Condominiums line the Atlantic shore of Key Biscayne, May 28, 2023. Local legislative leaders are holding a town hall Wednesday about complaints theyve recieved about the way some associations are managed and calls for more transparency in condo governance. (KBI Photo/Theo Miller)
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A measure that provides new criminal penalties for misbehaving condominium boards is now law, after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed H.B. 2021 on Friday afternoon. 

The legislation was spearheaded by State Rep. Vicki Lopez, R-Miami, who held multiple meetings with condo owners who complained that associations were falling short of transparency objectives. One of the sessions was on Key Biscayne, where more than half of the island’s 15,000 people live in condominiums. 

“The bill was born out of comments from those that live in condos,” Lopez said. “I would encourage them to continue to reach out to my office with whatever ideas that they have.” ground.”

District 7 Commissioner Raquel Regalado watches as State Rep. Vicki Lopez speaks at a condo town hall in Key Biscayne, Fla., Wednesday Nov. 1, 2023. Lopez says will introduce a set of major changes to laws covering condominium associations in the next Florida legislative session, saying some condo boards are out of control. (KBI Photo/Tony Winton)

The law’s provisions  take effect July 1

  • Creates criminal penalties for kickbacks and fraudulent voting activities, and for refusing to release records. 
  • Expands the Division of Condominiums 
  • Requires most associations to have specified records online and to keep additional accounting records, 
  • Adds professional practice standards for licensed community managers and management companies. 

In addition to changes in regulation, the bill also beefs up the Department of Business Regulation, which will get $7.5 million in recurring dollars to hire 62 new staffers to investigate complaints from condo residents. 

The changes in law are part of the aftermath of the Champlain Towers South condo collapse in Surfside that killed 98 people on June 24, 2021. A federal team continues to investigate the collapse, with much attention focused on the building’s pool deck. 

The investigation led by the National Institute of Standards & Technology is looking into two dozen different scenarios that could explain why the 12-story building failed. Investigators said they expected to finish by 2025. 

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Lopez said compared to other parts of Miami, Key Biscayne’s condo problems are not severe.

“There’s maybe one or two or three that are experiencing some issues,” she said. “There’s a lot more going on in Brickell, for instance, where there’s more issues with condo boards [and] condo owners.” 

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BIILY JEAN LOUIS is the senior editor of the Key Biscayne Independent. A native of Port Au Prince, Haiti, Jean Louis  has worked for Bloomberg and the Baltimore Sun. He is a corps member of Report for America


Tony Winton is the editor-in-chief of the Key Biscayne Independent and president of Miami Fourth Estate, Inc. He worked previously at The Associated Press for three decades winning multiple Edward R. Murrow awards. He was president of the News Media Guild, a journalism union, for 10 years. Born in Chicago, he is a graduate of Columbia University. His interests are photography and technology, sailing, cooking, and science fiction.

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