Articles

    FMO-FMHA 2019 Proposed Joint Legislation hits the Legislature

     

    Greetings fellow members,

    We are pleased to announce the filing, in both the House and the Senate, of bills crafted by our legislative committee to amend Florida Statute 723 (FS723). Following this announcement is a summary prepared by our Lobbyist in Tallahassee, Nancy Black Stewart, that provides a useful summary of the bill’s contents.  This bill has taken three years of negotiations to complete.  The bill is a response to requests, complaints, and observations from our members. It is important that everyone understand the Legislature has told us that if they are to consider our bills we must first attempt to negotiate with FMHA. Links to the actual filings can be found in our News Alert section.

    FMO-FMHA 2019 Proposed Joint Legislation

    The proposed legislation amending Chapter 723, Florida Statutes, makes the following changes:

    Section 1.

    • Clarifies that the Division will determine deficiencies in a prospectus for items or things that are in direct violation of the provisions of Chapter 723. This refers to the fact that Prospectus’ con only be rejected when they are in violation of 723. A request of FMHA
    • Also requires that the park owner may request a receipt from a prospective homeowner that he has received the lot rental agreement.

     

    Section 2.

    • Clarifies that the factors listed that affect increases in a lot rental amount must be disclosed if they are applicable.

     

    Section 3.

    • Creates procedures for the park owner and the homeowner for a remedy when a homeowner is failing to maintain his property and home in a manner consistent with the park rules and regulations. This aids in rules enforcement by giving the offender notice of time, cost and remedy to be addressed before the Park Management will take action to correct the violation. This was a most difficult section to agree on.  We all wanted Park owners to enforce the rules. They said the only tool they had was eviction which would not be favored by the courts.  We came up with language to encourage the homeowner to clean up the violation or the park owner will have the correction made and change the homeowner.  We made sure there was proper notice given by posting, mailing and electronic transmission.  The notice must contain the violation, a time for the correction to be made and the amount to be billed if the park owner has to do the work. THE MISUNDERSTANDING HERE IS THAT PARK OWNERS WANT TO DO THIS. That is not the intent, the intent is for the homeowner to comply.

     

    Section 4.

    • Requires that when an eviction notice is given to a home owner due to a change in use of the land, the park owner shall also provide a copy of such notice to the Division within 20 days. The Division will provide the notice to the Florida Mobile Home Relocation Corporation.  The intent here is that the Relocation Corporation can meet with the residents as soon as possible and explain their rights and the process for relocation funding.
    • Requires that an eviction notice to the homeowner will be by U.S. mail. Not certified mail.  An FMHA request.  When I asked, are they sending that many eviction notices the response was that is what they have to do when lot rents are in arrears.  This usually causes the rents to be forwarded.  It does not eliminate the formal eviction to take place through the courts.

     

    Section 5.

    • Requires the board of directors of a homeowners’ association to notify the park owner by certified mail when new officers or directors are appointed or elected. We recognize they are asking for certified mail but this is one time a year and was not worth a fight.

     

    Section 6.

    • Makes changes to requirements of bylaws of homeowners’ associations addressing meetings of park owners and the board or board committees and elections of officers and directors. Closes meetings between the with park owner and the HOA Board or the Statutory committee. These were all requests from various HOA’s.  Those that have strong HOA’s and understand the law may see this as infringement but there are over 1700 communities on leased land and I assure you they experience problems in these areas especially elections.
    • Creates procedures for elections of board members, ballot preparation, voting rules and number of home owners votes required.  We actually felt that who ever showed up or sent their absentee ballot in should be the only votes considered it was FMHA that added there should be at least 20% of members represented.  Probably a good idea.

     

    Section 7.

    • Makes changes to provisions relating to retention official records of homeowners’ associations (from 7 to 5 years) and requires binding arbitration by the Division in disputes about inspection or photocopying. The IRS only requires 3 years now but the Florida statute of limitations is 5 years so we changed the law from 7 to 5.

     

    Section 8.

    • Requires mandatory binding arbitration with the Division for disputes between a homeowners’ association and a mobile home owner relating to recall or elections of officers or directors, and inspections and photocopying of official records. These items are often overlooked by someone reviewing the bill. Actually, these are three instances where we are saving HOA’s money by requiring Binding Arbitration rather Litigation in these matters.  Ultimately, we want binding arbitration across the board including with Park Owner disputes but that is a larger fight for another day.