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Letter to Senator Manny Diaz, Jr.

The Florida Senate
Attn: Senator Manny Diaz, Jr.
10001 Northwest 87th Avenue
Hialeah Gardens, FL 33016

RE: SB 1128

Dear Senator Diaz,

As the Executive Director of the Community Association Leadership Lobby (“CALL”), I am writing to you today regarding your bill, SB 1128, which will affect short-term vacation rentals. As you may be aware, CALL is a grassroots initiative which, since 2003, has been advocating for the best interests of the millions of Floridians living in community associations. Short-term vacation rentals have been a persistent problem for our CALL members and your constituents, and while we are encouraged by your emphasis on the need for state-wide regulation, we respectfully request the opportunity to discuss the bill’s particular impact on community associations. We believe that private residential community associations are best equipped to address the needs and concerns of their members, therefore we were pleased that the amendment to Section 509.243, Florida Statutes proposed by your Senate Bill 1128 includes language which specifically exempts the application of the act to the declarations of condominiums adopted pursuant to chapter 718, cooperative documents adopted pursuant to chapter 719, and declaration of covenants adopted under chapter 720.

However, you may not be aware that many of your constituents living in condominiums do not only have minimum leasing restrictions within their declarations. There are also board rules and restrictions, including specific rules intended to ensure safety such as the registration of guests, parking and security, which are found in documents other than just the declaration of condominium. It would be unreasonable if an association could not rely on properly adopted rules or bylaw provisions which address short-term rentals. If the text of the bill is not expanded to include an exception for the full spectrum of governing documents, specifically including condominium rules and regulations, we will have to advise our clients that there may be a problem in enforcing any restrictions other than those contained in a declaration. To better understand the scope of the issue, CALL conducted a survey from more than 1,300 Floridians with over 85% of the respondents reporting that they have minimum lease terms in their documents. We believe this data supports your own conclusion that private residential community associations should be exempt from preemption, but to effectively achieve this objective, we simply request that broader language be incorporated into the bill to ensure that such communities are protected.

Accordingly, I would ask that you consider amending Senate Bill 1128 to clarify that any restrictions in an association’s governing documents, whether they be declaration provisions or Board promulgated rules related to short-term rental activity, remain permissible. While I am very pleased that your bill is headed to the floor for a vote, I urge you to offer the following amendment:

Section 5. The application of this act shall not supersede any
current or future condominium governing documents including but
not limited to rules and restrictions
declaration or declaration of
condominium
adopted pursuant to chapter 718, Florida Statutes,
cooperative governing documents adopted pursuant to chapter
719, Florida Statutes, or governing documents declaration of
covenants or declaration
adopted pursuant to chapter 720, Florida
Statutes.

Lastly, I would like to extend an invitation for you to attend CALL’s Legislative Town Halls which will be scheduled shortly as your continued support for community association legislation will be of interest to our members. In the meantime, we hope that you will continue to rely on CALL as an ongoing source of community association issues.

Best Regards,

 

 

Donna DiMaggio Berger
Executive Director

Donna DiMaggio Berger

Donna DiMaggio Berger

Contact: dberger@beckerlawyers.com

Donna DiMaggio Berger is a member of the College of Community Association Lawyers (CCAL), a prestigious national organization that acknowledges community association attorneys who have distinguished themselves through contributions to the evolution or practice of community association law and who have committed themselves to high standards of professional and ethical conduct in the practice of community association law. Ms. Berger is also one of only 129 attorneys statewide who is a Board Certified Specialist in Condominium and Planned Development Law.