01 Apr Legislative Update: Florida Considering Multiple Condominium-Related Bills in 2019
Florida’s condominium laws change pretty much every year. They’re likely to change again this year. Multiple condominium-related bills have already been filed since Florida’s 2019 Regular Legislative Session began March 5th. Below is a summary of various bills currently being considered by the Florida Legislature.
House Bill 721 (Emotional Support Animals)
- Amends Florida’s housing accommodation laws regarding Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) to match federal law.
- Defines ESAs as animals that provide support alleviating identified symptoms or effects of a disability, despite not being specifically trained.
- Allows housing providers to request additional information, including written documentation from specified licensed health care practitioners verifying the need for and benefits of an ESA.
- Prohibits the use of doctors hired exclusively to provide such documentation.
- Makes it a crime to falsify documentation or misrepresent information regarding ESAs.
Senate Bill 610 (Condominium Associations)
- Revises criminal penalties for accepting things or services of value or kickbacks.
- Allows associations to use their website to fulfill certain record inspection obligations.
- Requires certain associations to post specific documents on their websites by a specified date.
- Provides criminal penalties for fraudulent voting activities.
House Bill 1075 (Community Associations)
- Prohibits unit owners’ insurance policies from having subrogation rights against the association.
- Provides that fines may exceed $1,000 and fines over $1,000 may become liens.
- Allows associations to charge buyers or renters the costs associated with unit transfers.
- Provides that association liens do not automatically expire after a year.
- Requires association insurance policies to cover certain portions of an owner’s unit.
- Repeals law prohibiting association contracts with businesses in which a board member has a financial interest.
- Prohibits associations from limiting the time owners have to review official records or requiring owners to state a reason for wanting to inspect official records.
House Bill 647 (Community Association Fire and Life Safety Systems)
- Allows associations to waive life safety system retrofitting requirements.
- Delays start date for allowing local retrofit requirements until 2023.
- Requires associations that do not retrofit to post signs on buildings.
- Increases voting percentage needed to forego retrofitting and authorizes electronic voting.
- Modifies voting requirements for associations that previously voted to forego retrofitting.
The 60-day Regular Legislative Session ends May 3, 2019. Until then, existing bills may be rejected or amended and new bills may be filed. Whether any bills ultimately become law remains to be seen.
Setnor Byer Insurance & Risk offers condominium associations access to various risk management services, such as Setnor Byer’s Risk Management Group, Unit Owners’ Electronic Report Line and Florida Division-Approved New Board Member Education Certification online training.