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Florida Realtors Kicks Off ‘Amendment 2 is for Everybody’ Campaign
 
Florida Realtors, the state's largest professional trade association, officially kicked off its campaign to pass Amendment 2, which gives voters the chance to make a 10 percent cap on annual non-homestead property tax increases permanent. It will appear on the 2018 general election ballot.
 
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Florida Realtors® Launches Realtor Party Mobile Alert

 

Florida Realtors® is launching a Realtor Party Mobile Alert and invites everyone to sign up by texting REALTOR to 30644.

 

 

Condo Law Changes Went Into Effect July 1st

 

July 17, 2017 – There were several changes made to Chapter 718, the Florida Statute governing condominiums, and all went into effect on July 1, 2017.

While not exhaustive, below is a list of July 1 changes that you may come across in real estate deals:

  1. 718.111(12)(c)(1) – A unit renter has a right to inspect and copy the association's bylaws and rules.
  2. 718.111(12)(c)(3)(g)(1) – by July 1, 2018, an association with 150 or more units (which does not manage timeshare units) must post digital copies of the required documents on its website.
  3. 718.116(8) – The association must issue an estoppel certificate within 10 business days of receipt of a written or electronic request for said certificate.
  4. 718.116(8)(a) – Any condominium estoppel certificate must contain specific assessment information, such as the regular periodic assessment and frequency; an itemized list of all assessments, special assessments and other moneys scheduled to become due; if there is a capital contribution fee, resale fee or other fee due and what the amount is; if there is a right of first refusal provided to the association or the members; and contact information for all insurance maintained by the association, amongst other things.
  5. 718.116(8)(b) – The estoppel certificate (sent via hand delivery or electronically) has a 30-day effective period (35-days if sent by regular mail).
  6. 718.116(8)(d) – If a requested estoppel certificate is not delivered within 10 business days, a fee may not be charged for the preparation and delivery of that estoppel letter.
  7. 718.116(8)(f) – The association may charge a reasonable fee for preparation and delivery of an estoppel certificate that may not exceed $250.00; if the certificate is requested on an expedited basis and delivered within 3 business days after the request, however, the association may charge an additional $150.00; an additional fee of up to $150.00 may also be charged for an estoppel certificate on a unit if a delinquent amount is owed.

The Florida Legislature also added other new condominium association rules this year. If a unit owner is denied docs and fraud can be proved, for example, it could be a felony; and board director terms are now limited to eight years with a few exceptions.

For complete info on July 1 condo law changes, refer to the bill, HB 1237, which Gov. Scott signed on June 26.

 

 

Governor Rick Scott Signs 28 Bills Into Law

 
June 14, 2017-Governor Rick Scott signed the following bills into law:
 
CS/HB 339
Motor Vehicle Service Agreement Companies - This bill requires motor vehicle service agreement companies to maintain $15 million in assets.
 
HB 371
Assistive Technology Devices - This bill allows students to take home their assistive technology devices.
 
CS/CS/HB 377
Limitations on Actions other than for the Recovery of Real Property - This bill clarifies the statute of repose by defining the date of completion for certain contracted services.
 
HB 379
Underground Facilities - This bill expands the reporting requirements for underground facility operators.
 
CS/CS/HB 397
Public Records/ Victim of Alleged Sexual Harassment/ Identifying Information - This bill creates a public records exemption for identifying information of state employees who file sexual harassment complaints.
 
CS/CS/HB 421
Public Housing Authority Insurance - This bill allows a business owned by public housing authorities to join a self-insurance fund.
 
CS/CS/HB 455
Tax Exemptions for First Responders and Surviving Spouses - This bill creates a property tax exemption for first responders permanently disabled in the line of duty and the surviving spouse of first responders killed in the line of duty.
 
CS/CS/HB 465
Firefighters - This bill creates a Lifetime Firefighter designation for firefighters and volunteer firefighters.
 
CS/HB 477
Controlled Substances - This bill creates new and enhances current penalties relating to synthetic opioid drugs, including fentanyl and its derivatives.
 
CS/HB 493
Enhanced Safety for School Crossings - This bill directs the Florida Department of Transportation to study the viability and cost of creating a state-wide system for the designation of safe school crossing locations.
 
CS/CS/HB 501
Public Records and Meetings/ Information Technology/Postsecondary Education Institutions - This bill protects IT security information at public colleges and universities.
 
CS/HB 505
Florida Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act - This bill removes a substance with a medically accepted use from the Florida Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act.
 
CS/CS/HB 573
Water Protection and Sustainability - This bill creates the “Heartland Headwaters Protection and Sustainability Act” and requires the Polk County Regional Water Cooperative to provide an annual report on local projects and conservation efforts.
 
CS/HB 577
Discount Plan Organizations - This bill streamlines the regulation of Discount Plans and Discount Plan Organizations
 
CS/CS/HB 599
Public Works Projects - This bill prevents state and local governments from imposing specified restrictions on contracts for public works projects funded 50 percent or more by the state.
 
HB 1203
Public Records/ Department of Corrections/ Health Information - This bill enhances the protections of inmate health and medical information.
 
HB 7091
Probation and Community Control - This bill enhances public safety by improving Florida’s community supervision laws.
 
CS/SB 164
Certificates of Title for Motor Vehicles - This bill eliminates the fee on car titles issued to remove the name of a deceased co-owner to a surviving spouse.
 
SB 256
Florida Center for the Partnerships for Arts Integrated Teaching - This bill saves the Florida Center for the Partnerships for Arts Integrated Teaching from repeal.
 
CS/SB 312
Eyewitness Identification - This bill provides guidelines for law enforcement agencies to follow when conducting photo and in-person lineups.
 
CS/CS/SB 368
Transportation Facility Designations - This bill makes 50 honorary designations of Florida transportation facilities, including “Lieutenant Debra Clayton Memorial Highway” and “First Class Deputy Normal Lewis Memorial Highway.”
 
CS/SB 396
Student Loan Debt - This bill requires colleges and universities to provide students with financial information about their student loans annually.
 
CS/CS/CS/SB 398
Estoppel Certificates - This bill provides fee caps and revises requirements for the issuance and expiration of estoppel certificates for condominium, cooperative, and homeowners’ associations.
 
CS/CS/SB 800
Medication Synchronization - This bill requires health insurers and HMOs to allow patients to align refill dates of prescription medication.
 
CS/CS/SB 1018
Pollution - This bill requires public notification within 24 hours of pollution incidents and provides additional resources for pollution prevention and recovery.
 
CS/SB 1108
Public Records /Firefighters and their Spouses and Children - This bill extends the public record exemption for personal identifying information of firefighters and their spouses and children to former firefighters, their spouses and children.
 
CS/SB 1634
Residential Elevators - This bill enhances the safety standards of residential elevators.
 
CS/CS/SB 1672
Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority - This bill renames the organization, streamlines its structure, and changes its mission to focus on regional transit challenges and opportunities in the Tampa Bay area.
 
 
To view the transmittal letters, click here
 

 

Public Policy Weekly Update

Environment

• Senate Bill 10 and House Bill 761 sponsored by Sen. Bradley and Rep. Altman, are bills pertaining to the Everglades and Lake Okeechobee. This week, the Senate sponsor filed a strike-all and the bill was essentially rewritten. The new version of the bill will allow for water storage of land which is already owned by the South Florida Water Management District. Although the new version of the bill does not call for 60,000 acres, there will be the opportunity for 280,000+ acre feet of water storage. It would seem that all the stakeholders on this issue are optimistic it will come in for a landing.

Bill Status: Senate Bill 10 was voted out of Senate Appropriations and is potentially scheduled to be heard on the Senate floor on April 12, 2017. 

Bill Status: House Bill 761 is currently waiting to be heard in the Natural Resources & Public Lands Subcommittee; however, there is no guarantee that this committee will be meeting again during the 2017 legislative session.

*Note: Florida Realtors does not have a position on this legislation.


• House Bill 551 sponsored by Representative Charlie Stone and Senate Bill 874 by Senator Dana Young relate to onsite sewage treatment (septic). These bills would put into place Governor Scott’s proposal to help local governments fund septic-to-sewer conversions, muck dredging, and large storm water improvement projects by appropriating $20 million annually through 2026. In the current version of the bills, counties within the Indian River Lagoon and the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries would be eligible to receive these funds.

Bill Status: Senate Bill 874 passed the Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee unanimously, and is now waiting to be heard in the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources.

Bill Status: House Bill 551 is currently waiting to be heard in the Natural Resources & Public Lands Subcommittee; however, it is not likely this subcommittee will meet again during the 2017 legislative session.

 

• House Bill 285 and Senate Bill 1748 sponsored by Rep. Randy Fine and Sen. Linda Stewart also relates to onsite sewage. This week there was an amendment to this bill, it now requires that disclosure language be placed into a closing contract regarding the property having an onsite sewage treatment system. The disclosure will encourage the buyer to get the system inspected. The Florida Realtors were successful in shortening the disclosure language.

Bill Status: House Bill 285 successfully passed the House Commerce Committee this week.

Bill Status: Senate Bill 1748 is currently waiting to be heard in the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation committee. This bill is not likely to be heard during the 2017 legislative session, as it was not noticed to be heard in their committee next week and it could be their last meeting.


Business Rent Tax

• Governor Scott’s proposed budget includes a 25 percent reduction in the business rent tax which would amount to a 1.5 percent cut. If included in the final budget this cut would result in $454 million in savings for Florida business owners.
• House Bill 463 by Representative Holly Raschein was filed on January 24, 2017. This bill will provide tenants with relief from the "double taxation" or "tax on tax" that occurs when tenants pay their landlord's property taxes. This is an alternate business rent tax cut proposal that is directed at those commercial tenants who have leases that separately state they pay their landlord's property taxes as part of their lease payments. Senate Bill 704 by Senator Rene Garcia was filed on February 6, 2017. This bill is similar to House Bill 463.

These bills were scored on March 3, 2017 by the Revenue Estimating Conference (REC). The REC placed an estimate of $172.8 million recurring fiscal impact to the state on these bills.

• Senate Bill 484, by Senator Hukill and Co-Sponsored by Senator Bean, would reduce the state sales tax rate that is charged on commercial leases from 6% to 5%. 

Bill Status: Senate Bill 704 passed the Community Affairs committee by a vote of 5 to 1. The bill now moves to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance & Tax. 

Bill Status: Senate Bill 484 was passed by the Community Affairs Committee on Monday April 3, 2017 by a vote of 5 to 2.  The bill now moves to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance & Tax. 

Bill Status:  The House Ways & Means Committee voted to approve the draft tax package on April 5, 2017, by a vote of 16 to 0.  This tax package includes a wide range of tax reductions and modifications designed to directly impact both households and businesses.  The main piece of the tax package includes a reduction of the business rent tax from 6% to 4.5% for two years, beginning January 1, 2018, then maintains a permanent tax rate reduction from 6% to 5.5% beginning January 1, 2020.  The bill has been filed as HB 7109. 
 

This is the beginning of the process where the House and Senate will advance their respective tax cut proposals. 
 
Property Tax

• The House version of the joint resolution that would place a constitutional amendment on the 2018 general election ballot to permanently extend the annual 10 percent non-homestead property tax cap was filed by Representative Colleen Burton on January 23, 2017. This bill, House Joint Resolution 21, is the companion to Senate Bill 76, sponsored by Senator Tom Lee.  The Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) has not placed a fiscal impact on this joint resolution. The REC will continue to meet to discuss this, and many other bills, each week throughout the legislative session.

Bill Status: Senate Joint Resolution 76 passed the Appropriations Committee by a unanimous vote of 15 to 0.  The bill will move to the last committee of reference, which is Senate Rules.
Bill Status: House Joint Resolution 21 was passed by the full House on March 23, 2017, by a vote of 110-3 and is now in Senate messages.

Estoppel Certificates

• The House and Senate versions of the estoppel certificate bills have been filed by Representative Byron Donalds and Senator Kathleen Passidomo. House Bill 483 and Senate Bill 398 cap the fees that community association management companies can charge for estoppel certificates, and they include a standard estoppel certificate form to ensure the same information is provided to owners across Florida.

Bill Status: Senate Bill 398 passed the full Senate last Thursday by a 35-1 vote. The bill will now be sent to the House of Representatives for consideration. 

Bill Status: House Bill 483 is awaiting consideration by the House Judiciary Committee. This is the bill’s last committee reference.

Affordable Housing

• Senate Bill 854 sponsored by Senator Jeff Brandes and House Bill 1013 by Representative Wengay Newton would create an affordable housing taskforce assigned to the Florida Housing Finance Corporation. The 13-member board would be charged with developing recommendations for addressing the state’s affordable housing needs.

The recommendations will include review of market rate developments; affordable housing developments; land use for affordable housing developments; building codes for affordable housing developments; states’ implementation of the low-income housing tax credit; private and public sector development and construction industries; and rental market for assisted rental housing.

An amendment was filed and passed on the senate version that would include a realtor on the task force. An identical amendment will be added to the house version at the next committee stop.

Bill Status: Senate Bill 854 passed out of the Community Affairs Committee by a 7-0 vote. The bill now moves to the Appropriations Committee.
Bill Status: House Bill 1013 passed out of the Local, Federal and Veteran Affairs Subcommittee by a 12-0 vote. The bill now moves to the Transportation and Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee.

Vacation Rentals

• House Bill 425 sponsored by Rep. Mike La Rosa and Senate Bill 188 sponsored by Senator Greg Steube provides that local laws, ordinances, & regulations adopted after June 1, 2011, may not restrict use of, prohibit, or regulate vacation rentals based solely on classification, use, or occupancy.

Bill Status: House Bill 425 passed out of the Careers and Competition Subcommittee by a 9-6 vote. The bill now moves to the Commerce Committee.

Bill Status: Senate Bill 188 was temporarily postponed on Monday, April 3, 2017, in the Community Affairs Committee.

 

Latest Edition of REALTOR® Magazine Released

 

The March/April edition of REALTOR® Magazine was recently released and includes stories on the following topics:

  • Advocates in Action on Tax Reform, Flood Insurance and a Host of Other Issues, NAR Leaders Standing Up for Your Interests
  • Make Retirement a Reality
  • Roaring Back From the Abyss
  • What First-Time Sellers Don't Know

Read REALTOR® Magazine

 

Florida FWC Commission's Gopher Tortoise Conservation Program

 

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Gopher Tortoise Conservation Program has developed an information packet for Florida Realtors and property owners with detailed information about laws, rules and guidelines relating to the gopher tortoise, which is listed as a threatened species by the State of Florida. This resource includes answers to frequently asked questions, fact sheets and brochures related to the protection of gopher tortoises.

View the Gopher Tortoise information packet

 

2016 NAR Issue Brief-Legislative & Regulatory Year in Review

 

Congress Adjourns Without Passing Tax-Extenders

After passing a Continuing Resolution that will fund Federal Government operations until April 28, 2017, the 114th Congress adjourned on Friday, December 9, 2016.  An extension of the Mortgage Cancellation Debt Relief, part of the “Tax Extenders” package was not passed in the lame duck session.  Homeowners completing a short-sale or a mortgage modification at any time during calendar year 2016 are eligible for the relief when they file their 2016 Income Taxes in April of 2017.  NAR will be working on an extension in early 2017 that would be retroactive to January 1, 2017.

 

What About Tax Reform?

Here is what NAR has learned so far. The Trump Transition Team along with the Republican Congressional leadership intends to use a legislative vehicle called Budget Reconciliation to move Tax Reform.  NAR is already engaged with key members of the tax writing committees in the House and Senate, on both sides of the aisle, to outline our positions on Tax Reform.  Our Tax Team has drafted two documents for you to use with your members who may have questions about Tax Reform, for your FPCs who will be meeting with Members of Congress and for your general use.  These documents will evolve as the Tax Reform debate evolves.  We will periodically let you know when there has been a revision and we will keep the document at the same web link throughout the debate so if you can always have access to the latest information.

Document One Issue Brief: http://narfocus.com/billdatabase/clientfiles/172/19/2795.pdf

Document Two Talking Points: http://narfocus.com/billdatabase/clientfiles/172/19/2796.pdf

 

Individual Real Estate Tax Provisions

There is currently no Tax Reform Bill since Congress has adjourned.  The House Ways and Means Committee is using the Blueprint a series of tax reform principles to help guide and shape the debate. The Blueprint contains an increase in the Standard Deduction and elimination of the deduction for State and Local Taxes.  NAR is opposed to these two concepts.  Additionally, many of you have been contacted by outside groups who are asking you to mobilize your members in opposition to changes to the 1031 Like-Kind Exchange provision.  NAR opposes any changes to the 1031 Like-Kind Exchange provision and will launch a Call for Action on Tax Reform Legislation when appropriate, please disregard these outside requests. 

 

NAR Priorities for the 115th Congress

Regulatory reform, tax reform, National Flood Insurance Program reauthorization, housing finance reform (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) and other housing and real estate issues that arise.

 

View the Save the Lagoon Project Plan

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