When it comes to hurricane protection, it's never too early to start planning. In Florida, it's not uncommon to see people waiting until the summer months to install hurricane protection, however, the best thing you can do is to start thinking about it early - especially if you're a seasonal resident of Southwest Florida.
Installing hurricane protection, such as impact windows and condo hurricane shutters, is the first step in being prepared for hurricane season. These code-compliant forms of hurricane protection will help keep your home protected from high wind, flying debris, and rain.
HOAs and condo associations have different roles when it comes to hurricane protection for their communities. If you're new to condo living, it can be confusing to know what role the condo association plays when it comes to the installation of hurricane protection. Condo unit owners often wonder if their condo association can require residents to install hurricane protection, and if so, who is responsible for paying for the installation.
What are the Condo Association’s rights for Condo Window Installation?
Florida Statutes Section 718.113(5) addresses hurricane shutter policies for condo associations. With the adoption of this statute, condo associations are required to create a hurricane shutter policy which must be followed by unit owners. A condo association may not make changes to common elements, such as the lobby area, of a condo building unless they go through the correct approval process, which may vary by the condo association.
Any hurricane shutter policy adopted by a condo association must comply with applicable building codes. The hurricane shutter policy should include which colors and styles of hurricane shutters unit owners are allowed to install.
Does the statute give condo boards/associations the right to install hurricane protection?
The Florida law on hurricane shutters does authorize the board to install hurricane protection, including condo hurricane shutters, which meet or exceed building code guidelines only if it's approved by a majority of voting members of the condo. If a majority of owners vote in favor, the board may install hurricane shutters, impact windows, or other code-compliant hurricane protection.
A vote of owners is not required if maintenance, repair, or replacement of hurricane shutters or impact glass is the responsibility of the condo association. Additionally, if laminated glass or window film that has been architecturally designed to function as hurricane protection has been previously installed, the board may not install hurricane protection without approval by a majority vote of the unit owners.
The Declaration of Condominium and Hurricane Protection
The association is responsible for the maintenance, repair, and replacement of hurricane protection only if these items are listed as the responsibility of the association in its declaration of condominium. That means their policy for hurricane shutters for condo units may be different than their policy for hurricane-impact doors.
If these items are not included in the declaration, then they are the responsibilities of the unit owners. Hurricane protection is important, and it’s worth checking your association’s guidelines to see who is responsible.
Who Covers the Expense of Condo Window Installation?
Installing hurricane protection can be expensive, and Section 718.115(1)(e) of the Florida Statutes asserts that who pays for the installation depends on the declaration of the condominium. If the declaration says that the association is responsible for the installation, replacement, repair, and maintenance of hurricane protection, then the installation of hurricane protection is a common expense. In this case, the association covers the expense.
However, if the declaration states that these items are the responsibility of the unit owners, the expense will be charged individually to unit owners based on the cost associated with the unit. Luckily, condo hurricane shutters are a great option for your unit because they offer real protection and may be more affordable than other options.
Living in a condo is often very different from living in a single-family home and knowing who is responsible for which aspects of hurricane protection is often difficult for unit owners. In short, condo associations can adopt certain specifications that mandate which types of hurricane protection are allowed in their communities.
However, the board alone cannot mandate the installation of hurricane protection. In order to require residents to install hurricane protection, the condo association needs a majority vote among unit owners. If you're still unsure as to who is responsible for installing, repairing, or even paying for hurricane protection, the best thing you can do is to contact your condo association.
Your Hurricane Protection Matters
Knowing the facts about hurricanes is just as important as knowing who is responsible for your condo’s hurricane protection. When you know what kind of protection you need, you can research your options or even make suggestions to your condo association board members.