What Did The Legislature Do To Us This Year? The 2016 Legal Update – Part I

By Atty. Brian S. Hess

This year, the Florida legislative session extended from January 12, 2016, through March 11, 2016.  Our Florida legislators had filed no fewer than 24 bills in the House of Representatives and the Senate proposing various changes to the laws affecting community associations.  Changes were proposed to the laws regulating all types of associations.  For example, some of these bills proposed:

  • Requiring associations of a certain size to use websites for distribution of association records;
  • Regulating preparation of estoppels by associations and limiting amounts charged;
  • Changing requirements for financial reporting;
  • Prohibiting associations from enforcement of traffic laws;
  • Significantly changing election procedures in homeowners associations, and
  • Broadening regulatory authority of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation over associations, especially homeowners associations.    

However, by the end of the session, virtually no bills directly affecting community associations were approved.  In fact, no legislation directly affecting homeowners associations or condominium associations survived.    

But, Senate Bill 826, which affects Mobile Home communities regulated under Florida Statute 723, was approved, and was signed by the Governor on April 1, 2016.  It has been codified as Law of Florida 2016-169.  While no significant changes were made to F.S. 723, this bill did “clean up” a number of provisions, many of which were affected by significant changes implemented in 2015.  The bill: (1) revised certain notice requirements for written complaints, (2) authorized a mobile home park owner to pass on non-ad valorem assessments to a tenant under certain circumstances, (3) authorized a mobile home purchaser to cancel or rescind the contract to purchase under certain circumstances, (4) revised the rights that mobile home owners exercise if they form an association, and (5) specified voting requirements for homeowners’ associations, among other actions. 

Clayton & McCulloh will provide additional information on bills that affect Associations in a less direct manner in an upcoming blog post.  Stay tuned!