Senate Bill 1308 Filed and up for review

Senate Bill 1308
by Ronald Kaniuk, Esq.
Bakalar & Associates, PA

It has often been said that “Laws are like sausages. It’s better not to see them being made.”

With that in mind, we note that tomorrow (March 3) is the first day of the Florida Legislature’s 60-day lawmaking session for 2015.

Once again, a large number of legislative proposals involve Condominiums and Homeowners’ Associations; HB 611/SB 736 (Estoppels), HB 643 (Condominium Termination), CS-HB 87/SB 418 (Construction Defects), SB 274 (Dispute Resolution), HB 501 (Statute of Repose/Latent Defects), SB 348 (Bulk Buyer) as well as HB 791/SB 748 (the “Big Bill”), the main bill involving condominium, cooperatives, mobile home parks and homeowners associations

However, in addition to the Big Bill, SB 1308 was just filed by State Senator Alan Hayes (with a Companion House Bill soon to be filed by State Represenative Mike LaRosa). Included in SB 1308 are the following proposals:

(1) Requires that the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes (the “Division”) provide educational and training programs for HOA members, officers and directors.

(2) Requires an annual fee of $2.00 per lot to be paid to the Division each year by homeowner associations.

(3) Clarifies reporting requirements for homeowner associations.

(4) Clarifies the provisions regulating the transition of association control in a community from developer-control.

(5) Adds additional pre-suit mediation requirements.

(6) Gives the Division authority to enforce and ensure compliance with the provisions of Chapter 720, Florida Statutes, and rules relating to records access, financial management, and elections of homeowners’ associations and may investigate any complaints made against homeowner associations.

(7) Gives the Division arbitration jurisdiction for disputes issues involving covenants, restrictions and rule enforcement, assessment disputes and disputes involving official records.

SB 1307 also requires the seller of a property located within a HOA to provide a prospective buyer with copies of the Association governing documents (as amended) and a copy of the current annual budget at least seven days before closing, and gives the prospective buyer the power to cancel the contract for purchase within 3 days after receipt of the documents. This provision would override all provisions within a contract for sale of real property and put real estate transactions in jeopardy.

To view the bill submitted 2/25/15, click on the following link (or copy and paste into your browser):