When the 2010 Legislative Session in Florida started back in March there were dozens of community association bills filed covering everything from lender reform to making it easier for buyers of bulk units to invest in failed or floundering condominium projects.
As typically happens, most of those bills were eventually folded into one fast-moving legislative “train” which would up being SB 1196 (sponsored by Sen. Mike Fasano and Sen. Jeremy Ring) and HB 561 (sponsored by Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff and Rep. Matt Hudson). This 102-page bill does the following:
• The amount of past due assessments that condominiums could collect from foreclosing lenders would be doubled from 6 months to 12 months!
• Condominium boards would be able to suspend the common area use rights and voting rights of delinquent owners subject to notice and hearing requirements.
• Troublesome provisions regarding H0-6 individual unit policies (including the requirement that the association be allowed to force place missing policies and that the association be named an additional insured/loss payee) would be removed.
• The condominium candidate certification requirements would be clarified to require such form be submitted after an election not before so any confusion as to whom should be included on the ballot would be removed.
• Expensive retrofits for sprinklers, elevators and smoke detectors would be delayed and, in certain instances, removed through exemptions or membership approvals.
• A time-limited bulk buyer provision would encourage investors to purchase abandoned units in failed and floundering communities.
• Condominium boards would be able to collect rent from tenants in delinquent units.
The bill is expected to make its way over to Governor Charlie Crist as early as today or tomorrow. The Governor then has 15 days to either sign the bill, veto the bill or allow it to pass into law without any action on his part. Given the fact that this bill contains language which would DOUBLE the amount of past due assessments that the banks must pay to condominium associations when they foreclose on a property in the community, it is imperative that Governor Crist sign this bill! How often do the bankers agree to pay more? How many owners are one special assessment away from being put on the path to foreclosure after paying for months for owners who preceded them on that path?
Notwithstanding the pressure being put on the Governor by the Fire Sprinkler Industry to veto this bill, this time the stakes are too high. Rather than just alienating the folks living in 6,000 sprinkler-impacted buildings, if he kills 1196, the Governor will, in fact, alienate every single person living in a condominium association by removing their ability to pursue double the amount of past due assessments owed by lenders. Governor Crist has several big decisions to make tomorrow and this is one of them.