Florida HOA, condo, & co-op legislation update (May 2019)

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities

Several controversial HOA, condo, and co-op bills considered this year. Almost none of them passed the House and Senate in Florida’s legislative session — with one exception.

Several bills gained momentum, generated much debate, and generated several committee and floor amendments. But, in the end the Legislature could not agree on any of the following issues:

  • strengthening enforcement of the Condominium Act
  • Preventing false certifications for emotional support animals
  • regulation of short-term rental property

Of the bills I was tracking, the following were “Indefinitely postponed and withdrawn from consideration”

CS/CS/HB 987 (2019) Public Lodging Establishments —proposed that state law would override local ordinances, protecting the constitutional right to rent one’s property for any length of time.

CS/CS/CS/HB 1075 (2019) Community Associations —would have made multiple confusing amendments to current statutes relating to “contracts, documents, records, assessments, fines, liens, improvements, online voting, & electronic notice” in community associations. The bill was on its third committee substitute when the session ended.

HB 1129 (2019) Public Lodging Establishments —proposed regulation of short-term rental platforms, advertising, and licensing requirements.

HB 155 (2019) Homeowner Association Recalls —proposed allowing only owners who “physically reside” in the community to vote for a board recall. As predicted, this bill went nowhere in Florida, well known for its high influx of “Snow Bird” seasonal homeowners.

HB 565 (2019) Housing Discrimination —would have eliminated certain legal remedies for victims of housing discrimination

HB 647, 1st Eng. (2019) Community Association Fire and Life Safety Systems —would have postponed the deadline date for retrofitting older condo and co-op buildings with sprinklers or Emergency Life Safety Systems for another three years. The provision delaying the retrofit deadline was later added to a development bill, HB 7103. (See below.)

CS/CS/SB 610 (2019) Condominium Associations —would have revised or created criminal penalties for board misconduct relating to kickbacks, conflicts of interest, voting irregularities.

HB 1259 (2019) Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes — like SB 610, would have revised or created criminal penalties for board misconduct relating to kickbacks, conflicts of interest, voting irregularities. This bill also would have prevented division funds from being transferred to the General Fund.

CS/CS/HB 1383 (2019) Private Property Rights Protection — Dubbed the “Bert J. Harris, Jr., Private Property Rights Protection Act,” it would have granted property owners the right to sue, when a government entity devalues their property by way of use restrictions.

Fire sprinkler industrial parts
(Pixabay.com free image)

One exception — Fire Safety Life Systems retrofit deadline extension

At the last minute, the following language was added to a bill backed by developers of affordable housing, HB 7103.

The local authority having jurisdiction may not require completion of retrofitting with a fire sprinkler system or an engineered life safety system before January 1, 2024

HB 7103 requires local governments to increase housing density bonuses (allow construction of additional homes per acre of land), waive certain impact fees, or provide other incentives, in exchange for a developer’s commitment to build or fund affordable housing units.

This development planning strategy, commonly referred to as “inclusionary housing,” is used in other cities and states across the U.S., but with minimal success, in terms of notably increasing the quantity of affordable housing.

When it became clear that HB 647 wasn’t going to pass, the sprinkler and Engineered Life Safety Systems (ELSS) amendment was added to HB 7103.

Important note to IAC readers: It’s common political strategy to resurrect controversial provisions of a dying bill, by adding them to another bill that seems sure to garner the legislative votes needed to pass.

The supporters of delaying the retrofit date — yet again — obviously had a back up plan to achieve their goal. ♦

 

 

News Sources:

NO COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION BILL PASSED! (Jan Bergemann, CCFJ)

Sprinkler delay makes it into property development bill
The bill would give high-rise condo complexes another four years to comply. (Drew Wilson, Florida Politics | May 4, 2019)

See also, two earlier IAC updates:

Florida HOA legislation update (March 2019)

 

Florida HOA, condo, & co-op legislation updates (April 2019)