So The Florida Legislature has ended their session and I’m sure everyone wants to know what association laws passed this year. So here we go…..
New law: If a condominium association’s insurance policy does not provide rights for subrogation against the unit owners in the association, an insurance policy issued to an individual unit owner in the association may not provide rights of subrogation against the condominium association. SO WHAT DOES THAT MEAN IN ENGLISH?
Let’s say you damage someone’s property and their insurance company pays them the damages you caused. The insurance company would now be able to sue you to get back the money they paid their insured. That’s called subrogation. But they can only do that if the insurance policy covering the unit owner says they can do it. So now, let’s say the condo’s insurance policy does not let them exercise subrogation against a unit owner who causes damages. The new law now says that the owners in that condominium will not be allowed to purchase a policy that allows their insurance policy to subrogate against the association should the association be negligent and cause damage to a unit owner’s property. It levels the playing field on subrogation.
Time On The Board
New Law: You know that law in a condo that says once you served eight years on a board it’s harder for you to get elected – because you need 2/3 of the votes or there are not enough candidates? Well……we don’t have to worry about that law any longer until 2026 because the legislature says we start counting the first year of service in 2018. Evn though the law was passed to immediately PREVENT THE SAME PEOPLE FROM BEING ON THE BOARD YEAR AFTER YEAR, suddenly we start counting the first year in 2018.
New Law: The transfer fee amount — meaning the amount an association can charge a new rental applicant or buyer went up from $100.00 to $150.00 and Such fees must be adjusted every 5 years according to the Consumer Price Index. No doubt this is a good change. SOME ASSOCIATIONS LOSE MONEY DOING THE BACKGROUND CHECK.
Natural Gas Vehicles
New Law: Here’s one that I don’t understand the need for — but — remember my office drafted a statute a few years ago that allows you to put in an electric vehicle charging station in your limited common element parking spot if you buy an electric car? Well — now you can put in a natural gas charging station too. And the Board can put a charging station on the common elements. I have no idea why this law was so important to pass right now as I don’t know of a single automobile in Florida that runs on natural gas.
Arbitration and Mediation
New Law: Here is a big change in the law. As you know most condo disputes have to start out in arbitration. unfortunately, while the intentions of the arbitration program were originally good, the process had flaws which actually made the program more costly than going to court. That is why I always thought the condo statute should be amended to mirror the HOA statute and require disputes to start off in mediation, rather than arbitration. Well, the next best thing happened. From now on, the Plaintiff in a condo case will have the option of filing the case in arbitration — or taking the case to pre-suit mediation. That is something I thought was long overdue and I am glad to see that pass.
These bills have been signed and are sitting on the Governor’s desk waiting for signature. It is always possible that a bill can be vetoed, but it appears very unlikely.
So……….what do you think about these new laws?