Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes
Frequently Asked Questions - Homeowners' Associations
Arbitration is a proceeding where a neutral third person, called an arbitrator, considers the facts and arguments presented by the parties and renders a decision. The following information is intended to address basic questions or concerns you may have about the laws governing Homeowners’ Associations, Chapter 720, Florida Statutes. In no way should the following information be relied upon as or substituted for legal advice.
1. Is mediation for any homeowners' association disputes still available through the Division?
No. The Legislature amended section 720.311, Florida Statutes, to provide that parties to homeowners' association disputes may use private mediators to assist them in resolving their issues.Certified mediators may be selected by visiting the Supreme Court's website at www.flcourts.org/gen_public/adr/index.shtml.The private mediation program replaced the Division's mandatory HOA mediation program.
2. When is arbitration required?
Arbitration through the Division's Arbitration Program is required for all homeowners' association recall and election disputes, prior to filing a lawsuit.
Please note, a homeowners’ association election dispute petition must be filed within 60 days after the election results are announced. Before you can file a petition to commence a challenge of a homeowners’ association election you must have provided the Association:
- Advance written notice of the specific nature of the dispute;
- A demand for relief, and a reasonable opportunity to comply or to provide relief; and
- Notice of the intent to file an arbitration petition or other legal action in the absence of a resolution of the dispute.
Failure to comply with the pre-arbitration notice requirements will result in the dismissal of your petition.
3. What is the cost of arbitration for a homeowners' association recall or election dispute?
For homeowners' association recall and election disputes, the cost includes a $200 filing fee that must accompany the petition for arbitration, plus the Department's fee that is invoiced at the conclusion of the proceeding.The Department's fee will be an amount adequate to cover all costs and expenses incurred by the Department in conducting the arbitration proceeding.Please note, if you lose in arbitration, you may have to pay the other side's attorney's fees and costs.
4. Where do I find forms for homeowners' association recall and election arbitration disputes?
All HOA arbitration forms may be found at the Division's Homeowners' Association web page at http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/lsc/homeowners.html. If you have any questions regarding what form to use or about the arbitration process in general, please contact the Division at 850.414.6867.
The arbitration forms may also be obtained by writing:
Department of Business and Professional Regulation
Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes - Arbitration Section
1940 North Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1029
5. What is the new law requiring homeowners’ associations to register with the State of Florida?
Effective July 1, 2013, section 720.303(13), Florida Statutes, requires the community association manager or management firm of a homeowners’ association, which meets the definition of section 720.301(9), Florida Statutes, to report to the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes by November 22, 2013, specific information. The association is responsible for reporting the required information to the Division when there is no community association manager or management firm. The report must include the association’s: (1) Legal name; (2) Federal employer identification number; (3) Mailing and physical addresses; (4) Total number of parcels; and (5) Total amount of revenues and expenses from the association’s annual budget. For developer controlled associations, the report must also include the developer’s: 1) Legal name; (2) Mailing address; and (3) Total number of parcels owned on the date of reporting.
In accordance with section 720.303(13)(d), Florida Statutes, by October 1, 2013, the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes will have developed a web portal on its web page for homeowners’ associations to register online. Registration will be through this web page only.
6. Has the law been amended to authorize the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes to investigate complaints against homeowners’ associations?
No. The Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes, or any other governmental agency, does not have statutory authority to investigate complaints against homeowners’ associations.
7. As a homeowners’ association director am I required to take a board certification class?
Directors elected or appointed after July 1, 2013, to the board of a homeowners’ association, which meets the definition of section 720.301(9), Florida Statutes, are required to either certify in writing to the secretary of the association that he or she has read the association’s declaration of covenants, articles of incorporation, bylaws, and current written rules and policies; that he or she will work to uphold such documents and policies to the best of his or her ability; and that he or she will faithfully discharge his or her fiduciary responsibility to the association’s members; or the director may submit to the association an educational certificate from a Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes’ approved education provider attesting that the director has completed the educational curriculum. You may access a list of approved education providers at the Homeowners’ Associations link on the Division’s web page.