Florida Legislative Season Is In Session Now!
This year, starting on January 11 and continuing for 66 days, the Florida legislature will be in session. In the aftermath of the Surfside Condo disaster, there will be changes that affect HOA's and Boards of Directors. Although the management afforded our communities is already addressing these needs, it is wise to be aware of the "letter of the law" WLRN reports on the proposed changes to the law.
Proposed Changes in Condominium Law
● Require condo boards to build reserves for eventual repairs.
● Require more frequent inspections.
● Require an itemized standard list of things to inspect.
● Require disclosure of reports to condo owners.
A common problem with condominium purchasers is the fact that most do not accurately assess the cost of possible, future, expensive, repairs. They just are not planning or have limited means to plan for future expenses. They are often very different from a single-family home.
Many condo associations do not have adequate reserves. The reserves they have only cover things like re-painting and roofing. Along with more robust reserves, it is suggested that bank lines of credit or a government lending program be made available to the association so the work can be done. Associations will still have the option to pass this additional cost in the form of a Special Assessment or increased saving to reserves, but in a way that is easier for condo owners to handle financially.
In the world of condos, there is often too much pressure on the association and board of directors to please the owners. With required third-party, professionals, presenting the reports, the board would be required by law to enact the necessary safety repairs. They would not have a choice to delay or defer the needed repair. Thus, the homeowners will not feel it is not necessary or digressional.
Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are already starting to require increased documentation of building maintenance records and needed repairs. This is good protection but will make it harder on condo associations and condo buyers if the records are not kept properly or needed repairs are not addressed. Good record keeping of all maintenance items is essential.
Other Proposed Legislation
● Hometown Hero Housing Program
Many Floridians would be able to afford the monthly payments for homeownership, but cannot save enough for the down payment, or closing costs. The Hometown Hero Housing Program would provide this for teachers, law enforcement, firefighters, and health care professionals. It is similar to some other programs in effect but would broaden the eligibility.
Rising Property Insurance
A look at balancing the insurance costs drivers from litigation, and frequent claims from storms. Also, factors affecting re-insurance and first-time insurance are making homeownership out of reach.
● Water Quality and Environmental Funding
Continued advocacy of keeping Florida's quality of water for the Everglades, springs, and beaches. Continue to reduce the impact of blue/green algae on the Florida coast.
● Private Property Rights
The right to rent out your property if desired. Support uniformed property rental policies, whether it is a long-term or short-term rental.
● Business Rent Tax Reduction
The business rent tax is set to be reduced by another 2%. Continued tax reduction creates incentives for businesses to invest in their businesses for the improvement of the community.
● Reduction of the gas tax
The reduction of the gas tax for 5 months by 25 cents.
Continuing the hard line on illegal immigrants. A proposal to transport illegals to another part of the country.
● Changes to Spring Testing in schools
Proposal to replace several current tests with progress monitoring tests.
Continue to monitor voting fraud with a 52 person office to investigate incidents.
Funding for long-term care facilities and also to expand telemedicine.
● Home Rule
Pre-empting some rules that were made on a local basis may unfairly target the profits of some businesses.
● Parental Paid Leave
Increasing the time for parental leave to one month.
It is clear to see the Florida legislature has a full slate for the 66 days they are in session. Some of these legislative changes directly affect our interests. Others do not directly relate to our business but may impact you personally.
To help with your HOA and Board of Directors, we are always ready for you to contact us.
References and Sources:
You may view the Bills and Sessions here: