House Bill 1263 [3-3-2015]

House Bill 1263 (HB1263)
By Ronald Kaniuk, Esq.
Bakalar & Associates, PA

With the opening of the Florida Legislature’s 60-day lawmaking session, State Represenative Mike LaRosa has introduced HB 1263, which is a companion bill to SB 1308 introduced by State Senator Alan Hays. Like SB 1308, HS 1263 introduces a number of proposals that would complicate the already existing rules governing condominium and homeowner associations. Included in HB 1263 are the following proposals:

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

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

(3) It would increase the reporting requirements for homeowner associations.

(4) It would revise the provisions regulating the transition of association control in a community from developer-control

(5) It would give 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.

(6) It would give the Division arbitration jurisdiction for disputes issues involving covenants, restrictions and rule enforcement, assessment disputes and disputes involving official records.

(7) It would require the seller 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.

In addition, as proposed, the last section of HB 1263 would impose restrictions on the transfer of title fees that associations could assess to buyers. While this legislative involvement is unwelcome and unnecessary, it is made worse by the fact that the legislation is unintelligible, requiring that such fee “may not exceed 35 percent of the association’s fee for a transfer of title for that fiscal year” which leaves me asking 35% of what?