HOW TO OBEY A NON-PUBLISHED LAW?
EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2010 - BUT NO REVISED VERSION AVAILABLE!
Opinion By Jan Bergemann
Published July 17, 2010
days after the changes to community association law caused by bill S
1196 became effective, no revised versions of the statutes are
available. In short,
It's pathetic to expect citizens to follow laws they can't even read.
Charlie Crist signed this bill into law on June 1, 2010. Is it too much to
ask from our bureaucrats in Tallahassee to revise the statutes by adding
the changes into the existing statutes within one (1) month? Admittedly,
the bill contains 103 pages of bad language, but that's the language the
governor signed into law and that's the changes we have to live with --
like it or not!
And in case you call the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes for a written copy of the new law, you will be utterly disappointed. Folks who called got a variety of answers, even offering the possibility that the actual official new version will not be available until late August or even September. The advice they got: "Read the bill that was enacted!" But considering the variety of interpretations of the provisions by professionals, it really seems to ask too much from board members and owners to create their own version of the new laws. And if you read between the lines of the answers from the Division you may get the message that the folks in Tallahassee have finally discovered that the language for the provision that allows associations to collect unpaid dues from renters has serious flaws and may not be enforceable. Rumor has it that they are trying to fine-tune the language by creating some new rules for the Florida Administrative Code.
Already before the beginning of the legislative session we tried to get the attention of the people in charge, trying to make them aware that the language is wrong and will create nothing but problems.
But who wants to listen to some "stupid disgruntled" homeowners, when the people who wrote these provisions and pushed the bill as approved are high-priced specialized attorneys who write books and newspaper columns on these issues?
Let's make it very clear: Many of the serious problems owners are facing daily in Florida's community associations are caused by the vague language written by these "experts." And this new bill is another great example that these attorneys are in it for the billing hours, not to create peaceful functioning communities.
And that is exactly the reason why S 1196 was dubbed:
THE CONDO ASSOCIATION ATTORNEY RELIEF ACT.
But that leaves us with the unanswered question: How can you follow a law that is not available for view by the people supposed to obey it? If our bureaucrats in Tallahassee take forever to create the changes caused by a bill, legislators might consider that problem when they write the effective date at the bottom of the bill. Maybe January 1 of the next year might be a good solution -- considering the bureaucrats in Tallahassee are working at a snail's pace?