Managing a homeowners' association in Florida begins with a good understanding of the relevant bylaws. If you are considering this career path, then you will need to dedicate the time and effort to conducting the necessary research.

The truth is that HOA laws vary from one state to another, so it is important to understand the laws that apply in your state. In this article, we will shed some light on HOA statutes in the Sunshine State.

What Is a Homeowners' Association?

Before we get into the relevant Florida HOA laws, let's first talk a little about what a homeowners' association is and what it does.

A homeowners' association (HOA) is a private organization that is formed within a residential community or neighborhood in order to oversee and manage different parts of the neighborhood's public spaces, facilities, and, in certain cases, individual homes. The fundamental goal of an HOA is to maintain and improve the community's quality of life and property values.

The Florida Homeowners Association Act, which can be found in Title 40 Chapter 720 of the state statutes, governs HOAs in Florida. It is applicable to all organizations in charge of communal areas, and members include parcel owners or their representatives.

In Florida, HOAs must have a board of directors in charge of overseeing the operations of the organization. Residents elect board members, who have a fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interests of the community.

Governing Documents

These associations often have certain governing documents in place to regulate their internal operations. This includes the following:

  • Bylaws
  • Declaration of Covenants
  • Conditions and Restrictions
  • Articles of Incorporation

In Florida, the documentation and rules that govern a HOA are not readily available to the general public. These documents can only be accessed by members of the association upon request and are required to be published in the county's official records in order to be legally enforceable.

Keep in mind that anyone can see HOA records that have been filed with the Florida Secretary of State online, which include documents pertaining to the formation of an HOA, financial statements and annual reports, and the records of the dissolution of an HOA.

According to Florida statutes, homeowners' associations can:

  1. Enforce governing documents. Homeowners' associations in Florida can legally enforce the rules and regulations established in their governing documents, which can cover a wide range of issues such as the maintenance and upkeep of parcels, architectural guidelines, the standards for landscaping, pet policies, and more.
  2. Collect assessments. HOAs have the power to collect regular assessments and fees from residents to cover common expenses to cover their operational expenses. Non-payment can result in penalties and legal action.
  3. Maintain and repair common spaces. Associations have the right to access and conduct maintenance in common areas, amenities, and infrastructure within the community, such as landscaping, roads, swimming pools, and security features.
  4. Control architecture. Many HOAs in Florida have an architectural review committee that approves or denies homeowners' requests for architectural changes to their properties, ensuring that they align with community standards.
  5. Impose liens. In cases of non-payment of assessments or violations of the governing documents, HOAs can place liens on properties, which can lead to legal actions, including foreclosure.
  6. Conduct board meetings. Associations must hold regular meetings, including annual meetings, where homeowners can discuss community matters and vote on important issues.
  7. Manage finances. These organizations create budgets, maintain financial records, allocate funds for community expenses, and reserve funds for future maintenance and improvements.
  8. Amend governing documents. HOAs may have the authority to amend their governing documents.
  9. Mediate and resolve disputes. Some homeowners' associations offer dispute resolution mechanisms to address conflicts among homeowners or between homeowners and the association.

The Purpose of HOA Laws

Florida HOA laws are intended to protect both homeowners and associations. They seek to preserve property value, uphold community standards, and encourage peaceful cohabitation among residents.

These laws give HOAs the authority to enact rules and regulations governing different areas of community living, such as architectural guidelines, the care of communal areas, and the collection of fees.

Florida Homeowners' Association Rights and Responsibilities

The HOA is in charge of the creation and implementation of its covenants and limitations. These are rules of conduct that all members must abide by. Participating in a homeowners' association is required in Florida, and members cannot withdraw from an HOA agreement unless they sell their property.

Before purchasing real estate, homeowners will need to review all community restrictions and covenants. This information must be easily accessible to all members of the community as well as potential members. Let's look at some of the other rights and responsibilities that a homeowners' association may have.

Maintaining Community Records

The HOA is responsible for preparing and maintaining financial and community records. As per the Florida Homeowners' Association Act, the HOA is responsible for keeping the following documents on file:

  • The minutes of meetings held within the past seven years.
  • Financial records for the past seven years. 
  • All bids that were obtained for work completed within the last year.
  • Insurance policy information for the last seven years.
  • HOA member information must be retained for at least one year.

The Preparation of Financial Statements

Financial statements must be prepared on an annual basis, and the requirements for this preparation are determined by the association's size. In addition, the HOA is required to have an accounting firm prepare these financial statements.

Failure to Make Payments

When a member fails to pay their dues, the board of directors has the authority to impose liens on that person's property. In severe situations, the neighborhood association may even impose a foreclosure. They can do this even if the homeowner's mortgage payments are up to date.

If an unforeseen expense emerges that the homeowners' association cannot cover on its normal budget, it may rightfully levy a special fee to cover the cost. Special assessments are extra costs that residents are required to pay to cover major refurbishments. Replacing the roof of a common area is an example of such a project. 

Board Meetings

Regardless of whether they are not on the association's board of directors, any resident in good standing with the association is welcome to attend board meetings. They also have the right to participate in discussions on certain subjects. However, community regulations may limit the number of speakers and also set restrictions on speaking time.

If a board member fails to fulfill their responsibilities to the community, residents have the right to remove them at any time for any cause with a majority vote of the members present.

Maintenance and Repairs

HOAs are in charge of the upkeep, repair, and maintenance of shared spaces and amenities in the community. Landscaping, water features, parks, swimming pools, clubhouses, streets, and security features are examples of such facilities. The costs of these services are normally covered through assessments and fees levied on parcel owners.

Architectural Control

Many homeowners' associations in Florida have an architectural control board that analyzes and approves or denies requests for property improvements. This ensures that any renovations or additions to properties in the neighborhood adhere to the aesthetic standards of the community.

Imposing Fines

Homeowners' associations may impose fines on parcel owners in a community if they violate the rules and regulations specified in the governing documents. The association is also allowed to impose fines for late or non-payment of assessments.

Before imposing a fee, homeowners' associations in Florida are legally required to provide homeowners with a minimum of 14 days' notice and must be given an opportunity to explain their non-payment. Except if detailed in the HOA's governing documents, penalties may not exceed $100 for each violation and may not exceed a total amount of $1,000.

HOAs in Florida May Not Impose Fines for Certain Reasons

No homeowners' association in Florida can penalize or prohibit a parcel owner for the following:

  • Installing clotheslines.
  • Displaying the American flag, the State of Florida flag, or any military branch flag as long as it is done in accordance with federal flag display law.
  • Mounting a flagpole for displaying the state or national flag (or any military branch flag).
  • Implementing water conversion, quality preservation, and restoration procedures.
  • Using "Florida-friendly landscaping."
  • Setting up antennas and satellite dishes.
  • Implementing renewable energy technology.

However, an HOA's governing documents may incorporate reasonable restrictions and regulations regarding the positioning, placement, method, and presentation of any of the above-mentioned objects.

How to Join and Leave a Florida Homeowners' Association

If an individual buys a house in Florida that is in an area with an established HOA, they must join and follow the HOA laws. At the closing of the real estate purchase, the person who buys the home should be given a disclosure statement that explains HOA membership and bylaws.

A member is able to leave a mandated HOA by selling their home or petitioning the HOA to remove their home from the bounds of the association.

Dissolving a Florida Homeowners' Association

The rules and procedures for dissolving an association in Florida can be found in the organization's governing documents. If these documents do not specify this, a majority vote of HOA members at a board meeting is necessary to proceed with the dissolution.

If a sufficient number of votes are cast in favor of the dissolution, the HOA is required to file Articles of Dissolution with the Florida Secretary of State. Thereafter, the HOA will be considered to be dissolved on the date specified in the Articles of Dissolution.

About DoorLoop HOA Management Software

Managing an HOA is no easy task, which is why it is important to have the right tools at your disposal to streamline the process. HOA management software is designed to ensure that your community association is compliant with Florida statutes and help you keep track of important information.

You can receive HOA dues, store files, manage maintenance practices, address violations, and so much more with DoorLoop's innovative software solution. Plus, if you require assistance with accounting practices, DoorLoop makes executing important accounting functions a breeze with innovative features and an easy-to-use platform.

What's more, DoorLoop also has a communication portal that lets you do everything from sending announcements to all members of the association to assigning maintenance tasks to staff members and associated vendors.

With DoorLoop's help, you can stay on top of your HOA operations and ensure that everything runs smoothly.

Final Thoughts

As an HOA manager, board member, or executive, having access to the right information is imperative. Using the information we have provided above, you can avoid penalties and disputes and remain compliant with Florida HOA laws.

DoorLoop is designed to help you do just that. The best part is that you can try our software out risk-free by scheduling a demo. Contact us today to get started!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can a homeowners' association foreclose a home in Florida?

Yes, homeowners' associations in the Sunshine State have the authority to foreclose the properties of its members under certain conditions. When a homeowner fails to pay their fees, the HOA has the authority to place a lien on the property. If a lien fails to be paid, the HOA may foreclose on the property to obtain the outstanding fees.

However, before filing a foreclosure action, the association is required to send the homeowner in question a 45-day written notice for the amount owed. If the sum is not paid within this time frame, the process of foreclosing the property can commence.

2. Are homeowners' associations allowed to enter a member's home?

Under certain circumstances, a community association may enter a member's home. This is often specified in the governing documents and is typically only allowed when maintaining units, common areas, or shared utilities.

However, there are no specifications in Florida statutes that permit homeowners' associations in Florida to access the real property of their members for other reasons.

3. Do members have to pay fees to be part of an HOA in Florida?

Yes, HOA members in Florida are generally required to pay fees. These payments, also known as assessments or dues, are used to cover the costs of the HOA's activities, such as the maintenance of common areas and shared facilities.

The amount and frequency of these fees can differ based on the HOA and its financial obligations. Failure to pay HOA dues may result in penalties, fees, and, in some situations, legal action and foreclosure.

When acquiring a property in a Florida HOA-governed neighborhood, it is critical for homebuyers to be cognizant of their financial commitments to the HOA and budget accordingly.

4. What is a Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions?

The Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&R) of a Florida homeowners association is a legally enforceable agreement that outlines the rules and regulations governing the community.

This document contains property use restrictions and requirements, architectural standards, maintenance responsibilities, and more. It is registered with municipal authorities and applies to all residents in the neighborhood, guaranteeing consistency and protecting the value of properties in the neighborhood.

The CC&Rs empower the HOA to enforce the rules, collect assessments, and, if required, place liens on non-compliant members. Homebuyers are given a copy of the CC&Rs to help them understand their rights and responsibilities within the HOA-managed community.

5. Are homeowners required to disclose the sale of residential parcels?

Many homeowners' associations in Florida require members to provide a disclosure prior to sale of their property to the HOA. This disclosure serves several functions, including maintaining up-to-date records of property ownership within the boundaries of the community and ensuring that new homeowners receive important information regarding HOA regulations, fees, and duties.

Specific regulations vary greatly between HOAs, with some requiring written notices or paperwork to be completed upon sale and others charging transfer or processing fees.

To minimize any conflicts or non-compliance issues, residents should thoroughly review their HOA's governing documents to familiarize themselves with the exact disclosure obligations and processes relevant to property sales within their community.

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  1. Florida Homeowners' Association Act
  2. Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
  3. Federal Flag Display Law
  4. Florida Civil Rights Act
  5. Florida Condominium Act
  6. Florida Cooperatives Act
  7. File a complaint:
  8. Florida Office of Financial Regulation
  9. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  10. Federal Trade Commission
  11. Florida Commission on Human Relations
  12. US Department of Urban Housing

David is the co-founder & CMO of DoorLoop, a best-selling author, legal CLE speaker, and real estate investor. When he's not hanging with his three children, he's writing articles here!