What's Up on the Docket The Florida 2012 Legislative Session

With millions of Floridians affected by laws pertaining to condominiums, co-ops and HOAs, the upcoming state legislative session will include discussion of bills that touch a large percentage of the state’s population and may well bring relief to that segment of the populace.

As a result of the recent economic crisis, many homeowners in the state have felt a financial pinch that their northern counterparts in markets like New York are largely past, but which condo owners in western markets like Nevada and Arizona are still wrestling to control. Due partly to past speculative buying of real estate, an inordinate number of foreclosures in the Sunshine State have kept Florida legislators thinking of ways to try to untangle financial webs brought on by waves of foreclosures. Florida is in the top five states in the country in foreclosure rates, according to RealtyTrac, a real estate information website that tracks foreclosure and market data.

The sheer numbers of foreclosures in Florida have hit many residents of multifamily communities extremely hard. Heavier assessments have been levied on many of these residents, to make up for unpaid assessments of deadbeat homeowners and to replace fees not received from foreclosed properties. And with foreclosures that can be strung out for years, residents of condo and co-op communities have sometimes seen that financial burden get heavier over time.

In many cases, they have been forced to pay fees for properties of which banks are in reluctant possession. These fees sometimes are never entirely recovered by the community, even after the foreclosure process is completed.

Fairness in Foreclosures

Roughly 368,000 foreclosure cases are choking up Florida’s court system, including nearly 16,000 in the judicial circuit covering Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties. Accelerating the process could boost the housing market.

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