Homeowners associations make up the rules and guidelines for communities. An HOA may decide everything from the appropriate colors of the homes to which landscaping company will take care of the grass in the neighborhood. Associations usually charge fees for this service. Florida is home to countless subdivisions, condominiums, townhomes, many of them with homeowners associations. Florida lawmakers have adopted regulations that govern the actions of these associations.
A Florida homeowner's association must be incorporated in the state. The HOA operates on behalf of its members. Matters under its jurisdiction include common areas, structural parts of the building, roof, and electrical and plumbing elements. The HOA may also fight against eminent domain.
HOA board meetings must allow the presence of all members unless the board is meeting with its attorney. Members must be allowed to speak for at least three minutes on any item that has been placed on the agenda by petition of the owners. The association must provide 48 hours' notice for all meetings by posting a notice in an area where it will be easily seen by members. Notices may also be mailed at least seven days in advance. The association cannot impose fines at meetings unless notice was given at least 14 days in advance. Minutes must be kept for every meeting.
The HOA must keep official copies of records on file. These include the bylaws, articles of incorporation, association rules, seven years' worth of minutes, a list of all members and their addresses, insurance policies, contracts signed on behalf of the association and financial and accounting documents. Members must be provided with copies of any records within 10 days of a written request.
The HOA must prepare a budget each year. The budget must contain the estimated costs for the year, as well as any fees and charges the association expects to pay. The HOA must also prepare, or hire someone to prepare, a full financial report within 90 days of the end of the previous fiscal year. Each member must be given a copy of the report within 120 days of the end of the fiscal year. All association funds must be kept separate from other monies in a bank account bearing the name of the association.
The HOA has the right to view and approve the plans and specifications of the buildings under its domain as long as the standards of the association are published in the HOA covenant. The association cannot infringe upon the rights of the owners to improve on their buildings. Owner's rights must also be published in the HOA covenant.