Florida’s Condo Web Portal Law is not about Pretty Websites, it’s about Board Transparency

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In 2017, the Florida lawmakers had enough of the fraud that was prevalent in condominiums.  Official Record keeping laws were not being followed by boards and owners who were requesting records that the boards were required to keep, were being ignored.  So, the lawmakers improved upon penalties for noncompliance with such things as possible criminal sanctions for violators.  The lawmakers also required condominiums with 150 or more units to have a website or web portal available by July 1, 2018, for owners to be able to securely access certain official records whenever convenient for them.  The lawmakers said they were …

Board Members Sued for Siphoning over $750,000 from Condos

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Condo owners at a  539 unit, 48- storey condo tower have sued former board members for acting improperly in their board positions and self serving themselves.  Once elected, the owners claims that “the group would use their position of trust and power, authority and discretion to access the operating budgets of the condo corporations to bind the condo corporations to contracts with businesses that they, or their associates, controlled in order to insidiously divert funds for their own benefit.”  This all happened in 2016 and it wasn’t until after the condo fell so far into debt and required a $750,000 …

Official Records that must be Maintained by Florida Condos and HOAs are Broad and Penalties Significant

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Florida condominium and homeowners association boards are required to keep a laundry list of Official Records for their associations.  For condos there are 17 categories of Official Records that must be maintained and for HOAs there are 12 categories.  For both condos and HOAs, the boards must make those Official Records available to owners in a very short period of time and there are severe penalties for not doing so.  So, if your association is not maintaining the required Official Records, there are civil and criminal penalties. Indeed the Condo Act specifically provides for a penalty and lawmakers are looking …

Condo Official Records Up in Smoke – Good Reason for Web Portal Law

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Condominiums and homeowners associations are required by law to keep certain Official Records.  Florida just changed the condo law to require certain Official Records to be maintained but also digitized and accessible to owners through a web portal. Owners can log in and read those Official Records whenever and wherever they have an internet connection.  Florida lawmakers unanimously passed that law which required the web portal no later than July 1, 2018 for condos with 150 or more units. Their reason was to root out fraud in condominiums but it also serves another good purpose which the Mountain View Condominium …

Web Portal Requirement for Owner Access to Florida HOA Official Records is Next

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The Florida Legislature is hard at work in 2018 and several laws are on the way.  Last year the Legislature unanimously changed the condo law to crack down on fraud.  By July 1, 2018, condominium’s with 150 plus units must have a compliant web portal available for owners to privately (with a username and password) access and inspect a laundry list of Official Records including contracts, bids, etc.  The lawmakers started with the 150 plus unit condos who they understood could comply; opting to wait to require all condos and homeowners’ associations to comply was well. The time has come …

HOA Official Steals $73,000 – No one was Watching

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For six years, Emily Brand had control over the Station West Homeowners Association’s money.  Owners would pay their monthly or annual common charges and Ms. Brand took their money which amounted to over $73,000.  This is another case of owners not keeping an eye on their association’s books and record and finances. Florida just changed its law to require condominiums with 150 or more units to have certain Official Records in electronic form and available for owners to access and review privately from a web portal.  Condos have until July 1, 2018 to have the web portal and document management …

Manager for Prominent Management Company Caught for Embezzling $100k Plus from HOA

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Ceasar Larrach worked as a general manager for Associa managing Sun City Shadow Hills HOA, a 3,450 unit community association for people 55 and older.  Managers dipping into association money is nothing new.  We have reported on numerous instances.  The only reason this HOA found the theft was that Associa had discovered a “financial discrepancy in the HOA’s accounts connected to Larrach of at least $100,000.  Click here for more on the story. The trouble is that may association board member have no access to there own records. They lack their own framework for their own association.  Instead they rely …

Using Personal Email for Community Association Business is an Awful Idea Says Lawyers

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Read what attorneys are saying here.  In sum, “To prevent the release of delicate information through electronic discovery, boards and their managing agents should establish a separate email account that is dedicated exclusively to co-op or condo business.” With an Office of the Board, this is not an issue.  Each Office of the Board instantly has its own business class email system which is board centric.  When members come on board they are provided with a board-centric email account and when they leave, their emails are maintained inside the Office of the Board.  Finally boards can immediately mitigate the risks …

HOA Owners Wiped Out, $120k Plus Missing

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Like many community associations, the Lakeshores Homeowners Association did not have an office framework for its association board.  Records were everywhere, nowhere, in the hands of multiple different people.  There was no accountability or oversight without a framework around the board and the HOA’s financial and other records.  After the treasurer died and the president resigned, a forensic audit was done and the owners learned that at least $123,000 of their hard earned money was gone and because there was no central record repository or audit trail, figuring out who stole their money was going to be virtually impossible. In …

HOA Treasurer Eventually Caught Stealing from the Association

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Whether you’re a large condominium association or a small neighborhood association, theft by association officers happens when no one is looking.  Treasurer Jennifer Jo Noteware got caught only after she collected money from her HOA, Black Forrest Home Owners Association, for maintenance costs and then forged checks with the President’s name payable to herself and cashed them.  Eventually after the money was gone, someone realized the money was missing from the association’s account.  Like most board members and officers, Noteware presents as a trustworthy individual which unfortunately is not the case. With an Office of the Board, these situations don’t …