ADA compliancy and website requirements
ADA Compliant Websites for Condominiums and HOA’s
What is an ADA Compliant Website?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires certain businesses to make accommodations for people with disabilities. Although the regulations are not completely clear, web content should be accessible to the blind, deaf and those who need to navigate the Internet and websites by voice, screen readers and various assistive technologies.
Even though the regulations are not clear, there are people being sued for not having an accessible website and the lawsuits are on the rise in a variety of different types of businesses. Failure to create an ADA-compliant website could open your condominium association, homeowners association, or management company to lawsuits and financial liabilities.
Lawsuits for ADA Non-Compliant Websites
There are at least, just as many websites as there are businesses so the question arose as to whether company websites were within the scope of the ADA requirements and whether there was an obligation to code websites so that they are accessible to visually impaired and hearing impaired individuals. There have been a rising number of people who are disabled who have hired attorneys and started lawsuits against companies for alleged lack of website accessibility compliance under the ADA.
Association Websites and Accessibility
Florida is in first place for the amount of lawsuits brought for this specific alleged lack of compliance. These lawsuits have brought attention to the amount of websites that are not compliant and have motivated many different industries including association websites to upgrade their websites to be more accessible to disabled people.
Because of the absence of Department of Justice regulations, the courts turned to private industry and associations for appropriate standards for the visually and hearing impaired. For guidance, some courts have looked to the Worldwide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 as the standard to be met.
These guidelines offer a wide range of recommendations for making web content more accessible. If these guidelines are followed, a website’s content can become more accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities. These guidelines address accessibility of web content on desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. Following these guidelines will also often make web content more usable to users in general.
Condominium Websites and Statute 718
Florida Governor Rick Scott approved House Bill 1237 on June 27 of 2017. This bill is an amendment to the Florida Statute 718 Condominiums. This Bill addresses conflicts of interest, financial reporting, term limits and access to association records by the owners and residents of the condominium.
“By July 1, 2018, an association with 150 or more units which does not manage timeshare units shall post digital copies of the documents specified in subparagraph 2. on its website”. The above statement has since been amended and the date to comply is now January 1, 2019. Non-compliant condominium associations can be fined and/or criminally charged.
Current Copies of Documents Must be Listed on the Website
Florida Statute §718.111(12)(g)2 requires current copies of various documents listed in the statute to comply with having these documents available on the website. If any of the documents which are to be posted on the website contain information which should be protected from disclosure, the document must be redacted prior to posting. In addition, posting on the website is not in lieu of any requirements to mail or deliver notices to member but in addition to any requirements.
While Statute 718.111 only applies to condos, there was another law (SB398) passed in the same legislative session applying to condos, HOAs and Co-ops that may apply. While the law does not specifically express that HOAs and Co-Ops must have a website, it does say “Each association shall designate on its website…” which assumes that each association must have a website.
Townhomes, Mixed Use, PUDs and Master Associations
Furthermore, while the state of Florida has a different set of laws for Condos and HOAs, there are a number of circumstances that can cause your community to fall in a grey area, such as townhomes, mixed use, PUDs, and master associations.
Your website information must be privately accessible to owners including but not limited to:
- All your governing documents in digital form
- A list of all executory contracts or documents (a contract that has not yet been fully performed or fully executed)
- Current and pending budgets
- Annual financial reports
- Info on your board of directors
- Supporting documents for consideration at unit owner meetings
- Board meeting Notice, Agenda and supporting items pending votes
- and many more
Meeting notices for any meeting of the unit owners and the annual general meeting must be posted no less than 14 days prior to the meeting. This info must be linked from the home page, or listed on home page under a section titled “Notices.”
Association’s estoppel designee: “Each association shall designate on its website a person or entity with a street or e-mail address for receipt of a request for an estoppel certificate issued pursuant to this section. The estoppel certificate must be provided by hand delivery, regular mail, or e-mail to the requestor on the date of issuance of the estoppel certificate.”
This change was passed under SB 398: Estoppel Certificates, and applies to Statutes 718 (condos), 719 (co-ops) and 720 (homeowner’s associations).
Changes in 720 – Homeowner’s Associations
- Members of the board of administration may use e-mail as a means of communication but may not cast a vote on an association matter via e-mail
- The association may levy reasonable fines
- How amendments can be proposed
- Elections and Board Vacancies
- Accepting Partial Payments
One of the most important qualities of a successful homeowners association is its ability to distribute information between the board, the members and their management team. Significance of information and making such information readily available is fundamental to keeping residents informed of the latest goings-on around their community. Good communication makes things run effortlessly and fosters a sense of confidence in association members about their governing board and administrators.
As it is in most relationships, a lack of communication is the number-one reason for complaints. It is after all the main reason couples go into therapy. When it comes to condominium associations, there are more complaints about not enough meetings held, failure of a board to follow up quickly on its decisions and responsibilities and board members ignoring resident’s concerns.
Management and boards can make themselves available to answer questions and concerns and by dispersing information about decisions and projects to the residents of the community. By doing this, they can vastly improve relationships with association members.
Moving into the future with Condominium Websites in Florida
In the past, the primary way of communicating information about anything in a homeowners association was to put it in the association newsletter, or to announce it during a meeting and count on those who attended the meeting to inform those who didn’t. Those method are in the past now.
When Conduu builds a condominium website we can include a variety of options for your community to add to your uniquely custom website including but not limited to:
- Emergency Alerts (via Push Notification or Email)
- Bulletin Board
- News Section
- Newsletters and Email Blast
- Member Profiles and Business Directories
- Home for Sale /Rent
- Discussion Forums
- Online (Facility) Reservation
- Fun Features for your Members
- And many more
In addition to improving communication, a website can also help significantly to reduce workload by providing owners (and prospects) frequently requested forms and documents.
- Agreement to Lease Condominium
- Condominium Bylaws
- Notice of Lien to a Condominium Unit Owner for Unpaid Assessment Fees
Some others include:
Application to Condominium Association to make Alterations and/or Modifications to Condominium Unit and Indemnification Agreement
Application to Condominium Association and Agreement for Permission to Keep a Pet in the Owner’s Unit
Rules and Regulations of an Association of Owners of a Condominium Association
Wouldn’t it be more convenient if all of the forms anyone in a Condominium Association needed were on the website? This would save time and money and improve confidence in the board.
Pay Monthly Fees and Special Assessments Easily Online
With our online payment system you can have your owners pay monthly fees and special assessments online with a credit card or set up ACH payment and pay recurring fees automatically. We offer a full range of online management tools.
- Payment Options
- (Payment) Reminders
- Document Management
- Custom Forms
- Directories, Mailing Lists
- Maintenance Requests
- User Statistics
- (Lease) Applications
- Secure E-Signature Modules
- Parking / Pet / Guest Registrations
- Renovation/ Assessment Updates, Alters, Schedules
- Visitor Management
- and many more …
We provide a hassle-free set up process and administration. We take care of communication with property management, staff and owners. In addition, we will continue to administer content once online. There are many website providers. However, oftentimes they only provide of-the-shelf products without maintenance or updates. We customize your website 100%.
Long Term Relationships
Our main goal is to build long-term relationships with our clients and to evolve our products to best fit your needs. Our support and assistance is part of our 100% customer satisfaction guarantee. We offer mobile apps, gate clearance apps and other solutions developed specifically for communities like yours that can easily be integrated at a later time.
Growth and Progress
Technology keeps changing constantly. Yes, it can be confusing. Not to worry. We constantly update and improve our products free of charge to you. We will make sure you will get the most out of it without adding confusion. We are your personal IT experts. Unlike others, we offer complimentary tutorials in person and make your requests our top priority.
Conduu offers a fully supportive, centralized website and software which are custom designed to meet your condominium association needs. Management companies, managers, self-managed properties and associations use us because of our ability to customize our sites and software to fit your exclusive needs and wants.
Conduu gives you the flexibility to choose the options that best meets the goals of your association on management team while saving you money and time.
Call us today for a demo.