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Legislator Report

Management & Associates News

Water Restrictions Notice!

District Tightens Water Restrictions throughout 16-County Region
05/23/2017 3:00 PM EDT

The Southwest Florida Water Management District’s (District) Governing Board voted today to increase water restrictions throughout the region. The modified Phase III water shortage order affects counties throughout the District’s boundaries including Charlotte, Citrus, DeSoto, Hardee, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lake, Levy, Manatee, Marion, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota and Sumter.

District hydrologists report a rainfall deficit of 11-inches since the start of the dry season last October. In fact, this is the driest dry season in the past 103 years.

Under the new water shortage order, lawn watering is reduced to once-per- week and allowable watering hours also are reduced. Micro-irrigation and hand watering of non-lawn areas are still allowed any day, if needed. Additionally, there are now limits on car washing and homeowners’ associations may not enforce any deed restrictions which could cause an increase in water use. The restrictions will remain in effect through August 1, 2017. Additional details regarding the watering of new lawns and plants, reclaimed water and other water uses can be found at “WaterMatters.org/restrictions”.

The District considers both natural water resource conditions and the viability of public supply when deciding to declare a water shortage order. For the past 20 years, the District has worked diligently with its partners to develop alternative water supplies. Even though the region is experiencing drought conditions, there is adequate public water supply available. Florida’s dry season runs October through May. The District encourages water conservation year-round, and offers many tips to reduce water use and additional information at “WaterMatters.org/conservation”.

Please click the link below for more details on the Modified Phase III Water Shortage Restrictions.
Water Restrictions

 

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ELSS Bill and Condo Bill Pass and are Headed to Governor and CALL Alert for May


ELSS Bill and Condo Bill Pass and are Headed to Governor—CALL Alert for May 2017

Fire Sprinkler/ELSS/Bulk Buyer Bill, by Rep. Moraitis and Sen. Passidomo (HB 653 and HB 744)—HB 653 was approved by both the House and Senate and will be sent to the Governor for consideration. The ELSS opt-out provision was a heavy lift, as it was opposed throughout the process by the fire sprinkler association. Special thanks and kudos to former Senator Ellyn Bogdanoff, a Becker & Poliakoff attorney and lobbyist, who lobbied on behalf of numerous high rise condominium associations for the passage of this important opt out provision. Ellyn will be sending more information about the passage of the ELSS language in a future CALL Alert. HB 653 includes other changes to the condominium, cooperative and HOA statutes, and we will send out a more comprehensive summary next week. Some of the significant changes include:

  • Allows high rise buildings to opt out of an engineered life safety system (ELSS). The required vote is two-thirds of all voting interests;
  • Clarifies that non-high rise buildings (under 75 feet) are not required to retrofit with sprinklers or an ELSS;
  • Requires condominium and cooperative associations that operate a building of three stories or more that have not installed a sprinkler system in the common areas of the building to mark the building with a sign or symbol approved by the State Fire Marshal in a manner sufficient to warn persons conducting fire control and other emergency operations of the lack of a sprinkler system in the common areas.
  • Makes permanent the “Distressed Condominium Relief Act” (i.e., the “bulk buyer” law) that is supposed sunset on July 1, 2018;
  • Revises the provisions regarding termination of condominiums.

The bill also includes some of the provisions in HB 1237 (described further below) for consistency purposes

Condominium Bill, by Rep. Diaz, Sen. Garcia and Sen. Rodriguez (HB 1237 and SB 1682)—The bills changed significantly (for the better) since they were filed.  HB 1237 passed both the House and Senate unanimously this week and will be sent to the Governor for consideration.  For a complete summary of the bill, please see my new Blog Post.  Here are the more significant provisions: 

  • There will be criminal penalties for forging election ballots and voting certificates, theft and embezzlement of association funds, and destroying official records in furtherance of a crime;
  • Effective July 1, 2018, mandatory websites will be required for posting certain official records for associations that operate more than 150 units;
  • Mandatory term limits for board members, regardless of the size of the association, except if there are no eligible candidates or unless approved by 2/3rds of the total voting interests.

Estoppel Bills, by Sen. Passidomo and Rep. Donalds (SB 398 and HB 483)—SB 398 passed the House and Senate and will be sent to the Governor for consideration. The bill:

  • Caps the amount that can be charged for estoppel certificates ($250), with additional amounts due if the unit is delinquent and/or if the estoppel certificate is requested on an expedite basis.
  • Allows associations to require that the estoppel certificate fee be paid when the certificate is prepared (i.e., the “pay at close” provision that was in earlier versions of the bill has been removed).
  • Requires that the estoppel certificate include some additional information about the unit including “open violations of the rules and regulations”.

Marketable Record Title Act (MRTA) Bills by Sen. Passidomo and Rep. Edwards (SB 1046 and HB 735)—These bills are still pending and we do not yet know whether they will pass. The bills:

  • Do not completely exempt HOAs from MRTA, but revise the procedures for preserving covenants and restrictions under MRTA;
  • Allow non-residential covenants and restrictions to be preserved under MRTA; and
  • Include a procedure for non-mandatory HOA communities to revitalize expired covenants and restrictions.

Very truly yours,

Yeline Goin

Yeline Goin, Executive Director
Community Association Leadership Lobby (CALL)

 

 

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CAN News: It’s The Final Countdown!

We’re in the final countdown – less than one week left until your lawmakers hit the sixty-day sprint in Tallahassee.


Florida’s annual legislative session begins this Tuesday, March 7 and runs through Friday, May 5. But much of the Legislature’s work began months ago – shortly after the November election, in fact – with lawmaker bills filed, referred, and already heard in committee meetings.

In recent weeks, we’ve shared with you a lot about one legislative issue in particular – SB 398 and HB 483, the Home Tax. While we won’t stop talking about estoppels, this week we’ll focus on a several other bills that your Community Association Network is keeping a close eye on for you that may significantly impact your community…Click the following link to read more: CAN News: It’s the Final Countdown

 

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CAN News: We Didn’t Start the Estoppel Fire, But We Sure Can Smother It!

CAN News February 2017
Billy Joel sang those iconic words in 1989 about our many battles.

CAN News Feb 2017
While it doesn’t rise to quite the same level, our community association partners have done battle on your behalf over the seemingly perennial issue of estoppel fees ­ the Home Tax ­ for the past 3 consecutive Legislative Sessions.

Last week, my blog told of our fights against the deep­-pocketed special interests seeking an even greater share of real estate closing profits while trying to shift all the costs on us, the nearly 8 million home, condo and town home owners living in community associations. The title companies and realtors are again pouring millions of dollars into politicians’ campaign contributions. Here’s money ­ pass this Estoppel Bill. Thanks to your speaking out and contacting lawmakers, we’ve beat them every year. But now the Estoppel Bill is back and the special interests are more determined and even more well­-funded than years before…Click the following link to read more: CAN News Legislator Report 2_24

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Candidates Meet And Greet | August 18, 2016

CANDIDATES MEET AND GREET

 August 18 at 9:30 am, with all of the Pasco County candidates that are running for the upcoming election. The Primary Election is August 30, 2016. This will be your chance to help make your decisions. A list of Candi­dates attending August 18 will be posted to our website conapasco.org once compiled.

Please sign up for e-mail notifications online so that you are up to date with all CONA events,
notices and important updates and information that is sent out.

The “Candidates Meet And Greet” event is located at:

Gulf Harbor Civic Association Center at

4610 Floramar Terrace,

New Port Richey, FL 34652

Contact Jessie for assistance: 813-433-2016.

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CAN ALERT: Hurricane Season Starts NOW!

Hurricane Season Is Here

Dear Dominick,

Ready, Set, Go! Today, Wednesday, June 1st, marks the 1st day of the Atlantic hurricane season. The NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ­ a federal agency responsible for monitoring climate and the environment) believes this Atlantic hurricane season will have more activity than the past few years and may bring 1 to 4 major hurricanes. The hurricane season, starts today and ends November 30th 2016. This year we’re projected to have a “near normal” year, which may not sound like a big deal, but we’ve had unusually low activity the past few seasons. Our recent perception of a “normal” hurricane season is skewed.

So what does a “near normal” Atlantic hurricane season look like? The NOAA, this year predicts a whopping 70% likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms, with many becoming major hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or higher.Hurricane Season Starts June 1
Now mentally you may be brushing this information off, saying to yourself “eh, I’ll believe it when I see it,” and that’s understandable, given the fact that the last hurricane to make landfall in Florida was Hurricane Wilma on October 24, 2005, 11 years ago. But it’s always important to be prepared from both a safety, economical, and fiduciary duty standpoint. Here are four things you can do now to get your community association prepared:

(1) Review Your Documents and Take Lots and Lots of Pre­storm Pictures: Make sure all of your insurance policies are up to date and reflect the proper amount of coverage. For example, if you have repaired or made improvements, you may want to increase your policy limits. You also want to make sure you have the right type of coverage so that you will be compensated for the full cost of replacing your association’s property and not the depreciated value. Make sure each member of the board and manager has copies of all of the insurance polices. You may also want to take date­ stamped photos of everything in the lobbies and common areas and store on a memory device in a safe place. Contact your manager or attorney for guidance.

(2) Make Your Grounds Safe: Look around your community property and see what could be a potential hazardin the event of a storm. Schedule a tree trimmer (licensed and bonded!) to discard any dead branches. Set up a roof inspection to ensure tiles are secure, caulking is updated, and other roof elements are maintained.

(3) Make a Plan: Have a plan for your community in the event of a storm which may include moving elevators to a higher floor so they don’t flood, informing residents that the building will close several days before the storm via email or social media, and distributing an evacuation plan.

(4) Get Supplies: Provide residents with a list of things they should have in their possession should a storm make landfall. We all know the essentials such as flashlights, batteries, food, and water ­ but what many residents may not be thinking about is securing their Social Security Card, passport, credit cards, proof of residency, insurance policies, prescriptions, and photos of their unit.

Please do not underestimate the seriousness of Florida hurricane season. It’s important to be prepared, have a plan, and try and ensure each resident is doing the same. For more information on how you can be prepared, visit https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes

As always, wishing you and your loved ones a safe and happy week.

Yours in Community,
Alan Garfinkel, Esq.
Katzman Garfinkel, Founding Partner Community Advocacy Network (CAN), Chairman

 

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