HOAs, condos among new laws starting July 1

Florida has a spate of new laws that took effect on July 1, with several that could have big impacts for real estate professionals, developers, homebuyers and more. Here are some of the most significant real estate legislation from the most recent legislative term:

This general bill was crafted and introduced by the Commerce Committee, the State Administration & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee, the Regulatory Reform & Economic Development Subcommittee and Rep. Vicki Lopez, R-Miami, among others, so it covers a lot of ground.

The main thrust of the bill is condominiums and the associations that govern them. Following the passage of SB 4-D, the measure passed in the wake of the Surfside condominium collapse, this new set of regulations makes condo association officers legally liable for the documentation of inspections, budgets, and assessments, as well as outlining procedures for meetings and voting, and other governance details.

Relevant to anyone interested in buying or selling a condo, the new law requires associations for any building with 25 or more units must share all budget and maintenance records to owners and prospective buyers. (Previously, this was only mandated for buildings with 150 or more units.)

This is a game-changer for condo buyers being able to make informed decisions, according to Realtor Meshell Carbajal of EXP Realty in Altamonte Springs. “If you’re thinking of moving into a condo and you don’t see a lot of reserves for maintenance and upkeep, that’s a red flag,” she said. “You might be stuck with a $10,000 that’s due within the first 90 days of buying your condo.”

How big of a boat will your HOA allow on your property? What size dog are you allowed to have?

HB 59, by Rep. Kristen Arrington, D-Kissimmee, mandates HOAs provide copies of all rules and covenants to homeowners and potential buyers, so people don’t learn the answers to these questions by being fined for getting them wrong. Carbajal said she has had several buyers in the past who learned too late that some part of their life – whether it was signage on a company vehicle or just the breed of a pet – wasn’t allowed by their new HOA.

“Knowing the rules really matters,” Carbajal said. “With inventory being as low as it is, you might not be able to get that house you found.”

Developers who wish to demolish and replace aging buildings along the coast have found themselves in contention with neighbors and municipalities being fiercely protective of their coastal communities, according to attorney Keith Poliakoff of the Fort Lauderdale-based Government Law Group.

Poliakoff said some cities would set regulations that would make buildings incompatible with FEMA standards, or even declare their beach zones historic districts, making it harder to get permits for any kind of development.

“Many developers were stuck in a Catch-22 of not being able to redevelop old buildings on the beach,” Poliakoff said.

SB 1526, submitted by Sen. Bryan Avila, R-Hialeah Gardens, takes away the right of local governments to restrict the demolishing of buildings deemed unsafe or nonconforming, a status Poliakoff, who worked on the bill, said applies to almost all coastal buildings built before modern FEMA standards.

Poliakoff said developers and owners of some of these buildings are excited by the new prospects this law opens up. “Many of them are now looking at their old oceanfront properties to figure out how to start the redevelopment process.”

Senate Bill 280 – Vacation Rentals (vetoed)

This bill, by Sen. Nick DiCeglie, R-St. Petersburg, was vetoed at the last minute by Gov. Ron DeSantis, but it’s worth knowing as it is likely to make a return in another form.

SB 280 would have required owners of properties being listed for short-term rental on sites such as Airbnb and VRBO to register their rentals with the local municipality. How the registration databases would be managed and paid for was left to the governing bodies, as was enforcement against properties that rented without registering. It also allowed municipalities to revoke or suspend the license for properties for reasons that weren’t necessarily related to rental activity.

When vetoing the bill, the governor said it would have created “bureaucratic red tape” for local officials. But the issue is a priority for legislators including Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, so expect the idea to be reconfigured in coming sessions.


In addition to passing the new laws, Florida also bought nearly 28,000 acres around the state to be preserved.

In Central Florida, the state purchased 1,361 acres in Seminole County known as the Yarborough Ranch near the Big Econlockhatchee Drainage Basin for $34.5 million. The state also spent $36.1 million on 1,342 acres known as Creek Ranch in eastern Polk County.

Each of these properties were identified as linkage sites that allow wildlife to travel between habitats. “Just about any linkage in the wildlife corridor is crucial,” said Dean Saunders of Lakeland-based commercial real estate broker SVN/Saunders Ralston Dantzler.

Saunders said that both properties were at risk of being turned into developments. “In both of those situations, the state came to the rescue.

Article Link: HOAs, condos among new laws starting July 1
Author: Trevor Fraser