HOA & Condo Law – Florida, are you ready for HB1203?

New Condo and HOA Law have passed, impacting Florida Condo and HOA Communities.   Here’s what you need to know about HB1203 and HB1021.

Florida condo and HOA residents and board members remember when Chapter 17 went into effect in January 2019.  At that time, it required that all condominium communities managing more than 150 provide a website. New legislation (HB1203) has passed in the Senate that states all HOA communities with 100 or more parcels must provide a digital copy of specified documents by January 1, 2025.  HB1021 requires Condos with 25 or more units to have a website by January 1, 2026.    There’s more than enough time for your community to prepare, but we recommend you do your research now and avoid scrambling at the last minute!

What are the requirements in regards to sharing official community documents (HB1203)?

  • HB1203 states that associations with 100 or more HOAs, effective January 1, 2026 maintain a digital copy of certain official records for download on the association’s website or through an app on a mobile device.
  • Make a copy of records or the records available that are subpoenaed by a law enforcement agency within five days of receiving the subpoena.
  • Maintain official records for at least seven years, unless the association’s governing documents require a longer period of time.
  • This law also requires that rules and covenants, and updates to those documents must be made available to residents.

What are the new requirements for HB1021?

HB1021 will also require digital access to documents beginning January 1, 2026.   
  • Condominium associations with 25 units or more will be required to maintain specified records available for download on the association’s website or by a program on a mobile device.  
  • Requires associations to maintain additional accounting records (such as, invoices and other documentation that shows any receipt or expenditure).  A condominium association may satisfy a request for access to records by making the records available for download on the association website.  
  • Includes criminal penalties if an association refuses to release or if it destroys official documents. 

How to stay ahead of HB1203 and HB1021

Identify the needs of your community website.

1. Define Goals and Objectives: Start by clearly defining the purpose of the website. Determine what you want to achieve with the new website.  In addition to providing the platform for sharing required documents (HB1203 and HB1021), think about how else you want to improve communication.

2. Gather Requirements:   Get input from HOA board members, property managers, residents, and any other relevant parties. Identify the features, functionalities, and content that the website should include to meet the needs of the community.

3. Select a Website Platform:  Research your options for community websites and portals.   Many vendors today offer complete CRM and portals with secure login access. In addition to providing access to documents, you can also manage your rule violations, maintenance requests and automated communications. 

4. Ongoing Maintenance and Updates: Establish a plan for ongoing maintenance, updates, and improvements to keep the website current and relevant. Assign responsibilities for website management and uploading and communicating when required documents are available.

Now you know your general requirements. How do you decide if you want a community website, or a resident portal?  What are the differences?

Community websites and resident portals serve similar purposes in providing information and facilitating communication within a community.  However, there are key differences between the two that may influence your decision on which option to choose:

1. Scope and Functionality:

  • Community Website – A community website typically serves as a public-facing platform that provides general information about the community. Information includes history, amenities, events, news updates, governing documents, and contact information. It may also include features such as photo galleries, community forums, and directories.
  • Resident Portal – A resident portal is a secure online platform that is accessible only to residents of the community. It focuses more on providing personalized services and features that cater to the needs of residents. Features like online payment processing, maintenance requests, event registrations, community directories, document management (e.g., accessing HOA documents), and communication tools (e.g., message boards, email notifications).

2. Audience and Access Control:

  • Community Website – A community website is typically accessible to the public, including residents, prospective homebuyers, and external stakeholders. It serves as a marketing tool to promote the community and provide information to a broader audience.
  • Resident Portal – A resident portal is accessible only to registered residents of the community who have login credentials. It provides a secure environment for residents to access personalized services and interact with community-specific information and resources.  Providers such as Pilera offer password-protected websites that allow boards and residents to securely access important documents.

3. Integration with Management Systems:

  • Community Website – A community website may integrate with management systems used by the community to update content, manage events, and disseminate information. However, it may not offer the same level of integration with resident-specific services and functionalities.
  • Resident Portal – A resident portal is often integrated with management systems to provide seamless access to resident-specific services, such as online payments, maintenance requests, and amenity reservations. This integration streamlines administrative processes and enhances the user experience for residents.

4. Communication and Engagement:

  • Community Website – A community website may serve as a platform for one-way communication, such as posting announcements, newsletters, and community updates. While it may offer features for community engagement, such as forums or comment sections, the level of interaction may be limited.
  • Resident Portal – A resident portal fosters two-way communication and engagement between residents and community management. It provides tools for residents to communicate with each other, participate in discussions, and collaborate on community initiatives. It also enables community managers to communicate directly with residents and gather feedback in real-time.

When deciding between a community website or portal, consider factors such as the specific needs and preferences of your community, the desired level of access security, and the available budget and resources. In some cases, a combination of both may be the most effective solution to meet your community’s needs.

What are the benefits to having a website or portal for my community?

Offering a community portal or website can bring numerous benefits to both the community management and its residents. Here are some of the key advantages:

1. Improved Communication – A community portal or website serves as a centralized platform for disseminating information, announcements, newsletters, and updates to residents. It allows for efficient communication between management and residents, reducing the reliance on traditional methods such as printed newsletters or bulletin boards.

2. Enhanced Accessibility – A digital platform makes information easily accessible to residents anytime, anywhere, using their computers, smartphones, or tablets. Residents can access important documents, event calendars and community news without the need to visit an office or attend meetings.

3. Increased Transparency – Portals or websites promote transparency by providing residents with access to important community documents. Documents such as governing documents, meeting minutes, financial reports, and maintenance records. This transparency builds trust and confidence among residents and fosters a sense of accountability within the community.

4. Streamlined Processes – Online portals can streamline administrative processes for both residents and community management. Residents can submit maintenance requests, reserve amenities, make payments, and access important forms and documents online, reducing the need for paper-based transactions and manual processing by staff.

5. Enhanced Community Engagement – Portals or websites facilitate engagement among residents with features like discussion forums, message boards, calendars, and surveys. Residents can connect with their neighbors, participate in community events and initiatives, and contribute to discussions on community matters.

6. Cost Savings – Transitioning communication and administrative tasks to digital, can offer cost savings associated with printing, postage, and staff time. Online portals can also help reduce errors and inefficiencies in manual processes, which leads to overall cost savings for the community.

7. Improved Satisfaction and Retention – Providing residents with convenient access to information and services through a portal or website can lead to higher satisfaction levels and increased resident retention. Residents appreciate the convenience and transparency offered by digital platforms, leading to a positive perception of the community management.

8. Data Analytics and Insights – Online portals can provide valuable data and insights into resident preferences, behavior, and engagement patterns. Community management can use this data to tailor communication strategies, identify areas for improvement, and make data-driven decisions to better serve the needs of the community.

About Pilera:

At Pilera, we offer a one-stop solution tailored to assist communities in seamlessly complying with these new laws and regulations. With singular dedication to serving HOA and condo communities, we provide a full suite of services designed to manage all aspects of community operations.   From secure, password protected access to websites and portals, the ability to post documents that can be restricted by role for added security, as well as additional solutions that help communities not only comply but build better relationships with residents.  Pilera offers a complete solution to address the evolving needs of modern communities. With our expertise and specialized focus, we empower communities to navigate regulatory changes with confidence.

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