ANALYSIS OF HOUSE BILL H 115 -- RESIDENTIAL PROPERTIES

Representatives Kevin Ambler (R)

An Opinion By Jan Bergemann 
President, Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc. 

Published September 21, 2009 (Amended 11-04-2009)

   

Last year it was H 27 -- this year it's H115. The legislators trying to kill the rights of property owners living in mandatory community associations are working hard to achieve their goals.

 

(CLICK HERE FOR ORIGINALLY FILED VERSION!)

   

It was no secret that Representative Ambler would refile his horrible bill with the same outrageous language as last year (SEE LAST YEAR'S ANALYSIS) -- language that would turn HOA statutes back to the "Dark Ages" in the times before Governor Jeb Bush's HOA TASK FORCE and Senator Jeff Atwater's bill S 1184. S 1184 was a huge step in the right direction, unlike H 27, which would have seriously turned back the clock on progress!  

   

But H115 -- and many others to follow -- will not help condo owners to save their families from becoming homeless.

  

Here is another sad example just from this weekend:

Water to be shut off at Kissimmee condos

 

But it seems that many legislators, managers and attorneys just consider these poor families COLLATERAL DAMAGE! They do BUSINESS AS USUAL!

 

Some examples:

Line 468 - 472: A person who has been suspended or removed by the division under this chapter, or who is delinquent in the payment of any fee, fine, or special or regular assessment as provided in paragraph (n), is not eligible for board membership.

Here we go again: Boards will fine unwanted candidates and will declare them not eligible for the election. Problem solved without the need to convince the voters.

 

Line 582 - 601: b. Within 90 days after being elected to the board, each newly elected director shall certify in writing to the secretary of the association that he or she has read the association's  declarations of covenants and restrictions, articles of incorporation, bylaws, and current written policies; that he or she will work to uphold such documents and policies to the best of his or her ability; and that he or she will faithfully discharge his or her fiduciary responsibility to the association's members. In lieu of this written certification, the newly elected director may submit a certificate of satisfactory completion of the educational curriculum administered by a division-approved condominium education provider. Failure to timely file the written certification or educational certificate automatically disqualifies the director from service on the board. The secretary shall cause the association to retain a director's written certification or educational certificate for inspection by the members for 5 years after a director's election. Failure to have such written certification or educational certificate on file does not affect the validity of any appropriate action.

We all know that this will complicate matters even more -- and it's all window-dressing. 

It was easy before: No signed certificate -- no candidate! Period! 

Now an elected board member can create havoc for 90 days, then laugh about it by refusing to sign such a certificate. "Automatically disqualifies"? We have seen these "automatically" phrases before -- absolutely no teeth! It will take time to enforce, arguments with the DBPR and more problems if the board is in cahoots! We have seen many boards laughing about the total lack of enforcement of Florida laws. But why make it easy, if it can be made really complicated? 

 

Apropos election qualification papers for legislators? Can they be supplied 90 days after the election results are announced? 

 

Line 872 - 875: (5) If the declaration or bylaws so provide, an association may also suspend the voting rights of a member due to nonpayment of assessments, fines, or other charges payable to the association which are delinquent in excess of 90 days.

Bylaws are quickly changed, fines are even easier levied and assessment checks are conveniently lost. They may miraculously reappear after the election. We heard all these stories during HOA Task Force meetings in 2003/2004. Now it's time to allow the same shenanigans in condos? "We'll show these disgruntled owners where it gets them to complain about the sitting board." And just watch for the other charges: Boards can really use their imagination and fantasy!

  

What's next? Can't vote if you haven't paid your property taxes?

  

It's all under the headline: Give these sitting boards more power!  Do we really need statutes that empower sitting boards to legally eliminate opposing candidates from running for the board? Typical methods used by dictatorships. Isn't that as well how it works in Cuba? Disqualify unwanted candidates from running for office?

   

It seems to be the trend of the politicians that are running the show in Tallahassee in the moment: Let's trample on the rights of the citizens and give the people who are in power even more protection -- and protect them from prosecution for violating Florida's laws!
This bill is a prime example of killing private property rights even more!

 

Even TIME Magazine feels the same as many of Florida's citizens do:

Behind Florida's Exodus: Rising Taxes, Political Ineptitude

By the way: You can still read about the "Land Of The Free and The Home Of The Brave"  --  but only in history books!

 

Oh, in an afterthought: This House Representative is running for the Florida Senate next year. Is this the kind of legislator we want to be in charge of Florida for even more years?


Here is the e-mail address of Representative Kevin Ambler: KEVIN.AMBLER@myfloridahouse.gov


SENATE COMPANION BILL S 398

Withdrawn prior to introduction


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