(1) Any person who, in reasonable reliance upon any material statement or information that is false or misleading and published by or under authority from the developer in advertising and promotional materials, including, but not limited to, a contract of purchase, the declaration of covenants, exhibits to a declaration of covenants, brochures, and newspaper advertising, pays anything of value toward the purchase of a parcel in a community located in this state has a cause of action to rescind the contract or collect damages from the developer for his or her loss before the closing of the transaction. After the closing of the transaction, the purchaser has a cause of action against the developer for damages under this section from the time of closing until 1 year after the date upon which the last of the events described in paragraphs (a) through (d) occurs:

(a) The closing of the transaction;

Terms Used In Florida Statutes 720.402

  • association: means a Florida corporation responsible for the operation of a community or a mobile home subdivision in which the voting membership is made up of parcel owners or their agents, or a combination thereof, and in which membership is a mandatory condition of parcel ownership, and which is authorized to impose assessments that, if unpaid, may become a lien on the parcel. See Florida Statutes 720.301
  • community: includes all real property, including undeveloped phases, that is or was the subject of a development-of-regional-impact development order, together with any approved modification thereto. See Florida Statutes 720.301
  • Contract: A legal written agreement that becomes binding when signed.
  • Damages: Money paid by defendants to successful plaintiffs in civil cases to compensate the plaintiffs for their injuries.
  • declaration: means a recorded written instrument or instruments in the nature of covenants running with the land which subject the land comprising the community to the jurisdiction and control of an association or associations in which the owners of the parcels, or their association representatives, must be members. See Florida Statutes 720.301
  • Developer: means a person or entity that:
    (a) Creates the community served by the association; or
    (b) Succeeds to the rights and liabilities of the person or entity that created the community served by the association, provided that such is evidenced in writing. See Florida Statutes 720.301
  • Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
  • Governing documents: means :
    (a) The recorded declaration of covenants for a community and all duly adopted and recorded amendments, supplements, and recorded exhibits thereto;
    (b) The articles of incorporation and bylaws of the homeowners' association and any duly adopted amendments thereto; and
    (c) Rules and regulations adopted under the authority of the recorded declaration, articles of incorporation, or bylaws and duly adopted amendments thereto. See Florida Statutes 720.301
  • Lease: A contract transferring the use of property or occupancy of land, space, structures, or equipment in consideration of a payment (e.g., rent). Source: OCC
  • Obligation: An order placed, contract awarded, service received, or similar transaction during a given period that will require payments during the same or a future period.
  • Parcel: means a platted or unplatted lot, tract, unit, or other subdivision of real property within a community, as described in the declaration:
    (a) Which is capable of separate conveyance; and
    (b) Of which the parcel owner, or an association in which the parcel owner must be a member, is obligated:
  • person: includes individuals, children, firms, associations, joint adventures, partnerships, estates, trusts, business trusts, syndicates, fiduciaries, corporations, and all other groups or combinations. See Florida Statutes 88.6011
(b) The issuance by the applicable governmental authority of a certificate of occupancy or other evidence of sufficient completion of construction of the purchaser’s residence to allow lawful occupancy of the residence by the purchaser. In counties or municipalities in which certificates of occupancy or other evidences of completion sufficient to allow lawful occupancy are not customarily issued, for the purpose of this section, evidence of lawful occupancy shall be deemed to be given or issued upon the date that such lawful occupancy of the residence may be allowed under prevailing applicable laws, ordinances, or statutes;
(c) The completion by the developer of the common areas and such recreational facilities, whether or not the same are common areas, which the developer is obligated to complete or provide under the terms of the written contract, governing documents, or written agreement for purchase or lease of the parcel; or
(d) In the event there is not a written contract or agreement for sale or lease of the parcel, then the completion by the developer of the common areas and such recreational facilities, whether or not they are common areas, which the developer would be obligated to complete under any rule of law applicable to the developer’s obligation.

Under no circumstances may a cause of action created or recognized under this section survive for a period of more than 5 years after the closing of the transaction.

(2) In any action for relief under this section, the prevailing party may recover reasonable attorney’s fees. A developer may not expend association funds in the defense of any suit under this section.