Two More Weeks Left in the 2017 Legislative Session; What Bills are Most Likely to Pass?
There are two weeks left in the 2017 Legislative Session—assuming it ends on time. Of the many different community association bills that were filed at the beginning of session, the following four (4) sets of bills are the ones that appear to be most likely to pass.
Condominium Bills by Sen. Garcia and Rep. Diaz (SB 1682 and HB 1237) — I have written extensively about these bills in previous CALL Alerts. HB 1237 has been significantly amended as follows:
• Criminal penalties will be limited to forging election ballots and voting certificates, theft and embezzlement of association funds, and destroying official records in furtherance of a crime;
• Mandatory websites for posting official records for associations that operate more than 150 units, to be effective on July 1, 2018;
• Mandatory term limits for board members, regardless of the size of the association, except if there are no eligible candidates.
The Senate bill will be heard in the Rules Committee on 4/25/17, at 2:00 p.m. The House bill has been approved by all committees and now heads to the floor of the House for consideration by the full House of Representatives.
Estoppel Bills by Sen. Passidomo and Rep. Donalds (SB 398 and HB 483) — The Senate bill has been approved by all committees of reference and was approved by the Senate on 4/6/17 by a vote of 36-1. The House bill has been approved by all committees, and is awaiting consideration by the full House. The bills:
• Cap the amount that can be charged for estoppel certificates ($250), with additional amounts due if the unit is delinquent and/or if the estoppel certificate is requested on an expedite basis.
• Allow associations to require that the estoppel certificate fee be paid when the certificate is prepared (i.e., the “pay at close” provision that was in earlier versions of the bill has been removed).
• Require that the estoppel certificate include some additional information about the unit including “open violations of the rules and regulations”.
Fire Sprinkler/ELSS/Bulk Buyer/HOA Budgets and Reserves Bills by Sen. Passidomo and Rep. Moraitis (SB 744 and HB 653) — The Senate bill has been approved by two committees and must still be heard by Rules. The House bill has been approved by three committees, and will be heard in its final committee of reference (Commerce) on Monday, 4/24/17. The bills:
• Allow high rise buildings to opt out of an engineered life safety system (ELSS). The required vote is two-thirds of all voting interests;
• Clarify that non-high rise buildings (under 75 feet) are not required to retrofit with sprinklers or an ELSS;
• Require condominium and cooperative associations that operate a building of three stories or more that has not installed a sprinkler system in the common areas of the building to mark the building with a sign or symbol approved by the State Fire Marshal in a manner sufficient to warn persons conducting fire control and other emergency operations of the lack of a sprinkler system in the common areas.
• Make permanent the “Distressed Condominium Relief Act” (i.e., the “bulk buyer” law) that is supposed sunset on July 1, 2018 (this is not in the Senate bill);
• Revise the provisions regarding termination of condominiums.
The original bills included new budget and reserves provisions for HOAs, but those have been removed from the bills.
Marketable Record Title Act (MRTA) Bills by Sen. Passidomo and Rep. Edwards (SB 1046 and HB 735) — The Senate bill has been approved by two committees, and must still be approved by Rules. The House bill has been approved by two committees and is will be considered by Judiciary on 4/24/17. The bills:
• Do not completely exempt HOAs from MRTA, but revise the procedures for preserving covenants and restrictions under MRTA;
• Allow non-residential covenants and restrictions to be preserved under MRTA; and
• Include a procedure for non-mandatory HOA communities to revitalize expired covenants and restrictions.