Community associations would be authorized to install hurricane-proof doors, delay elevator upgrades, deny to delinquent owners the use of certain amenities and services, and allow more lenient access to records; streamline foreclosure proceedings.
These were just a few of the hundreds of proposals included in more than a dozen bills affecting Florida community associations as the Florida Legislature convened for its 60-day regular session, which in 2013 ran from March 5 through May 3. The lawmakers pondered highly technical tweaks to clarify the intent of previous laws, and sweeping proposals with a major impact on the 8.7 million people who live in 3.5 million dwelling units in the state’s 46,900 community associations, with a total property value estimated by the Community Associations Institute at $508 billion.
This year brought a pent-up demand for legislation. No community association bills were passed in 2012, as the twin imperatives of redistricting and elections preoccupied the lawmakers. “Nobody is running for office in 2013, so the Legislature might actually accomplish something,” one pundit quipped.
A Clean-up Bill
As the session began, the community association bills capturing the most attention were HB 73, sponsored by Rep. George R. Moraitis, Jr. (D-Ft. Lauderdale), and its companion, SB 436, sponsored by Sen. Thad Altman (R-Melbourne).
“This was a cleanup bill,” explained Dawn Bauman, CAI’s vice president of government and public affairs. “We have one of these almost every year. Something in the previous year happens that will create a need to clarify, whether it’s a natural disaster, or a man-made one like the housing crash.” Major aspects of the bill include: