2016 Legislative Update On Community Association Issues

By February 2, 2017Memos, News

Numerical Index Summary Of Laws Amended In The 2016 Legislative Session

The following is our post-Session report on residential housing law changes from the 2016 Legislative Session.  The Governor has taken final action on the measures. The full text of each bill, as well as applicable legislative staff reports, are available on the legislative web sites (www.flsenate.gov; www.myfloridahouse.com; and www.leg.state.fl.us.).  All changes are effective as of July 1, 2016.

NOT FOR PROFIT CORPORATIONS (Chapter 617) (Applicable to condominium, homeowner and cooperative associations)

  • No changes.

CONDOMINIUMS – RESIDENTIAL (Chapter 718)

  • No changes but see Landlord Tenant Law change below affecting Condominiums Associations.

COOPERATIVES (Chapter 719).

  • No changes but see Landlord Tenant Law change below affecting Cooperatives Associations.

HOMEOWNER ASSOCIATIONS (Chapter 720).

  • No changes but see Landlord Tenant Law change below affecting Homeowner Associations.

MOBILE HOMES (Chapter 723)

  • Notice – 723.006(6).  Requires the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares and Mobile Homes to notify homeowner who has filed a complaint of the status of the complaint within 30 days.  Thereafter the Division must provide another status update within 90 days.
  • Lot Rental Agreements – 723.031(5)(c).  Allows a mobile home park owner to pass along increase in non-advalorem taxes to owner at anytime.
  • Notice of Increase in Rent – 723.031(5)(d).  If a notice of increase in lot rental amounts is not given 90 days before the renewal date of the rental agreement, the rental amount must remain the same until at least a 90 day notice is given.
  • Right to Cancel Purchase Contract – 723.059(1).  The purchaser of a mobile home may cancel the contract for purchase if the purchaser tenancy has not been approved by the park owner 5 days before the closing.
  • Mobile Home Park Homeowner Association Bylaws – 723.078(2)(b)(2).  If a mobile home or lot is owned jointly, the owners must be counted as one for the purpose of determining the number of votes for a majority.  Only one vote per home or lot shall be counted.  A majority is deemed to be any number greater than 50% of the total number of votes.  Members may vote by secret ballots and absentee ballots.
  • Lot Rental Agreements – 723.078(2)(c)4.  The right to tape record or video tape meetings does not apply to meetings of the Board of Directors or its appointed committee and the park owner.

LANDLORD TENANT LAW (Chapter 83).

  • Service Member Lease Applications – 83.683(2).  Requires Condominium, Cooperative and Homeowners Association to approve or deny a lease application submitted by a “service member” within seven (7) days after a complete application is submitted.  Failure to do so makes the application automatically approved.  A Service Member is defined in Section 250.01, FS, and means “any person serving as a member of the United States Armed Forces on active duty or state active duty and all members of the Florida National Guard and United States Reserve Forces.”

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DISTRICTS (Chapter 190).

  • Increase in Minimum Size – 190.005(2)  Minimum size of a community development district is increased from 1,000 acres to 2,500
  • Towing – 190.012(2)  Authorizes CDD’s to tow vehicles and or vessels from district owned facilities in compliance with Section 715.07, FS.
  • Mergers – 190.012(4)(a)  Allows up to 5 CDD’s within the same geographic area to merge into a single CDD.  Requires at least one board member each to be from the formerly merged district.

PROPERTY MANAGEMENT 

  • Definition of Community Association Management – 468.431 – Revises the term “community association management” to include the following activities: determining the number of days required for notices, determining amounts due to the association, collecting amounts due to the association before filing of a lawsuit, calculating votes required for a quorum or to approve an amendment, completing forms related to the management of the community association that have been created by statute, drafting meeting notices and agendas, calculating and preparing certificates of assessments and estoppel certificates, responding to requests for certificates of assessments and estoppel certificates, negotiating monetary or performance terms of a contract subject to approval by the association, drafting pre-arbitration demands, coordinating or performing maintenance for real or personal property and other related routine services involved in the operation of the community association, and complying with the association’s governing documents and requirements of law as necessary to perform such practices.
  • Management / Agent Duty – 468.4334 – This is a new section which clarifies that a community association manager is an agent of the community association.  Requires the manager to discharge his or her duties loyally, skillfully and diligently and deal honestly and fairly and in good faith with the community.
  • Management Agreements – 468.4334 – Provides that the manager cannot charge “unreasonable or excessive fees.”  Provides that a management contract may provide that the association indemnifies the manager and management firm for ordinary negligence resulting from the manager’s or management firm’s act or omission that is the result of instruction or direction of the community association.  The indemnification, however may not cover any act or omission that violates a criminal law, derives an improper personal benefit, either directly or indirectly is grossly negligent or reckless or in bad faith with a malicious purpose or in a manner exhibiting wanton and willful disregard of human rights, safety and property.

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Residential Facilities – 419.001(2)  Specifying applicability of siting requirements for community residential homes of six or fewer residents in single family and multi-family zoned areas; providing applicability with respect to local land use and zoning, etc.
  • Assisted Living Facilities – 429.41 Requires the State Fire Marshal to establish uniform firesafety standards for assisted living facilities.
  • Building Codes – 468.609  Revises certification requirements for building code inspectors.  Provides exemptions for certain employees who make minor repairs to existing electric water heaters, and electric hvac systems under certain circumstances.  Revises definition of plumbing contractor.  Makes changes to the Florida Homeowners Construction Recovery Fund.  Exempts certain low voltage landscape lighting from licensed electrical contractor installation requirements.  Limits a portable pool from being regulated like a public pool under certain circumstances.  Revises minimum requirement for residential pool to pass final inspection.  Revises provisions regarding authority of building officials to issue building permits; revises provisions regarding appeal boards; revising provisions addressing certain fire service access elevators; creates task force to study electrical safety in swimming pools; creates construction industry workforce task force to study issues associated with training of construction workforce.
  • Citizens Property Insurance Corporation – 627.351  Provides that a consumer representative appointed by the Governor to the Citizens Property Insurance Corporation Board of Governors is not prohibited  from practicing in a certain profession if required or permitted by law or ordinance.   Allows the use of public and private hurricane loss projection models when calculating rates for windstorm insurance.
  • Fire Safety – 633.202.  Revises provisions relating to certain structures located on agricultural property which are exempt from Florida Fire Prevention Code; requires that certain structures used for agritourism activity be classified; provides criteria for such classifications; provides that certain structures are subject to annual inspection; specifies applicable fire prevention standards; requires that State Fire Marshal adopt rules; revises certain dimensions of tent that is exempt from code; requires that State Fire Marshal adopt rules; authorizes local fire official to consider specified publication when identifying an alternative to fire safety code.

DISCLAIMER:  The foregoing is a summary of the statutory changes and should not be relied on as legal advice or a complete explanation of the changes.  Every situation is different and you should seek qualified legal advice before relying on the foregoing.