Florida Lawmakers Ponder Community Association Bills Technical Tweaks and Sweeping Changes

 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:  

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