ORLANDO, Fla.—Condominium life is highly can be highly desirable for people with specific lifestyle needs. For example, those who are becoming independent leaving the nest for the first time, and those who are in the process of retiring and look for alternatives with less maintenance work required like patios, terraces, pools, outside painting, landscaping and many more. Downsizing seems just perfect for those particular two groups and could also make sense for many others.
Each state has various regulations regarding condominiums. They define:
- A unit.
- A common element or limited common element.
- The responsibility of the unit owner.
- The responsibility of the association.
- Which insurance is primary for what types of losses.
In 2009, there was an explicit provision in the Condominium Act that required unit owners to carry insurance. There have been back and forth with intended amendments but various portions of the Florida Statutes, were not amended and still suggest that owners are required to maintain some form of insurance. The Condominium Act states that apartment unit owners are responsible for the cost of reconstruction of any portions of the condominium property for which the unit owner is required to carry property insurance.
The Condominium Act makes another reference to the requirement of insurance by unit owners when it states that the financial responsibility of a unit owner for the costs of repairing or replacing portions of the condominium property apply to real or personal property “which the unit owners are required to insure.”
If Associations want to require unit owners to obtain insurance, they should make sure the requirement for owners to insure their units is clearly set forth in their governing documents, and if an association’s governing documents require unit owners to insure their units, they may also require unit owners to submit proof of insurance.
Here are some of the most recent laws and amendments regarding condominiums and homeowners associations in Florida for 2018.
Regarding official records the deadline for condominium and cooperative associations to fulfill official record requests has been extended from 5 working days to 10 working days in 2018. Also, Electronic records relating to voting have been included in the list of official records that must be kept by condominium and cooperative associations.
Condominium associations must now permanently maintain specific documents from the inception of the association, unlike the previous 7-year limitation. These include:
- Copies of articles of incorporation, declaration and rules.
- Minutes of all meetings.
- Plans, permits, warranties and other specifications provided by the developer.
- Accounting records for the association.
Many of the above mentioned topics are also now required by law to be posted on the HOA website.
If you are considering to buy a condominium unit, be sure to contact your insurance agent at Orlando Insurance Center to review these statutes before buying as they clarify what the duties and insurance requirements are for owners and the association.
Now, what types of insurance are required for condo owners?
First we need to have a clear definition of what constitutes de common areas. Common areas are the stairs, hallways, swimming pool, clubhouses and walkways, with each unit owner’s interest measured by the proportionate value the unit bears to the total value of all units. Limited common areas are areas shared between some, but not all units, for example, a shared patio area between units or a balcony. The common areas are managed by the condominium association.
Unit owners need their own individual property insurance policy, designed specifically for condominiums. For condominiums it’s a little more complicated. The following are considered part of the dwelling:
- Alterations, including the addition of wall-to-wall carpet or hardwood floors.
- Appliances, such as stoves, refrigerators, furnaces and hot water heaters.
- Fixtures, such as sinks, toilets, tubs and other built-in features.
- Improvements that are part of the building within the “residence premises.”
Also included are items of real property that pertain exclusively to the unit owner such as driveways or gardens. Property that is the responsibility of the insured under the association agreement is covered, as are structures owned solely by the insured at the “residence premises,” such as a garage, storage unit, patio or balcony.
The condominium policy provides broad coverage and avoids gaps by providing coverage that the insured is required to have per the association agreement.
An additional coverage is loss assessment. The policy covers amounts the association would charge the unit owner for damage to property owned by all members collectively. The loss must be by a peril insured against, other than earthquake or shock waves before, during or after a volcanic eruption.
If you have questions, we have answers. One of our courteous agents will be glad to help you through the process.
ENJOY LIFE RESPONSIBLY!