The 2023 hurricane season is upon us once again. The official NOAA forecast calls for a “near-normal” number of storms in 2023. “NOAA is forecasting a range of 12 to 17 total named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher). Of those, 5 to 9 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 1 to 4 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher).”
With that in mind, Florida condominium associations and unit owners need to have plans in place before hurricane season starts in case disaster strikes. With proper planning, damage to property and persons can be mitigated if a hurricane makes landfall near your condominium residence. It is important for the condominium association to be ready in the event a hurricane makes landfall near the condominium residences.
Residents and the condominium association Board Members also need to be aware that Florida Statutes, 718.1265 grants the condominium ssociation emergency powers in the event a state of emergency is declared. The emergency powers are in place to help protect the safety of persons and property and address a wide range of issues including; shutting down utilities and other basic services, requiring residents to evacuate the condominium property, powers to contract for repairs and debris removal, powers to borrow money to fund emergency repairs, and powers regarding assessments for emergency repairs.
Condominium unit owners, residents, and condominium association board members should consider all legal implications when creating a hurricane preparedness plan and should look to the following for guidance:
Condominium Documents: Condominium associations in Florida typically have governing documents, including the Declaration of Condominium, Bylaws, and Rules and Regulations. These governing documents may include provisions related to hurricane preparedness, emergency procedures, and the authority of the association during emergencies.
Mandatory Evacuations: When a mandatory evacuation order is issued by local authorities, condominium associations have the authority to enforce the evacuation order within the condominium property. Unit owners and residents must comply with evacuation orders for their safety.
Emergency Assessments: In the event of a hurricane or other emergency, condominium associations may levy emergency assessments to fund the costs of preparation, response, and repairs. The association’s governing documents and/or Florida law will outline the process for implementing and collecting these assessments.
Emergency Powers Limitations: While condominium associations have emergency powers, it’s important to note that these powers are not unlimited. The condominium association must act reasonably and in good faith, and its actions should be necessary to protect life, limb, or property. The association’s exercise of emergency powers must be consistent with the law and the governing documents.
Emergency Generator Requirements: In recent years, Florida has introduced regulations requiring certain condominiums to have emergency power generators to maintain essential services during power outages. These requirements vary based on factors such as the size of the condominium and the presence of vulnerable populations.
Should you have any questions regarding condominium association hurricane preparedness and the legal implications involved, Law Office of Ryan S. Shipp, PLLC and its team of West Palm Beach Florida Community Association Attorneys are here to help you with all of your Florida condominium association needs. Call us today @ 561.699.0399 to set-up an appointment to come visit us at our Lantana, Florida office location. We serve the entire State of Florida.
You may be interested in seeing some of our other legal posts on Florida Community Associations. For your convenience, please see links below.
Community Association Legal Blog Links