Monthly Archives: December 2013

Obtaining Title to An Abandoned Mobile Home

1. Show proof of rental agreement, time elapsed during abandonment and any correspondence from the original owner of the mobile home to your local Florida clerk of court. File a lien with the clerk of court based on your documentation. You may be required to file a “Declaration of Abandonment” with the courts as well.

2. Pay off any liens the original owner may have had against the mobile home. This will ensure that the title is free and clear from repossession once you take legal control.  Lien information is available to the courts and Florida DMV through a state database.

3. Contact your local Florida DMV to file for a lost title. The DMV takes care of all vehicles and vessels that can be transported on Florida roads. Provide court papers showing you hold a legal lien and your rental agreement.

4. Submit a HSMV 82040, Application for Certificate of Title form to the DMV. You will be charged a small fee for filing and titling. Include an affidavit of lost or stolen title. You may fill out forms 82040 or 8204 instead of an affidavit.

5. Wait for the new title to arrive in the mail. This normally takes four to six weeks. You will be given a copy of the mobile home registration once you apply for the title. Place the registration and title in a safe location for future reference.

New Laws for Homeowners’ Associations – 2013 Legislative Session

The Florida Legislature has recently enacted laws imposing new procedures that homeowners’ associations must comply with.  While it would be impossible to summarize all the new laws and statutory changes in this short article, a synopsis of some of the laws is provided.  For a detailed description of all the new changes, you should visit the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes Website at <http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/lsc>.

Some of the most notable changes are found in Chapters 2013-188 and 2013-218, Laws of Florida (2013).  These laws impose various reporting requirements, and provide changes regarding the provision of official records to HOA members.  The changes took effect on July 1, 2013.  The following is a synopsis of the statutory changes/additions, and a partial summary of sections 720.303 and 718.111, Florida Statutes (2013):

  • Chapter 2013-188 amended or created the following Florida Statutes: 399.02; 718.111; 718.112; 718.113; 718.115; 718.303; 718.403; 718.406; 718.5011; 719.104; 719.1055; 719.106; 719.303; 719.501; 720.303; 720.305; and 720.306.  See the following website to read all statutory changes in their entirety: <http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/lsc/documents/Ch_2013_188.pdf>

 

  • Chapter 2013-218 amended or created the following Florida Statutes: 486.436; 720.303; 720.3033; 720.306; 720.307; 720.3075; and 720.3085.  See the following website to read all statutory changes in their entirety: <http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/lsc/documents/Ch_2013_218.pdf>

 

  • § 720.303(13), Fla. Stat. (2013) – Reporting Requirements
    • Homeowners’ associations must register with the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes by November 22, 2013.
      • The Division is currently developing a web portal which will allow associations to register online.  The web portal is to be developed by October 1, 2013.
      • Every homeowner’s association shall report the following information to the division:
        • the association’s legal name;
        • the association’s federal employer identification number;
        • the association’s mailing and physical addresses;
        • the association’s total number of parcels; and
        • the association’s total amount of revenues and expenses from the association’s annual budget.

 

  • § 718.111(12), Fla. Stat. (2013) – Official Records
    • Must be maintained for 7 years and made available for photocopying within 45 miles of the community or within the county in which the association is located.
    • Owners may be charged no more than 25 cents per page (down from 50 cents per page) for copies.
    • The association’s right to pass on personnel costs has been restricted.  The association may not prohibit unit owners from using portable devices (such as smart phones, tablets, or portable scanners) to copy documents, and the association may not charge a fee for use of such a portable device.

 

  • § 718.111(13), Fla. Stat. (2013) – Year-End Financial Reporting Requirements
    • Associations with total annual revenues of less than $150,000 (previously $100,000) must prepare a report of cash receipts and expenditures.
    • Compiled financial statements are required for associations with annual revenues between $150,000 and $300,000 (previously $100,000 to $200,000).
    • Reviewed financial statements are required for associations with annual revenues of $300,000 to $500,000 (previously $200,000 to $400,000).
    • Audited financial statements are required for associations with annual revenues of $500,000 or more (previously $400,000+).

So, what will be the impact of these new laws on homeowners’ associations?  In addition to providing some much-needed structure, the laws will make regulation easier, and also cut down on arbitrary and capricious practices that afflict some homeowners’ associations.  Board members may think twice before taking actions that are not well-founded when they realize the members now have a physical office with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation where they may express their concerns.  While I am not typically a proponent of increased government regulation in any sector, I welcome these new laws, and expect to see a reduced number of conflicts between associations and their members in the future.

Liability of Condominium Associations & Association Directors

The premise concerning the issues of liability of directors and officers is that directors and officers of a condominium association cannot be held liable for corporate acts simply by reason of their official relationship to the association.  Taylor v. Wellington Station Condominium Ass’n, Inc., 633 So. 2d 43 (Fla. 5th DCA 1994); Munder v. Circle One Condominium, Inc., 596 So. 2d 144 (Fla. 4th DCA 1992); B & J Holding Corp. v. Weiss, 353 So. 2d 141 (Fla. 3d DCA 1977).

The case of Perlow v. Goldberg sets forth the several laws which must be alleged to have been violated in order to find liability on the part of a director.  700 So. 2d 148 (Fla. 3rd DCA 1997).  In Goldberg, condominium owners brought suit against association directors for breach of fiduciary duty in administering insurance proceeds; the court found that the case was properly dismissed because the owners failed to allege fraud, criminal activity, or self-dealing and unjust enrichment as required by: the Condominium Act, specifically Fla. Stat. § 718.111(2) and Fla. Stat. § 718.303(1)(d); the Florida Business Corporation Act, specifically Fla. Stat. § 607.0831(1); and the Florida Not For Profit Corporation Act, specifically Fla. Stat. § 617.0834(1).  Id.

As a general proposition, a condominium association will be immune from liability under the business judgment rule when its board of directors acts in a reasonable manner.  See Garcia v. Crescent Plaza Condominium Ass’n, Inc., 813 So. 2d 975 (Fla. 2d DCA 2002) (case remanded to determine whether board acted reasonably in leasing common element parking spaces to owner).  However, an association may be held liable for an officer or director’s negligent act or breach of fiduciary duty under the condominium declaration or the Condominium Act (Chapter 718, Fla. Stat.), even if the individual officer or director is not found to be individually liable.  See e.g., Munder v. Circle One Condominium, Inc., 596 So. 2d 144 (Fla. 4th DCA 1992) (Although the association director was not held liable for failing to maintain insurance as required by the condominium documents and Condominium Act, the condominium association was still found liable).