Crist makes ceremonial stop, signs bill to aid condo owners


Article Courtesy of The Palm Beach Post

By Samantha Frank

Published June 26, 2010


Gov. Charlie Crist was on the photo op express today, signing the same bill three times in a two-hour period.


Just days before a bill designed to help distressed condominium associations takes effect, Crist stopped in Fort Lauderdale , Deerfield Beach and suburban Delray Beach to shake hands with residents who live in those heavily Democratic voting areas. The Republican-turned-independent is pushing hard for Democratic votes in his race for the U.S. Senate.

The governor actually signed SB 1196 into law earlier this month, but it doesn't take effect until July 1.

He spoke to a crowd of about 100 people at the Hagen Road Ranch Branch Library shortly after 12:30 p.m., telling them that he and his wife own a condo in Miami , so it is an important bill to him.

"(SB 1196) empowers condominium owners to

In Boynton Beach Thursday for the ceremonial signing of the "Distressed Condominium Relief Act" are (from left) Burt Aaronson, Legislative Delegation Chair Representative Maria Sachs, Delray Beach city commissioner Mack Bernard and Florida House of Representative Kevin Rader.

make their own decisions about their associations," he said.

The bill requires lenders to pay as much as a full year's worth in back fees when they take title to a property through foreclosure or deed in lieu of foreclosure. Previously lenders had to pay six months of assessments. It also gives associations the power to collect rent directly from tenants when the owners are not paying fees .

Condo associations now will have the power to punish non-paying owners or their tenants by banning them from common areas, such as pools and clubhouses. It also makes it easier for condo boards to opt out of expensive fire sprinkler, smoke detector and elevator upgrades that must be completed by 2014.

The signing of the bill was a huge victory for the Coalition of Boynton West Residential Associations and the Alliance of Delray Residential Associations. The leaders of the two groups, which represent a total of about 180,000 residents, traveled to Tallahassee in early March to lobby for the bill.

"(The bill) has a lot of things in there that we've been trying to get for a while," said Ken Lassiter, president of COBWRA. "This should help a lot."

He said that COBWRA and the Delray Alliance helped to write a similar bill last year, but the governor vetoed it, siding with fire marshals and others who said the lack of sprinkler systems was a safety issue.

Crist also took the opportunity to assure residents that he is doing all he can to help with the Gulf oil spill. He said that he spoke with officials at the White House this morning about getting more oil skimmers to Florida .

When speaking of the $20 billion fund that BP has promised for Gulf oil spill claims, Crist said, "I'm going to make sure Florida gets her fair share."


This bill is actually called "The Condominium Attorney Relief ACT." It contains lots of feel-good measures that will create lots of lawsuits but will do nothing to solve the real problem: Budget deficits caused by unpaid dues/foreclosures. In case you are interest, here is the real information about the bill and what it will do: