Board members and the manager should be required to sign along with the supplier.

    *Civil penalties for destroying or failing to maintain records.
    Suggest new laws adding “including hiding relevant discovery evidence”
    This will be a warning to all HOA Board members and managers that try to hide discovery evidence to hide their wrongful actions behind the scenes.

    *Not allowing officers and directors charged with criminal acts to hold office or be elected
    New laws should addd “or who have admitted to violating any law”. Furthermore, until they are cleared any officer, director or manager must step down. What happens in HOAs is that the same people that are acting badly behind the scenes orchestrate their cover-ups among themselves and often include the manager in their cover-up. This type of behavior must be eliminated.

    What is truly needed is a formal agreement that every Board member and manager must sign before they are allowed to be on any Board or any position. The honest Board members and the honest managers will sign. Any person that is not willing to sign should not be on a Board or be an assigned manager.

    Florida is leading the rest of the country. These laws will soon be nationwide.

    • You wrote, “What happens in HOAs is that the same people that are acting badly behind the scenes orchestrate their cover-ups among themselves and often include the manager in their cover-up.”

      Not so much the manager as the attorneys! The attorneys tell the directors that if they rely on “expert” opinions, then they will not be held personally liable. That is corporate law and exploited by the attorneys and other vendors. Then what happens is that the attorney’s scare monger issues and insist that the board be firm and enforce the documents and pass resolutions–all in the name of “protecting” themselves from liability and doing what is “right.” Of course, that includes hiring CAI affiliated engineers, consultants, managers, attorneys–collections–and to make it worse–they tell the board NOT TO TALK to the owners directly! But to filter everything through the attorneys when a conflict arises (that only emerged when the attorneys advised them what to.)

      Mark Steyn wrote a book criticizing a scientist who sued him. The amazing thing about the book is it was simply a compilation of scientific commentary on the scientist and his work by other scientists and professionals. Steyn simply used others people’s words to make his point. I would love to put together something like that about the CAI. A compilation of things they have said and done!

    • Sorry George–I didn’t mean “you”–I was replying to *On August 6, 2017 at 12:46 pm Finally a law that will hold Board member and managers liable.*

  4. Thank God and God’s speed. I think my hoa might be getting ready to sue me because they exposed me to pesticides and they want to shut me up so I will stop asking for help and abuse already happened.


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