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2015 Legislative Wrap-up

Wednesday, July 01, 2015  
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Orlando REALTOR® | July/August 2015

REALTOR® lobbying efforts result in serious real estate legislation

The 2015 Florida Legislative session is over, bills have been already been signed by Gov. Rick Scott, and some have even taken effect. Here’s a list of those that impact real estate.

-Flood Insurance SB 1094 expands an effort that began last year to establish a private, primary flood insurance market so property owners have an alternative to the National Flood Insurance Program. It allows insurers to offer “flexible” flood insurance coverage that, among other things, may be for an agreed upon amount or cover only the building, and not personal property or additional living expenses. Effective: 7/1/2015

-Condominium Terminations HB 643 ensures that bulk buyers cannot force condo owners out of their homes without providing adequate compensation. Effective: 7/1/2015

-Foreclosures & Tenant Protection HB 779 allows buyers of foreclosed properties to provide a notice to the tenant that has the effect of a lease termination. The bill allows the tenant to remain in possession of the property for 30 days following receipt of the notice. Effective upon becoming law.

-Drones The commercial operation of a drone is still prohibited, but SB 766 exempts a “person or entity engaged in a business or profession licensed by the state.”  This exemption will prove valuable to Realtors® when such activities are permitted. Effective: 7/1/2015

-Citizens Property Insurance Corporation HB 715 allows some coastal properties that would have lost Citizens coverage due to reconstruction or renovation to maintain their coverage as long as the building does not exceed 125 percent of its original size. Effective: 7/1/2015

-Florida Insurance Guarantee Fund (FIGA) SB 836 lengthens the amount of time insurance companies have to pay assessments to FIGA, the fund that pays the claims of insurers who go bust. This change is designed to attract private market capital to the state. Effective: 7/1/2015

-Real Estate Brokers & Appraisers SB 608 provides the Florida Real Estate Commission the ability to reinstate null & void licenses when a hardship occurs; allows a brokerage to temporarily appoint a broker of record in the event of a death or other unexpected situation; and clarifies certain appraiser and appraisal management company recordkeeping requirements. Effective: 7/1/2015

-Depopulating Citizens Property Insurance Corporation HB 1087 enables policyholders to return to Citizens if the premium charged by a private insurer is 10 percent higher than the insurer’s estimated cost. Policyholders may also return to Citizens during a renewal period if the new policy’s rate increases more than 10 percent per year during the next 36 months. Effective: 7/1/2015

-Recovery Residences HB 21 establishes a voluntary process for recovery residences - also known as “sober homes” and often located in residential areas - to become state certified. Federal regulations greatly restrict the state’s ability to govern sober homes. Effective: 7/1/2015

-Private Property Rights HB 383 codifies into law the provisions of a U.S. Supreme Court decision, Koontz vs. St. Johns River Management District. The court ruled that a government agency may not require a property owner to, among other things, perform off-site improvements or repairs to other properties he or she does not own and which are located miles away. Effective Oct. 1, 2015

A number of real estate bills failed this session, which in some cases is a good thing. Florida REALTORS® opposed proposed legislation that would have required organizations with specialty license plates to sell at least 4,000 plates a year, up from 1,000 a year. Some license plates were exempt from the bill, but not Florida REALTORS®’ “Support Homeownership For All” plate.

Another failed initiative would have required landlords to disclose if tenants were required to purchase renter’s insurance. For the second consecutive year, neither the House or Senate bills were heard in committee.

REALTORS® also successfully opposed bills that would have allowed local governments to prohibit vacation rentals and bills that would have allowed counties to raise documentary stamp taxes in lieu of charging impact fees.

Finally, an underwater pool lighting disclosure bill failed.

Source: Florida REALTORS®

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