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Bill Will Allow High-Rise Condos to Opt out of an ELSS; Estoppel Bill to be Heard in Committee

One of the issues that confronted many condominium associations last year involved fire sprinkler retrofitting, whether the association was required to take an opt out vote, and the ramifications for taking an opt out vote. As a result, legislation has been introduced by Rep. Moraitis (HB 653) and Sen. Passidomo (SB 744) to clarify some of the more confusing parts of the opt out statute, as well as giving high-rise condominiums and cooperatives the right to also opt out of an engineered life safety system (ELSS). Former State Senator Ellyn Bogdanoff wrote an Op-Ed piece in the Sun Sentinel that explains the history of the fire sprinkler opt out law, and the effort that she is spearheading to further amend the law. Ellyn’s Op-Ed piece can be read here: Why the Florida Legislature needs to fix condo sprinkler-system problem (http://www.sun-sentinel.com/opinion/commentary/fl-eboped-engineered-life-safety-20170214-story.html). Ellyn is now a part of Becker & Poliakoff’s legal and lobbying team and if your association wishes to join the effort to change the law, please reach out to Ellyn at ebogdanoff@bplegal.com.

The “Estoppel Bill”, SB 398 by Sen. Passidomo, will be heard in its first committee of reference, the Senate Regulated Industries Committee on Wednesday, February 22. The bill sets a “cap” on the amount that can be charged for estoppel certificates and prohibits associations from collecting the fee when the certificate is prepared. In addition, the bill requires associations to provide a long list of information in the estoppel certificate, in addition to the amounts owed to the association. The title industry and the realtors are in favor of the bill. The main point of contention is the requirement that associations wait until the closing to collect the estoppel certificate fee. We believe that the fee should be paid when the request is made and when the association provides the service. Otherwise, the association could be left holding the bag if the closing does not occur.

We will continue to keep you posted. Make sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for up to date information as the bills make their way through the legislative process.

Yeline Goin

Yeline Goin

Contact: ygoin@beckerlawyers.com

Yeline Goin is a member of the Firm’s Community Association Practice Group and Government Law & Lobbying Group. She concentrates her practice on the law of community associations, primarily representing condominium, cooperative, and homeowners’ associations. She also represents local governments and other entities in Tallahassee as part of our State Lobbying Team.