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New Florida Real Estate Laws 2024 Shake Up HOAs, Condo-Hotels, and Insurance Starting July 1.


Florida HOa laws July 1, 2024

A series of new Florida real estate-related laws will go into effect on Monday, following the recent legislative session. Governor Ron DeSantis has signed bills addressing various controversial issues, including the governance of condo-hotels and oversight of residential communities governed by associations. Additionally, new legislation aims to help homebuilders obtain building permits more efficiently.

Late Thursday, DeSantis vetoed a bill tied to the issue of short-term rentals booked through websites such as Airbnb and VRBO. Senate Bill 280, which sought to restrict the number of occupants in short-term rentals and override local regulations, was intended to curb party houses by limiting occupancy to two people per bedroom and two additional people in common areas.

Bills Taking Effect July 1:

HB 1021 and HB 1203

This year, lawmakers increased repercussions for misconduct by condo and homeowners association (HOA) board members and managers, including criminal penalties. This legislation responds to numerous complaints from residents about mismanagement, election meddling, excessive assessment increases, lack of property maintenance, and fraud, particularly fund misappropriation.

The most significant alleged fraud case involves the Hammocks, a large HOA in West Kendall. In 2022, several ex-board members were arrested for allegedly running a scheme involving bogus contractors and misappropriated funds.

Both the HOA legislation (HB 1203) and condo association legislation (HB 1021) introduce the same criminal penalties, including those for accepting kickbacks and hiding records. The new laws mandate that HOAs provide subpoenaed records within five business days, a response to previous refusals by board members.

Lawmakers removed provisions that would have capped assessment increases. The new condo law extends anti-SLAPP protections to condo associations, bans retaliatory lawsuits, and imposes higher education requirements for board members.

Last-Minute Addition to HB 1021

An addition to the condo bill addresses the balance of power in condo-hotels. The new law codifies the authority of commercial lot owners under the condo act, clarifying their control over common areas and maintenance. This change benefits high-end condo-hotel brands, ensuring properties are maintained to luxury standards.

Overview: HB 1021, titled "Community Associations," was signed into law on June 14, 2024, and will take effect on July 1, 2024. The bill introduces several significant changes and new requirements aimed at improving transparency, accountability, and governance within community associations, including condominium and cooperative associations.


Key Provisions:


  • Conflicts of Interest: Imposes requirements and penalties for community association managers and management firms regarding conflicts of interest.

  • Reporting and Financial Requirements: Updates provisions related to financial reports, unit owner and board meetings, and director education.

  • Requires detailed financial reporting and transparency in the management of association funds.

  • Inspections and Maintenance: Mandates milestone inspections and specific maintenance requirements to ensure building safety and compliance.

  • Legal Actions and SLAPP Suits: Strengthens provisions against Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP), protecting unit owners from retaliatory legal actions for speaking out against association practices.

  • Criminal Penalties: Introduces criminal penalties for fraudulent activities and severe misconduct by board members and association managers.

  • Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes: Requires the Division to submit an annual report to the Governor and Legislature detailing compliance and enforcement actions.


Legislative Process:



House Bill 1203 (HB 1203)


Overview: HB 1203 addresses issues within homeowners associations (HOAs), focusing on enhancing oversight, transparency, and accountability of HOA board members and managers. This bill was signed into law and also takes effect on July 1, 2024.


Key Provisions:


  • Criminal Penalties: Similar to HB 1021, HB 1203 introduces criminal penalties for HOA board members found guilty of misconduct, including fraudulent activities and fund misappropriation.

  • Records and Transparency: Requires HOAs to provide subpoenaed records within a specified timeframe and mandates greater transparency in the management of association affairs.

  • Financial Oversight: Strengthens financial reporting and audit requirements to prevent misuse of association funds and ensure proper financial management.

  • Owner Protections: Enhances protections for homeowners against fraudulent or unfair practices by HOA boards, including measures to prevent election tampering and misuse of assessment funds.

  • Compliance and Enforcement: Tasks the relevant state divisions with enforcing these new requirements and holding board members accountable for violations​ (MyFloridaHouse)​​ (LobbyTools)​.

Both HB 1021 and HB 1203 aim to create a more transparent, accountable, and fair governance structure within community and homeowners associations in Florida, reflecting a comprehensive effort to address longstanding issues in these entities.

For the full texts and details of these bills, you can visit the official Florida Senate page for HB 1021 and the Florida House of Representatives page for HB 1203.

SB 812

Florida Senate Bill 812 (SB 812), passed in 2024, focuses on the expedited approval of residential building permits. Here are the key elements of the bill.

  • Expedited Building Permit Process: The bill mandates that certain governing bodies create a program to expedite the issuance of residential building permits before a final plat is recorded with the clerk of the circuit court.

  • For residential subdivisions or planned communities, the expedited process includes an application allowing applicants to identify the percentage of planned homes for which permits must be issued, not exceeding 50% initially and up to 75% by December 31, 2027.

  • Application and Approval Requirements: Governing bodies must establish a two-step application process involving the adoption of a preliminary plat and a final plat to speed up permit issuance.

  • A master building permit process is also included, valid for three years or until a new Florida Building Code is adopted.

  • Use of Private Providers: Applicants may use private providers to review preliminary plats and building permits to expedite the process.

  • Address and Parcel Identification: Local government agencies can issue temporary parcel identification numbers based on preliminary plats.

  • Conditions for Permit Issuance: Applicants must meet specific conditions, including having an approved preliminary plat and holding a valid performance bond for necessary utilities, roads, and stormwater improvements.

  • Program Updates: Governing bodies with pre-existing expedited programs must update them to comply with new requirements by specified dates.

This bill aims to streamline the construction process, reduce bottlenecks, and facilitate quicker development of residential areas in large counties and municipalities.

For more detailed information, you can view the full text of SB 812 here​ (Florida Senate)​​ (LegiScan)​​ (MyFloridaHouse)​.

HB 1503

Changes to the state-backed Citizens Insurance Corp. now allow surplus lines insurers to take over policies for non-primary residences. Policyholders required to have flood insurance can now purchase only dwelling coverage, potentially reducing costs. This bill was signed in May, following unanimous legislative support. Florida House Bill 1503 (HB 1503) was enacted to bring significant changes to the Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. Here are the key points of the bill:

  • Surplus Lines Insurers: The bill allows surplus lines insurers, which are lightly regulated, to take over policies from Citizens for non-primary residences or non-homesteaded properties. These insurers must be A-rated by the AM Best ratings agency.

  • Market Equalization Surcharges: It revises circumstances under which certain insurers' associations must levy market equalization surcharges on policyholders.

  • Accounts Management: The bill provides that certain accounts for Citizens’ revenues, assets, liabilities, losses, and expenses are now maintained as a Citizens account.

  • Quota Share Primary Insurance: It requires the inclusion of quota share primary insurance in certain policies and specifies that some provisions apply to personal lines residential risks, whether they are primary residences or not.

  • Coverage Comparisons: The bill specifies that comparisons of comparable coverages under certain personal and commercial lines residential risks do not apply to policies that do not cover primary residences.

  • Eligibility for Basic Policies: It allows certain risks that could not be insured under standard policies to be eligible for certain basic policies.

  • Operational Plan Revisions:

  • The bill includes revisions to Citizens' plan of operation to align with these new regulations.


The bill was signed by the Governor on May 10, 2024, and became Chapter 2024-179 of the Florida laws, effective July 1, 2024​ (FLSenate)​​ (LegiScan)​​ (MyFloridaHouse)​.

For the full text of the bill, you can refer to the official document.

HB 433


This law prohibits local governments from setting standards related to heat exposure, nullifying Miami-Dade County's efforts to establish heat protections for outdoor workers. The state lacks specific protections for such workers, despite record heat conditions.

You can find the full text of Florida House Bill 1021 (2024) at the following link: HB 1021 Full Text​ (LegiScan)​. This bill, known as the Community Associations bill, addresses various issues related to condominium and homeowners associations, including new criminal penalties for board members, requirements for providing subpoenaed records, and changes to governance structures in condo-hotels.

For detailed information about the legislative history and specifics of the bill, you can visit the Florida House of Representatives page here​ (FL House)​ and the Florida Senate page here​ (Florida Senate)​. These resources provide comprehensive details about the amendments, committee actions, and final passage of the bill.


Tags:

  • Airbnb

  • Condo Associations

  • Condo-Hotels

  • Condos

  • Florida Legislature

  • HOAs

  • Short-term Rentals


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