This year's community association bill, HB 319 (Moraitis) passed the House with a vote of 114 to 1. Its Senate counterpart, SB 580 (Bogdanoff) died in Senate Messages on Sine Die, or the last day of Session, Friday of last week.
Did a pricey PR campaign bring down the bill? Oddly enough, no.
While the emails for and against the bill undoubtedly played a role, what ultimately killed the bill was Senate President Mike Haridopolos's refusal to allow it to be voted on by the full Senate. Apparently, Senator Haridopolos who is from Melbourne, was contacted by an umbrella group of associations on Florida's Space Coast opposing the bill. This group had issues with two provisions in the bill: the third party purchaser language which would have required purchasers at foreclosure auctions to pay more than just unpaid assessments for a delinquent property and the Safe Harbor clarification. Had Senator Haridopolos allowed SB 680 to be heard, chances are it would have passed.
The foreclosure bills HB 213/SB 1890 met a similar demise this Session. These bills also attracted their share of proponents and opponents. Some of the provisions in these bills would have provided community associations with more tools to force banks to speed up their foreclosures. However, there were constitutional and drafting concerns with these bills from the outset.
Lastly, the Florida Legislature did see fit to pass SB 1196 which is one of the most unfriendly pieces of legislation we've seen in years. This bill will remove an HOA owner's right to pursue a developer in Florida for defects in the sidewalks, driveways, drainage areas and other improvements not located directly on the owner's lot and/or not contributing to the habitability of the home. It is hard to truly understand the logic at play when deciding to pass a law that would have individual owners paying out of pocket for defective sidewalks, driveways, etc. The developers' argument was that the cities pass final inspection on these items so why should the people who built them be liable.
There is still the possibility that Governor Scott may view this new law in its true consumer unfriendly light. You can contact Governor Scott and urge him to veto this bill via email at email@example.com.