Tension and excitement continue to build as we watch this year’s legislative session unfold. One of the pending bills that affects condominiums, cooperatives and homeowners associations HB 1075. The bill is over 100 pages so we cannot address all aspects of it in this article, but let’s look at some of the highlights. The bill clarifies that board member term limits for condominiums begins with board service occurring on or after July 1, 2018.

The bill also amends Fla. Stat. §627.714(4) to provide that any insurance policy issued to condominium unit owner may not provide for the right of subrogation against the condominium association (see below for explanation of subrogation). The last few years we have seen many of our clients sued by insurance companies seeking subrogation from water leaks. Although this language is good for condominium associations, it may make it harder for owners to obtain HO-6 policies.

The last highlight we are going to address is the new process the bill creates for condominium associations to undergo mandatory mediation versus the current arbitration process when a dispute arises with a homeowner. The arbitration process has become a long and tedious process for condominium associations and change may be a positive one. The bill also seeks to import part of the arbitration standards from Chapters 718 and 719 into the mediation process for homeowners associations.

Below is a brief summary of the remaining proposed legislation impacting community associations:

HB 565 – The proposed law removes housing discrimination as a cause of action for relief & damages stemming from violations of Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992. The bill’s language significantly restricts the type of security measures an association can use, and regulates how associations obtain and store biometric information about an individual. Biometric data includes finger printing, retina scans, hand scans, etc.

HB 1259 & SB 610– These bills provide more penalties for kickbacks, voting fraud and document inspection issues in community associations. The legislature continues to hammer these infractions annually with new laws to combat issues that have become flagrant in some communities.

SB 812 – This bill conflicts with SB 824 since it confirms local governments can regulate short-term rentals. The language creates civil penalties if rental listings or advertisements fail to display a valid registration number.

SB 1110 – This bill reinforces recent laws targeting conflicts of interest in community association. The proposed language would prohibit business entities that are owned by a board member, manager, or management company, or in which such board member, manager, or management company has an ownership interest, from purchasing units at an association foreclosure sale.

SB 1246 & HB 911 – Among other requirements, the bill would require parties in actions involving construction defects to take part in nonbinding arbitration before suit can be filed.

SB 1362 – This bill prohibits subrogation rights against a condominiums under certain circumstances; clarifies term limits for condominium board members shall be prospective; clarifies conflict of interest of board members; allows associations to recover actual costs for background checks; provides clear timeline for fines due in a community association; provides for guidance on electric vehicle charging stations and resident use of their limited common element or exclusive designated parking area; provides for pools in community associations with less than 32 homes to be exempt from Department of Health regulations; and provides the same mandatory pre-suit mediation process for condominium communities that exist in the HOA statute.

Stay tuned for our upcoming articles on the bills that become law. If you would like to review the status of any of the bills, you can go to the Florida House of Representatives or Florida Senate websites and type in the bill number or click on the links above.