Police Vehicles, Vacation Rentals and Emotional Support Animals
With only three weeks left in the 2020 Florida Legislative Session, your CALL Team has been busy.
Last Friday, Governor DeSantis signed SB 476 (sponsored by Senator Ed Hooper) into law. This bill prohibits condominium, cooperative, and homeowners’ associations from enforcing restrictions against police vehicles being parked inside their communities. This prohibition would apply regardless if the police vehicle is driven by an owner, a tenant, or a guest of an owner.
Senator Hooper sponsored the bill after a Clearwater police officer was fined last summer for parking her police car in her driveway in an HOA. There have always been two schools of thought on the issue of police vehicles being parked in plain sight in private residential communities. Some people feel that a marked vehicle makes the community safer while others believe it is an eyesore or that the vehicle’s presence indicates that there is a “criminal incident occurring”.
For most HOAs, however, this new legislation will have no impact since an opinion issued by then State Attorney Charlie Crist in 2005 made it clear that law enforcement vehicles are not commercial vehicles and thus not subject to an HOA’s ban against the parking of commercial vehicles.
Many of our CALL members have inquired about the status of the vacation rental bills that would make renting out one’s Florida home a “constitutional right” and only allow restrictions on that right to be made at the state and not the local level.
House Bill 1011 (Fischer), the companion bill to Senate Bill 1128 (Diaz), made it through its assigned committees and is pending a vote before the entire House. Passage by the full House is a significant step in making this bill law.
House Bill 1011, would prohibit local governments from regulating short-term vacation rentals. Last year a similar bill would have impacted the ability of private residential communities to regulate short-term rental activity but CALL’s discussions with the bill sponsors resulted in this year’s legislation exempting condominium declarations, cooperative documents, and declarations of covenants of homeowners’ associations. As such, there is no reason to believe that most of your community’s short-term rental restrictions will be impacted should this bill become law.
However, rules implemented by a condominium association may be preempted by HB 1011 if those restrictions are not contained in the declaration as a result of the wording in the bill. Please click the links to our letters to Senator Diaz and Representative Fischer to understand these concerns. Click here to read our letters to Senator Diaz and Representative Fischer.
Governor DeSantis is indicating that he might not allow the short term rental bill to become law as he doesn’t want the state “micromanaging” rentals. Click here to read more.
Emotional Support Animals
For those of you who have joined our HonestESA campaign we thank you for helping us work on the passage of SB 1084 (Diaz) and HB 209 (Killebrew), two bills which aim to protect disabled Floridians and curb some abuses related to Emotional Support Animals (ESAs).
Fraudulent ESA requests harm not only community associations by forcing them to spend limited resources and precious time evaluating sometimes blatantly fraudulent documentation but also harm persons with a legitimate disability-related need for an ESA. HonestESA members will soon be receiving a detailed analysis of where these bills stand.
Senate Bill 1084, the companion bill to House Bill 209, made it through the Agriculture Committee, Innovation, Industry, Technology Committee, and the Rules Committee with only a single “nay” vote. The bill is scheduled for a full Senate vote on Wednesday, February 26. A full Senate vote is a crucial step in making this vital bill law.
SB 1084 is a significant step forward in attempting to quell the growing emotional support animal abuse community associations have seen in recent years. We urge all our CALL Members to call or email their local Senator to express support for SB 1084. Please click here to connect with your elected official via our Legislator Connect feature.