Bill Would Change Hurricane Requirements for Florida Condos

A bill recently introduced to the Florida Senate would revise the requirements for installing and maintaining hurricane protection material, including hurricane shutters, impact glass and code-compliant windows or doors, in residential and mixed-use condominiums.

The Hurricane Protection for Condominium Associations, SB 556, would require declarations for condominiums to specify whether the unit owner of the association is responsible for installing, maintaining, repairing or replacing hurricane protection materials.

Should SB 556 pass, all Florida residential and mixed-use condominium administrations must adopt hurricane protection specifications for each building operated by the association. Photo by Blake Connally.

The proposed bill defines hurricane protection materials as “hurricane shutters, impact glass, code-compliant windows or doors, and other code-compliant hurricane protection products used to preserve and protect the condominium or association property.”

Should the bill pass, all Florida residential and mixed-use condominium administrations must adopt hurricane protection specifications for each building operated by the association. The specifications can include color, style and other factors required by the condominium board. The specifications must comply with applicable building codes.

The bill’s language adds that if laminated glass, window film and other hurricane protection materials were already installed on a building and comply with existing building codes, the board cannot install hurricane protection without a majority vote of the voting interests. However, a vote is not required if the “maintenance, repair and replacement of hurricane protection is the association’s responsibility pursuant to the declaration of the condominium.”

According to the bill, unit owners will be able to remove and reinstall hurricane protection if the condominium association has to remove the protection for maintenance, repair or replacement. The board will be able to determine whether the association or the unit owner will perform the removal or reinstallation.

If the association handles the removal or reinstallation, the owner will be charged, and the fee can be enforced as an assessment. If the unit owners are responsible for the installation cost of hurricane protection per the declaration or a vote of the owners, then the cost of installation by the association is not a common expense, and the unit owners can be charged based on the cost of installation.

The bill also states that if an owner has already installed code-compliant hurricane protection, the owner can be excused from the assessment levied by the association to fund the installation of hurricane protection. The owner can also receive credit equal to the amount the owner would have been charged for the installation. The credit only applies if the installation is for all other units lacking code-compliant hurricane protection and the expense of the installation is funded by the budget, including reserve funds.

Under current law, a unit owner remains responsible for the share of expenses for hurricane protection installed on common elements and association property by the board and remains responsible for a proportional share of the expense of the replacement, operation, repair and maintenance.

If passed, the bill will take effect on July 1, 2023.

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