Governor Rick Scott (R) of the great state of Florida recently announced that Floridians “will have to do more with less.” With that in mind, he has suggested deregulating most of the professions currently regulated by the state government, including the HOA industry.
The Community Advocacy Network (CAN, http://www.canfl.com), Florida’s leading advocate for the interests of millions of community association residents statewide, has called on Florida’s State Legislature to strike anti-consumer provisions in the HB 5005 “Deregulation Bill” currently under consideration in Tallahassee.
“A number of anti-community association provisions of HB 5005 threaten to plunge Florida condominiums, cooperatives, HOAs and other community associations into a downward spiral of deregulated chaos, abuse and mismanagement that would seriously undermine residential property values in our State,” said Donna DiMaggio Berger, Executive Director, Community Advocacy Network.
HB 5005, currently on a “fast track” for approval as a budgetary implementing bill that will bypass committee consideration in the State Senate, the legislation would eliminate condominium oversight, alternative dispute resolution and community association manager licensing. It would also completely eliminate the Condominium Ombudsman’s office, which plays a critical role in mediating and resolving condominium disputes statewide, as well as the State’s only community association regulatory agency, the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares and Mobile Homes.
CAN encourages Floridians to contact their State legislators by phone or e-mail today to urge them to remove these anti-community association provisions from HB 5005. State Senator and local Representative contact details can be easily found online by using the Zip Code search tool at http://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/Find.
The Community Advocacy Network, typically an advocate for less regulation of community associations, strongly opposes the anti-community association provisions of HB 5005 on the following grounds:
- The regulations in the community association industry differ significantly from regulations in for-profit industries. Not-for-profit regulations are not barriers to competition. The sole purpose of these regulations is to protect Floridians living in these communities, most of whom are seniors.
- Community Association regulations ensure transparency, accountability and fairness when dealing with people’s homes and money.
- Removing critical consumer protections will simply leave homeowners more vulnerable to fraud and on the hook for expensive legal costs.
- These provisions WILL have a fiscal impact on the state. Florida’s arbitration program for condominiums reduces costs to the courts. Judges pushed to have the Division handle arbitrations because their dockets were filled with “condo commando” disputes, which were more effectively and less expensively handled in arbitration.
- In addition to eliminating 118 jobs, this legislation would loot $6.1 million in trust fund fees paid by associations.
“Another reason for doing everything in your collective powers to stop this bill (unfortunately, it is too late to get a bus load to Tall.): When you purchase a single family home, and assuming you get a mortgage you are required to obtain a survey for which you pay between $295 and $400 depending on the size of the property. How would you like to go to closing believing you purchased a house on a lot that is 50 x 100 only to find out months later when you go for a fence permit that the net lot is only 30 x 75 due to a road right of way and easement that you knew nothing about. Can you do anything about this? Sure. You can try to sue the surveyor. Good Luck. Because he will not be licensed you really have no recourse against his license and his pockets are shallow because he put everything in his wife’s name. Can you sue anyone else? No. Because the listing properly showed the lot at 50 x 100 as seen on the Plat.” stated Sally Rockrise, a retired CAM and webmaster of www.therealty-experts.com.
“Now we go to CAMs” Ms. Rockrise continued. “How about the CAM, not licensed, that prepares Proxies for unit owners to execute to amend the Declaration. This is a legal document and can only be prepared (legally) by an attorney. Can you do anything about it? No. Oh wait….you can send a complaint to the bar. Will they jump right on it? I think not.”
Floridians opposed to the anti-community association provisions of HB 5005 should contact their State legislators by phone or e-mail today to urge them to remove these anti-community association provisions from HB 5005. State Senator and local Representative contact details can be easily found online by using the Zip Code search tool at http://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/Find.
Be sure to subscribe to this column, and stay abreast of issues involving you, the homeowners of Palm Beach County! If you’ve had any issues with your HOA that you’d like me to try and delve into, and possibly write about later, please let me know.
This article was written with information from PRweb.com, online visibility from Vocus.