Florida HOAs Navigate Shifting Landscape in 2023
A trio of significant amendments to Florida Statute Chapter 720, signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis in 2023, have reshaped the regulatory landscape for homeowners’ associations (HOAs) in the Sunshine State. These new Florida HOA laws touch upon issues of flag display, property storage, artificial turf, and resident rights within HOA communities.
Unfurling Freedom: The Flag Statute
Taking center stage is the newly minted flag law statute, 720.304(2). This legislation grants homeowners the right to display up to two flags, regardless of HOA rules to the contrary. The law emerged from a protracted legal battle waged by Jacksonville resident and Air Force veteran Larry Murphree, who fought for the right to fly an American flag on his porch. “It was a small flag,” Murphree stated as reported by First Coast News, “but it stood for a big thank you.” The statute now safeguards the display of the American flag, armed forces flags, the State of Florida flag, POW-MIA flags, and first responder flags.
Storage Wars Simmer: Turf and Beyond
Another notable amendment, 720.3045, addresses storage rights and artificial turf usage. Sparked by a South Florida homeowner’s dispute with his HOA over installing “Florida-friendly” artificial turf, the law now allows homeowners and tenants to store various items, including boats, RVs, and installation of artificial turf, as long as they remain out of sight from the street or neighboring properties and comply with local ordinances. This amendment potentially eases tensions between residents and HOAs regarding visible clutter and increasingly popular artificial turf on private property.
Empowering Residents: The Homeowners’ Association Bill of Rights
Perhaps the most transformative change to Florida Statute Chapter 720 is the aptly named “Homeowners’ Association Bill of Rights.” Born from legal actions against one Miami HOA’s board members in 2022, this legislation aims to bolster both transparency and accountability within HOAs. The law promises clearer notice requirements for meetings and violation processes, empowering residents to stay informed and actively participate in community decisions. Additionally, revised conflict of interest rules and limitations on developer influence offer residents greater assurance of ethical board conduct. This shift towards increased resident power also minimizes the risk of fraud, election interference, and abuse within HOAs.
Legal Landscape in Flux: A Note of Caution
However, it’s crucial to acknowledge that interpreting and enforcing these new laws is not without its complexities. Legal challenges are anticipated, with some law firms citing potential conflicts between the statutes and existing HOA covenants, specifically the “Kaufman language” addressing contractual obligations. The Orlando Law Group underscores the binding nature of HOA covenants, while acknowledging the presumption of new laws’ validity under the 1992 Maison Grande precedent. The possibility of a “test case” emerging as HOAs and residents navigate these legal nuances underscores the dynamic nature of this evolving landscape.
We recognize the transformative regulatory changes impacting Florida HOA laws in 2023. Meanwhile, we stand firm in our commitment to serve as responsible partners, prioritizing transparency, open communication, and unwavering dedication to the collective interests of the communities we serve.
Also consider these articles; HOA Landscaping Issues: Navigating Disputes and Finding Solutions, 10 Benefits of HOA’s for Homeowners, HOA Landscape Committee Responsibilities, HOA Sustainable Landscaping Services with Rockaway, and Differences between HOA and CDD.
Rockaway Inc, with its Atlantic Beach headquarters and convenient satellite locations in Jacksonville and St. Johns County, provides comprehensive landscape solutions for commercial, HOA, and residential clients throughout Northeast Florida. We specialize in design, maintenance, lawn care, irrigation, and outdoor living carpentry, serving communities like Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, Jacksonville Beach, Ponte Vedra, Nocatee, St. Johns, and Fernandina Beach.