Special Hurricane Ian Legal Announcement

The lawyers and professionals at Ansbacher Law are standing by to assist you and your community. You can reach us via email at ca@ansbacher.net, or by phone at 904.737.4600. We will be monitoring emails outside normal business hours until the storm is over. You can also reach attorney Barry Ansbacher by mobile number at 904.568.1000 if you have any trouble reaching our team.

As Hurricane Ian approaches Florida, we want to share some information to assist you and your community in preparing for the storm and dealing with the aftermath.

First, the most current information regarding Hurricane Ian is available online directly from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA government website. Real-time satellite imagery and information regarding the direction of the storm are available at National Hurricane Center (noaa.gov).

Second, your association may now use its emergency powers to prepare for the storm.

Gov. DeSantis declared a State of Emergency on September 23, 2022, in certain counties, but on September 24, 2022, the State of Emergency was expanded to cover the entire State of Florida. A copy of Executive Order 22-218 as amended is available at EO-22-218-1.pdf (flgov.com) and EO-22-219-TS-Ian.pdf (flgov.com). For Florida condominium and homeowner associations, what is significant is that all associations are now within a section 252.36 Fla. Stat. emergency area.

Condominium and homeowner associations now have emergency powers to deal with the storm. The emergency powers law for condominiums is section 718.1265, and for homeowner associations is section 720.316.

Key powers now available to all Florida homeowner associations include:

  • Conduct all board and committee meetings by phone or video conference (no live location required).
  • Hold meetings without formal advance notice otherwise required by your governing documents or Florida law. Only “practicable” notice is required, not the typical 48-hour advance notice.
  • Cancel or reschedule any meeting.
  • Appoint as assistant officers any persons who are not directors. – This would allow you to name your manager or an association member as a temporary officer to handle matters should your president be unavailable to handle storm-related matters.
  • Enter into agreements with local government for debris removal.
  • Shut down elevators, electricity, water, sewer, security systems, or air conditioners.
  • Upon the advice of emergency management officials, engineers, architects, or licensed contractors, limit or deny access to the association or condominium property to protect residents’ health and safety. However, there are additional requirements if you wish to deny access to individual condominium units.
  • Mitigate damage, including taking action to contract for the removal of debris and to prevent or mitigate the spread of fungus, including mold or mildew, by removing and disposing of wet drywall, insulation, carpet, cabinetry, or other fixtures on or within the association property. Condominium associations may also take such action on behalf of unit owners for work within units and require the owners to reimburse the association for the actual costs incurred by the association.
  • Levy special assessments without a vote of the owners.
  • Without owners’ approval, borrow money and pledge association assets as collateral to fund emergency repairs and carry out the duties of the association if operating funds are insufficient.

These emergency powers do not expire once the storm passes and continue for “the time reasonably necessary to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the association and the parcel owners and their family members, tenants, guests, agents, or invitees, and to mitigate further damage and make emergency repairs.”

If you have any questions or concerns, just call Barry, Anthony, or Hannah at Ansbacher Law.