Homeowner’s associations have become more and more prevalent in Florida over the years. For those that have existed for quite some time, there is a real risk of being unable to collect HOA dues or enforce their covenants and restrictions. So, what may cause this risk, you ask? That would be the Florida Marketable Record Titles Act (MRTA), Chapter 712, Fla. Stat. for HOAs. MRTA is a Florida law passed in 1963 to simplify land sales by rendering property free and clear of stale claims of record. MRTA’s purpose was to strip restrictions and encumbrances from ownership of a property after thirty years if those encumbrances did not fall within a class of statutory exceptions.
Contact the Community Association attorneys at Woodward, Pires & Lombardo, P.A. today if you have questions about the Marketable Record Title Act or other homeowners association laws in Florida. Call (239) 649-6555 or see www.wpl-legal.com.
Covenants Approaching the 30-Year Mark
For example, covenants and restrictions that are disclosed by official record book and page in a deed or other “muniment” of title are exempt. The problem for many HOA covenants pushing that thirty-year period is that they are often not referred to by official record book and page or by sufficient plat reference in deeds. As property ownership in a community did not begin at the same time for all owners, once the restrictions are stripped from properties within a community after 30 years, properties within an HOA cease to be bound by the governing documents one by one, creating a community where assessments cannot be collected, and restrictions cannot be enforced against all owners within the community.
Revitalization and Preservation Procedures
Traditionally, HOAs had two avenues by which to deal with MRTA issues. One method was to record a notice in the public records to extend their restrictions prior to the expiration of the thirty-year deadline. The second and more complicated method was to revive stale or expired covenants through a revitalization process requiring the creation of a committee, an update to the documents, and a vote of the members, among numerous other specific requirements.
However, in 2018, various changes were made to MRTA to simplify the revitalization and preservation procedures for HOAs. Additionally, changes were made to incorporate other types of associations governed by MRTA. However, the most important change made to MRTA rules in 2018 was it requires boards of communities to discuss the preservation of the covenants and restrictions annually. Hence, the board of directors needs to openly review and discuss its governing documents to determine if action is required to preserve them.
Reviewing Governing Documents is Essential
Clearly, Associations approaching the 30 years need to make a conscious effort to review their governing documents to be sure they will not run afoul of MRTA. However, with the changes made in 2018, the process of taking action to prevent or rectify any MRTA issues has been simplified. Associations must take advantage of this to ensure their association continues to be governed by their association documents.
Contact an experienced Real Estate Law and Community Associations Law Attorney today at Woodward, Pires & Lombardo, P.A. Call 239-649-6555 or email email@example.com.
Woodward, Pires & Lombardo, P.A.
3200 Tamiami Trail N, Suite 200
Naples, FL 34103
Marco Island Office:
606 Bald Eagle Drive, Ste 500
Marco Island, FL 34145