HB 1203, Effective July 1, 2024, Changes HOA Fining

HB 1203, Effective July 1, 2024, Changes HOA Fining Requirements

When Florida lawmakers concluded their 2024 Legislative Session, a number of bills passed that affect community associations. House Bill 1203, which was signed by Governor DeSantis and is effective July 1, 2024, changes the game when it comes to fining in homeowners’ associations that are governed by Chapter 720, Florida Statutes.

Homeowners’ associations may still levy “reasonable” fines for violations of an associations’ governing documents. Fines cannot exceed $100 per violation against any member or any member’s tenant, guest, or invitee unless otherwise provided in the governing documents. The law still provides that a fine may not exceed $1,000 in the aggregate unless otherwise provided in the governing documents, and that a fine of less than $1,000 may not become a lien against a parcel.

A fine or suspension levied by the board may not be imposed unless the board first provides at least 14 days’ written notice of the parcel owner’s right to a hearing to the parcel owner at his or her designated mailing or e-mail address in the association’s official records and, if applicable, to any occupant, licensee, or invitee. Effective July 1, 2024, the hearing must be held within 90 days after the issuance of the notice. The hearing must still be before a committee of at least three members appointed by the board that are not officers, directors, or employees of the association, or the spouse, parent, child, brother or sister of an officer, director, or employee. However, HB1203 now clarifies that the committee may hold the hearing by telephone or other electronic means.

As of July 1st, the notice of the fine or suspension sent by the association must include a description of the alleged violation; the specific action required to cure the violation, if applicable; and the hearing date, location, and access information if the hearing is being help by telephone or other electronic means. Additionally, within seven (7) days after the hearing, the committee must provide written notice to the parcel owner, and if applicable to any occupant, licensee, or invitee, the committee’s findings related to the violation, including any fine or suspension that the committee approved or rejected. The notice must also describe how the owner may cure the violation, or fulfill a suspension, or the date by which the fine must be paid.

One of the biggest changes homeowners’ associations will face when the new law is effective on July 1st is that if a violation has been cured before the hearing or in the manner specified in the written notice (Note: this is the written notice of the hearing OR the notice sent after the hearing), the fine or suspension may not be imposed. If a violation is not cured (and if the committee approves the fine or suspension), the committee must set a date by which the fine must be paid. However, the “due date” must be at least thirty (30) days after the delivery of the written notice following the hearing. Attorney fees and costs may not be awarded against an owner based on any action taken by the board before the “due date” of the fine.

Effective July 1, 2024, homeowners’ associations may not levy fines or impose a suspension for any of the following actions:

  • Leaving garbage receptacles at the curb or end of the driveway within 24 hours before or after the designated garbage collection day or time.
  • Leaving holiday decorations or lights on a structure or other improvement on a parcel longer than indicated in the governing documents, unless the decorations or lights are left up for longer than one (1) week after the association provides written notice of the violation to the owner.

If your association does not currently have a fining and suspension policy, you should contact your association’s attorney to request a policy that incorporates the changes in the law that will be effective as of July 1st. If you already have a fining policy, you should work with your community association attorney to update your policy to implement these changes.

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