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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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Legislative Update February 2016!

Week 1 Legislative Highlights and More Association Bills Filed – CALL Alert for January 19, 2016

The 2016 Florida legislative session kicked off last week and we are now onto Week 2. Governor Scott appeared before a Joint Session of the House and Senate to deliver his “State of the State” address, which focused on tax cuts and job creation.

I personally had a busy week, which included work opposing the “estoppel certificate bill”. The Senate version, SB 722, was heard last week in the Senate Regulated Industries Committee. As you may recall, the bill would prohibit an association from collecting the estoppel certificate fee at the time the certificate is prepared. Rather, the association would have to wait until closing to collect the fee. If the sale does not go through and there is no closing, the Association must collect the fee from the seller/owner. I personally met with a number of Senators on the Committee and opposed the bill at the Committee meeting on behalf of CALL. The bill narrowly passed the Regulated Industries Committee. The vote was 6 to 4, with Senators Abruzzo, Diaz de la Portilla, Margolis, and Sachs voting “no.” Unlike the House version (HB 203), SB 722 does not have a “cap” on the amount that can be charged for the estoppel certificate fee. The sponsor, Senator Stargel, stated at the Committee meeting that she would have liked to include a cap, but there was no agreement among the stakeholders as to how much the cap should be, so she left it out of her bill. It remains to be seen whether the House will keep the cap provision in the House version of the bill.

At the time of this writing, there are no community association bills that will be heard during Week 2. However, there are a number of bills that have been filed that you should be aware of and that we are keeping on eye on:

(1) SB 792, by Senator Richter, Relating to Homeowners’ Associations (Rental Restrictions): This bill will limit the ability of a homeowners’ association (HOA) to restrict rentals. It provides that any amendment prohibiting parcel owners from renting their homes, altering the duration of the rental term, or specifying or limiting the number of times parcel owners are entitled to rent their homes during a specified period applies only to parcel owners who consent to the amendment and parcel owners who acquire title to their homes after the effective date of the amendment. This may sound familiar to condominium associations, as a similar provision is currently in the Condominium Act. CALL is opposed to this bill. We believe that the owners in a community should have the ability to amend their rental provisions such that they apply to everyone in the community. Otherwise, the amendment will create two classes of owners, those who can rent under the “old rules” and those who must comply with the “new rules.” In addition, an owner who buys into a homeowners’ association knows, or should know, that the governing documents can be amended by a vote of the owners.

(2) SB 1292, by Senator Ring, Relating to Community Associations (Financial Reports): This bill would require all associations to provide the financial report based on the amount of revenues collected by the association, regardless of the number of units in the association. The bill also provides that if an association fails to provide the financial report to the owners pursuant to law, the association may not waive the required financial report for 3 years and must provide a copy of the financial report to the Division of Condominiums, Timeshares and Mobile Homes for 3 years. This bill is supported by the accounting industry. Donna Berger and I recently met with the stakeholders regarding the bill and expressed our concerns and how we think it should be amended and we look forward to working with them on compromise language.

(3) HB 1357, by Representative La Rosa, Relating to Community Associations: This bill was recently filed. It is a 44 page bill that significantly impacts condominium and homeowners’ associations. For a more complete summary of the impacts of the bill, click here. The bill deals with the following subjects: (a) requiring a digital copy of some official records to be placed on a website (applies to associations of 7,500 units/parcels or more); (b) requiring competitive bidding for professional services; (c) requiring additional disclosures for any activity that may reasonably be construed as a conflict of interest; (d) requiring an HOA to appoint additional board members (applies to HOAs of 7,500 parcels or more); (e) prohibiting HOAs from enforcing traffic laws or criminal laws; (f) requiring HOA amendments to contain the full text of the provision to be amended, with underlines and strike-throughs or in a “substantial rewording” format; (g) limiting the ability of an HOA to enforce amendments prohibiting rentals, changing the duration of a rental term, limiting the number of times a home may be rented, or limiting the number of occupants in a home; (h) requiring HOAs consisting of 7,500 or more to place a copy of all notices of fining and suspension hearings on the association’s website at least 14 days before a hearing; (i) limiting the ability of an HOA to collect past due assessments that are outstanding for 24 months or more; (j) requiring an HOA to offer a payment plan to a delinquent owner before it can transfer the right to collect past due assessments to a third party, transfer a lien to a third party, or file a complaint to obtain a judgment in foreclosure; (k) requiring certain notices to the delinquent owner before an HOA may transfer the right to collect past due assessments to a third party.

Yeline Goin
Executive Director
Community Association Leadership Lobby (CALL)

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