Senate Bill 1520 was signed by Governor Rick Scott on June 16, 2017. The following is a summary of the bill, which will take effect on July 1, 2017:
SB 1520 amends 718.117, Florida Statutes, regarding the optional termination of condominiums, making it more difficult for a Plan of Termination to be passed without full consent of the unit owners. The changes to the law reduce the amount of unit owners required to reject a plan, postpone the time until another plan can be voted on, and requires that the plan be approved by the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (“Division”) based on factual and public policy reasons. Further, it guarantees that an optional termination will not result in a unit owner receiving less than his or her purchase price of the unit.
Changes to 718.117(1), (3) and addition of (21):
- The statute contains language indicating it is controlling over language in a condominium’s declaration and applies to all condominiums in the state in existence on or after July 1, 2007. The phrase: “Unless the declaration provides for a lower percentage” has been stricken indicating that the threshold established in the statute is the minimum vote required for optional termination.
- Prior to the effective date of the amendment, in order to approve a plan of termination, 80% of unit owners must approve the plan, and no more than 10% of unit owners can object. The changes to the statute now require an 80% unit owner vote approving a plan of termination; with less than 5% objecting. Additionally, the changes to the statute now provide that once the plan of termination passes a unit owner vote, it would then need to be approved by the Division.
- The Division will have 45 days to review the Plan of Termination and notify the association of any deficiencies, or if it is rejected. If the Division does not respond within 45 days, the plan is deemed accepted. Under the new law, plans of termination will now need to include factual circumstances that show that the plan complies with Section 718.117, Florida Statutes, and supports the public policies of the section, which are listed below.
- If a plan of termination is rejected by 5% or more of the total voting interests of the condominium, then a new plan may not be considered for 24 months, as opposed to the current period of 18 months.
- Under the current law, a condominium owner who purchased a unit from the developer must be made “whole” upon termination. In other words, the plan of termination could not provide for paying the unit owner less than the original purchase price. SB 1520 removes the language that restricts this requirement only to the original unit owner, meaning that an owner who purchased a resale condominium would also be entitled to receive a minimum of the purchase price upon optional termination. The bill applies this section to all unit owners, not just the ones who object to the plan.
Public Policy Reasons the DBPR Evaluates During Review for Optional Termination
- Ensure continued maintenance, management, and repair of stormwater management systems, conservation areas, and conservation easements; or avoiding the costs and responsibilities of maintenance, management, and repair from falling on the shoulders of the taxpayers.
- Prevent covenants from impairing the continued productive use of the property.
- Protect state residents from health and safety hazards.
- Provide fair treatment and just compensation for individuals, and preserve property values.
- Protect homestead property and homestead property rights.
For a complete reading of the adopted legislation, please refer to the text of the bills available on the websites for the Florida Senate (www.flsenate.gov) and Florida House of Representatives (www.myfloridahouse.gov). Additionally, please contact our offices should you or your community require a more detailed legal analysis opining upon the impacts that the legislative changes described above can have on your community.
Also, please note that we are still monitoring the following bills which have already passed the Florida Legislature but are still waiting on action from the Governor:
- HB 653: The “Retrofitting with Fire Sprinklers” bill
- HB 6027: The “Financial Reporting” bill
- HB 1237: The “Condominiums” bill
We will continue keeping you updated as the status of the above-referenced bills change.