Delray - State Rep. Julio Robaina told leaders of homeowner associations
Monday he wants feedback before crafting legislation to overhaul
associations across the state.
Robaina, a Miami Republican, doesn't represent the area, but he is at the
forefront of legislative reform for condos and HOAs. While board members
typically oppose regulation, the Alliance of Delray Residential Associations
praised Robaina's efforts.
Robaina, who is committee chairman of condo and homeowners association
governance, said he'll introduce legislation in March on homeowners
associations. At a minimum, he will push for an ombudsman to act as a
resource and mediator for homeowners. Condominium associations have had an
ombudsman since 2004 through legislation Robaina sponsored.
"People are asking in majority numbers that they do want to be
regulated," he said. "I have mixed feelings."
said he isn't comfortable handing over more power to the state Department of
Business and Professional Regulation, which oversees condominium
associations. But he said he will promote legislation considering half of
Florida's residents will live in association-run communities by 2010.
Barbara Zee, vice president of legislative affairs for the alliance, said
she supports an ombudsman because "there's a feeling homeowners have no
place to go. There's got to be someone of authority who could sit down with
Zee said she isn't anti-reform. In fact, she worked on a homeowner
association bill that Gov. Charlie Crist vetoed earlier this year. For
example, some associations do not allow homeowners to speak at board
meetings, which a new law could rectify, Zee said.
"Most of the time, the boards are very interested in doing what's best
for the association because they live there," she said.
While an ombudsman would help, David Lewin, a board member at Shadywoods in
Delray Beach, opposes regulation of homeowner associations. He also doesn't
want a fee similar to the $4 per unit owner that condominium owners pay for
the ombudsman and other services.
"I'm totally against additional regulation for HOAs," he said.
"Are homeowner associations doing a bad job? No."
Robaina said people can send ideas or comments on regulating homeowner
associations to him at firstname.lastname@example.org