There are just about two months left for Florida condominiums with 150 for more units to have a compliant web portal available for unit owners to access a laundry list of official records. If they don’t comply with the new law, there will be consequences including possible civil, criminal and other implications. Owners without the required web access can easily complain to the enforcing agency The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), or even sue the condo and will likely win with legal fees being reimbursable.
Just in the last week, there were three news reports of improper conduct in community associations that would likely have been avoided if the associations there had the required compliant web access to official records by owners.
Hours ago, a newspaper reported that the South Hampton Homeowners’ Association’s president Ulysee Davis, his wife and HOA treasurer Benedicto Afroilan stole in excess of $100,000 from the HOA over the course of at least five years. “The sheriff’s office alleges that Ulysee Davis would issue a monthly payment to Unique Management Company and then transfer the money to personal bank accounts in his, his wife’s and his daughter’s names.” If the HOA owners had access to the HOA financial records at their fingertips through a web portal as required by the Florida law, they could have monitored compliance with record keeping and at least one of the watchful neighbors would have noticed the impropriety earlier than five years after the thefts began. Now the money is gone and the HOA is in pain. Read more.
Another newspaper reported on October 15, 2018, that a former homeowners association treasurer Bonnie Harris, 71,was caught and prosecuted for embezzling more than $100,000, from the Cedar Glen Homeowners Association in Costa Mesa. It took a new treasurer taking over in January 2016, to discover discrepancies in the bank records. Police later learned that Ms. Harris embezzled about $115,000 from the association between December 2013 and December 2015. Once again, if owners had the required web portal access to the association’s official records, at least one of them would have noticed what it took an incoming treasurer and then the police to figure out years later. Read more.
On October 16, 2018, a newspaper broke the story about The Clayton Woods Homeowners Association having to bring a lawsuit against its former management company and the company’s representative Patricia Ortiz for failure to release the association’s records to the board. The HOA elected a new board January 11, 2017, after years of service from Elite Association Management Company and its predecessor Texas Community Management, they were fired by the new board. When the board demanded that the management company turn over its official records, Elite only provided a limited number of the the documents. Had Florida’s web portal requirement been effectuated in this association, the owners would have known what records were being kept and if they were not being kept and when management changed, the records would all be in one place (hopefully with the board and not the outgoing management company who was holding them hostage here) and accessible by the board. Read more.