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Update: Governor Rick Scott recently signing SB 841 into law that makes additional changes to the website requirements added to FL Chapter 718 in 2017. The bill includes an extension of the deadline from July 1, 2018 to January 1, 2019. You can download a copy of the bill from the Florida Senate website here.
Posted Earlier: By July 1, 2018, a Florida condominium association with 150 or more units (which does not manage timeshare units) must have an independent website or web portal wholly owned and operated by the association or a website or web portal operated by a third-party provider.
At present an association with less than 150 units is not required to comply with the new statute; however, it is possible for this to change at any time. It is important for impacted associations to start evaluating options for compliance sooner rather than later.
Here’s What You Need to Know:
Website Ownership Considerations
For associations with a website provided by their management company, it is important to review the agreement to confirm whether or not that website is owned by the association or by the management company. What does your agreement provide in terms of transitioning your website content in the event you or the management company terminate your agreement? Associations should have an attorneys review any agreement concerning its website to avoid hiccups in set-up and transition down the road.
If your association currently has its own website independent of your management company, do you have a Content Management System for that website or do you rely on a website designer to upload your content? If the answer is the latter, you must review that protocol with your webmaster as association documentation must be uploaded timely to your website in order to comply with the new law.
The costs of building and maintaining a website should become a recurring expense which must be accounted for in the annual budget.
What Needs To Be Posted On the Website?
The statute requires “current” copies of various documents which are delineated in §718.111(12)(g)2, Fla. Stats. Posting on the website is not an “in lieu of” criteria, it is an “in addition to” criteria. In other words, just because the notice and agenda of a member’s meeting is posted on the website does not do away with the requirements to mail/deliver the notice to members or the requirement to post the notice conspicuously at the association. Also if any of the documents which are to be posted on the website, contain information which should be protected from disclosure, the document must be redacted prior to posting. Associations must post these documents on their websites.
Who Should Have Access to What & How
The association’s website must be accessible through the Internet and must contain a password-protected section that is inaccessible to the general public and accessible only to unit owners and employees of the association. Upon a unit owner’s written request, the association must provide the unit owner with a username and password and access to the protected sections of the association’s website that contain any notices, records, or documents that must be electronically provided.
The association must ensure that privileged information and privileged records are not posted on the association’s website. If protected information or information restricted from being accessible to unit owners is included in documents that are otherwise required to be posted on the association’s website, the association must be sure to redact the privileged content before posting the documents online.
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