As week 6 comes to an end, everyone is looking forward to a “mini-break” in the action next week. The House and Senate have decided not to meet next week because of the Passover and Easter holidays. However, we all know that it’s not really a break and there will be much strategizing and behind the scenes action going on as we gear up for the last two weeks of session.
The 2014 CALL Tracking List on the CALL website has been updated as 4/11/14: www.callbp.com. There you will find an updated summary of the bills of interest and also their status.
The following is an update on the bills that continued to make progress this week:
Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals: As mentioned in the CALL Alert of April 8, 2014, CALL reached an agreement with the House and Senate sponsors and the disability rights advocacy groups to remove all references to emotional support animals from the bill. Those amendments were approved in the House State Affairs committee meeting on April 11, 2014. The bill now heads to the House floor. Click here to see the most current version of the bill, which now is limited to “service animals” only. Nothwithstanding, there are federal laws that address other types of assistance animals (including emotional support animals). Therefore, if your association receives a request for a service animal, emotional support animal or other assistance animal, you should always involve your association attorney so that they can properly advise you on the law and the particular request.
The Senate companion bill, SB 1146 by Sen. Altman, was scheduled to be heard in its second committee of reference, Senate Community Affairs, on Tuesday, April 8, but it was not considered. As a result, the liklihood of the bill passing is diminishing, as it would still have to be approved in two committees before it can be heard by the full Senate.
HOA Meetings: SB 1450, by Sen. Simpson, requires that all HOA meetings be held at locations which are accessible to physically handicapped persons, but only if a request is made by a physically handicapped person who is entitled to attend the meeting. The bill was approved by the Senate by a vote of 40-0, but does not have a House companion. We will continue to monitor it.
Community Association Bill: As mentioned in the CALL Alert of April 8, 2014, the sponsors of SB 798 and HB 807, have agreed to conform their bills to amend Chapter 718 to state that the association is not considered a “previous owner” when it takes title to a delinquent parcel through foreclosure or by deed in lieu of foreclosure. The intent is to allow the association to demand past due assessments from the owner that takes title to the property after the association. This language was added last year in Chapter 720 (dealing with homeowners’ associations), but it is not currently in Chapter 718 (dealing with condominiums). The provision in SB 798 that would have allowed the association to recover interest, late charges, and reasonable costs and attorney fees incurred by the association incident to the collection process from purchasers (limited to 10% of the winning bid if at a foreclosure sale) will be removed from SB 798 as a compromise with the sponsors and stakeholders. We expect that SB 798 will be approved in its last committee of reference, Appropriations, when the Legislature returns from the Passover and Easter holidays (Week 8).
CAMs/UPL: SB 1466 by Sen. Lee and HB 7037 by Rep. Spano add a number of activities to the definition of “community association management,” including, but not limited to, collecting amounts due the association prior to the filing of a civil action, completing forms related to the management of a community association that have been created by statute or by a state agency, drafting letters of intended action, calculating and preparing certificates of assessments, responding to requests for an estoppel letter, negotiating monetary or performance terms of a contract subject to approval by an association, and drafting pre-arbitration demands.
As mentioned in the CALL Alert of April 5, 2014, HB 7037 has been approved in all committees of reference and now heads to the House floor. SB 1466 was approved in Senate Judiciary and now must only be approved by Appropriations before heading to the Senate floor. The Senate bill includes a liability provision that would make a CAM liable for monetary damages if the actions of the CAM constitutes a criminal violation; constitutes a transaction from which the CAM derived a personal benefit; or constitutes recklessness, or an act or omission that was in bad faith, with malicious purpose, or in a manner exhibiting wanton and willful disregard of human rights, safety, or property. This liability language will likely not be the final version, as the stakeholders are continuing to negotiate this issue.
Vacation Rentals: HB 307 by Rep. Hutson was approved in its last committee of reference, Regulatory Affairs. HB 307 prohibits a local government from prohibiting vacation rentals or regulating the duration of vacation rentals, but would presumably allow other types of regulation. There was an attempt to amend HB 307 to prohibit a local government from restricting a use on a vacation rental which is not restricted in non-vacation rental property. However, the amendment failed. The companion bill, SB 356, has already passed the Senate and is “in message” to the House. SB 356 is different and allows local governments to limit the duration of vacation rentals to a minimum of 7 days. The differences will have to be worked out on the floor of the House and Senate.
Non-Residential Condominiums: HB 425 by Rep. Rodriguez (J.) and SB 440 by Sen. Altman, Relating to Condominiums, exempt “non-residential” condominiums from certain provisions of Chapter 718. SB 440 was approved 40-0 by the Senate and will be sent to the House for approval.
Enjoy the holidays and feel free to email me (email@example.com) if you have any questions about the legislation.