This week, we passed the halfway point of Florida's sixty-day annual legislative session. Gratefully, there are fewer days ahead than behind - and rumor has it our lawmakers will find a way to end on time this year, with no post-May multi-million dollar "Special Session" required to finish their work on time.
Subcommittees have officially completed their work. That means any bills that failed to be heard in legislative subcommittees are officially dead - but as we've mentioned before, bills that died in committee sometimes find new life as amendments on other bills.
As many bills drop from contention, this week we're focused on two (2) bills critical to your home ownership rights.
SB 398 passed through the full Senate this week. After much discussion, this proposed new law represents a delicate framework agreed to by all parties. The Community Association Network and our advocacy partners wish to thank Senator Passidomo and Representative Donalds for their leadership on this important bill affects your money and property rights.
The compromise legislation includes:
Removal of the "pay at closing" provision - would have caused your association to front hard costs of any real estate deals in your community- then chase dollars you advanced if the real estate sale did not close in your neighborhood, condo or town-home. Wasn't right or fair to shift the burden onto you and your unsuspecting neighbors.
Reasonable fee caps on estoppel preparation, including $250 for non-delinquent estoppels, a rush fee of $100 for three-day delivery, and an additional $150 fee for delinquent estoppels.
Tying fee caps to a five-year CPI.
Removal of punitive anti-association language that would have prevented associations from collecting delinquent amounts owed on properties, again raising your home ownership costs.
The House of Representatives Companion Bill, HB 483, likely will be heard next in the House Judiciary Committee, then head to the House floor.
This compromise is the result of years of negotiations, debate, pleading and advocacy by CAN. Advocating for the interests of community associations and our homeowners is one of the key reasons for your Community Association Network Membership, and we're grateful for all who lent their voices to the legislative process. We're especially thankful to the bill sponsors for their willingness to listen and work with all sides.
HB 1237: Condominiums
This bill does present a challenge for community associations, but your Community Association Network is working closely with bill sponsor Representative Jose Felix Diaz. We want to remove language from the bill that would harm associations, including adding criminal provisions to Florida Statute chapter 718.
The Community Association Network and our advocacy partners will continue working with Representative Diaz to solve his valid concerns with condominiums in his district, while doing no harm to associations throughout the state. We thank him for his ongoing discussions on this bill.
You have a voice...and a seat at the Legislative Table
As the clock keeps ticking towards the end of session on May 5, 2017, we continue monitoring these and other bills closely. Keep in mind, changes to these bills are still possible, and we may call upon you to contact your lawmakers.
We'll keep you posted if and when we need our members to stand up to protect the interests of Florida's community associations and homeowners - because as the old adage goes, "if you're not at the table, you're on the menu."