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Legislative Update: Last Week of the 2018 Legislative Session

This is the last week of the Florida Legislature’s nine-week legislative session, which is scheduled to end on Friday, March 9.  In my last CALL Alert, I told you about the bills that were moving and that had the best chance of passing this session.   With only one week left, the vast majority of community association bills are “dying” or are “dead.”  The following is a list of the bills that we previously reported on, and the bills’ chances of passing:

Likely to Pass:  SB 266/HB 617, Relating to Covenants and Restrictions, by Sen. Passidomo and Rep. Edwards: The bills primarily involve the Marketable Record Title Act (MRTA).  The intent is to simplify the process for preserving covenants and restrictions of homeowners’ associations, and allow non-residential property owners’ associations to preserve covenants and restrictions. The bills will also allow non-mandatory homeowners’ associations to revitalize covenants and restrictions that have expired.  STATUS:  HB 617 was approved unanimously on 3/5/18 and will now be sent to the Senate for consideration.  SB 266 has been approved by all Senate committees and is on “special order calendar” for 3/6/18, which means that the timing is working out very well for the bills to pass.  

Questionable to Pass:  HB 841 and SB 1274, Relating to Community Associations, by Rep. Moraitis and Sen. Passidomo:  Among other things, the bills will:  (1) make the condominium “bulk buyer” law permanent; (2) require a vote of condominium unit owners to be taken before a material alteration or substantial addition to the common elements; (3) extend the date that condominiums must post a majority of its official records on a website to July 1, 2019 (the current deadline is July 1, 2018); (4) amend the existing condominium term limit language to provide that no board member may serve more than eight consecutive years, unless approved by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the voting interests voting in the election or unless there are not enough eligible candidates to fill the vacancies; (5) eliminate the current language in the Condominium Act that prohibits associations from hiring attorneys who also represent the management company of the association; and (6) require condominium recalls to be “facially valid.”  At its last committee of reference, HB 841 was amended to address rental amendments by a homeowners’ association (HOA).  Specifically, any HOA amendment that prohibits rentals or changes the minimum rental term may only be applied to those owners who purchase after the effective date of the amendment or those owners who vote in favor of the amendment, except if the amendment does the following:  (1) prohibits or regulates rentals for terms of less than 6 months; or (2) prohibits rentals more than three times in a calendar year. Such amendments shall apply to all parcel owners. The bill was also amended to prohibit a condominium association from prohibiting any unit owner from installing an electric vehicle charging station within the boundaries of the unit owner’s limited common element parking area, under certain circumstances. STATUS:  HB 841 was approved by the full House on 3/1/18.  However, the Senate companion bill, SB 1274, is “stuck” in the Rules Committee, which is no longer meeting.  It is possible that the bill could be removed from the Rules Committee, but there is no indication at this time that the bill will be considered by the entire Senate. 

Unlikely to Pass:  HB 1061/SB 1432, Relating to Community Association Fire and Life Safety Systems, by Rep. Moraitis and Sen. Farmer:  HB 1061 and SB 1432 will allow high-rise buildings to opt-out of an engineered life safety system (ELSS) by a vote of two-thirds of the total voting interests in the condominium/cooperative.  STATUS:  HB 1061 was approved in its first committee of reference, Careers & Competition Subcommittee, but the vote was very close (8-7).  However, it was not considered by any other committees, and the Senate bill was not heard by any Senate committee. 

For a full list of the bills that we are tracking, please see our CALL Bill Report.  The CALL Bill Report includes a list of the bills that have been filed with the Florida Legislature that will directly impact community associations. The report includes the bill number, the bill sponsor, the title of the bill, a summary of the bill, and the last three actions taken on the bill.

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.