LET'S START ON A REAL HOA REFORM BILL!
H 679 IS DEAD -- NOW WE NEED REAL REFORMS!
Opinion By Jan Bergemann
Published July 3, 2008
It's time for all of Florida's homeowners living in mandatory associations to thank Governor Charlie Crist for vetoing H 679 -- the HOA Bill that would have created more confusion and lawsuits than our wallets could ever afford! H 679 was an ill-advised bill thrown together by different special interest groups without making any sense to help the big picture!
By vetoing this ill-advised bill Governor Crist cleared the way for a real homeowner-friendly HOA Bill, using the AARP Bill of Homeowners' Rights as a template to complement provisions of the existing Florida Statutes 720.
State Representative Julio Robaina and Senator Alex Villalobos have been proven to be an excellent team that succeeded this year in having the legislature approve the much praised condo bill H995, that was signed into law by Governor Charlie Crist on May 1, 2008.
Especially the bad economy and the
nearly non-existent real estate market have shown us the many flaws in
the association system and the statutes governing it. It needs to be
revised to protect the welfare and finances of
Florida Statutes and the AARP Bill of Homeowners' Rights give us a great foundation to start. And we don't have to reinvent the wheel for homeowners' associations. Many of the provisions that are working for condo associations will as well work for homeowners' associations -- with a little rewording. For these provisions case law and guiding arbitration rulings are already in place and will simplify the solution of possible conflicts. Just to name a few examples: Board meetings, board elections and record requests.
But the best bill will be useless without easy enforcement, accessible sources of information and education. In short: Homeowners living in mandatory associations have to be guaranteed accountability of the people in charge and easy accessible sources for information and education.
Meaning that HOAs need as well a
Regulatory Agency with enforcement power and an Ombudsman -- exactly
State Representative Julio Robaina will make HOA REFORM his priority for the upcoming legislative session and he hopes that all interested parties will submit their ideas. Like H 995, it should be a bill that can be supported by all homeowners and homeowners' groups.
But -- as the saying goes -- only serious applicants need apply. In the last two years we have seen certain groups, who change their minds really fast, depending on how the wind blows. Please make sure what you support and what you don't support before approaching the State Representative. For certain groups and persons it seems to be fashionable to make sure they are on the winning side. So, please do us all one big favor:
We all mean business and want to achieve real reform that helps all owners in the State of Florida.
WE ARE WORKING TO CREATE A SURVEY FOR OUR WEBSITE SO THAT YOU CAN HELP
BY TELLING US WHAT KIND OF HOA REFORMS ARE REALLY NEEDED!
PLEASE KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN FOR THIS SURVEY!