The firm’s latest Miami Herald “Real Estate Counselor” column was authored by partner Gary M. Mars and appears in today’s edition of the newspaper. The article, which is titled “Industry Association Offers Lawmakers, Advocates Legislative Priorities for 2023,” focuses on the 2023 legislative priorities from the Community Associations Institute, which serves as the leading voice for the associations industry. His article reads:
. . . To determine CAI’s priority issues for 2023, its Government & Public Affairs team surveyed nearly 1,000 members including the federal legislative action committee (LAC), Government & Public Affairs Committee, and state LAC representatives. Fifty percent of respondents said they anticipate condominium safety issues in 2023, including those covering reserve studies and funding; as well as building inspections, maintenance and structural integrity.
The organization recommends statutorily mandating reserve studies and funding for all community associations, and it also supports additional requirements by developers during the development process and prior to the transition of association control to homeowners. It addresses structural integrity through statutorily mandated building inspections at 10 years, 20 years, and every five years thereafter, as recommended by the American Society of Civil Engineers’ published protocol for building inspections.
Bauman also wrote that CAI encourages policymakers to engage industry stakeholders, including community associations, in an open forum over legislative initiatives and regulations involving short- and long-term rentals. The group’s position is that association boards of directors, with homeowner input, are the appropriate governing body to craft policies regarding whether short- and long-term rentals make sense for their community.
The legislative priorities summary also discusses responses to threats and violence against managers, staff members and association boards. It notes that the organization is committed to discussing public policy options, training programs, resources, and support to help ensure that senseless acts of violence do not occur.
CAI also supports the adoption of a simplified process for removing discriminatory restrictive covenants. The group has long-since supported a process to remove antiquated and unenforceable discriminatory restrictions contained in covenants via simple board approval and without any prerequisites for votes by all unit owners. It advocates for state legislation that provides for the removal of restrictions deemed discriminatory under the federal Fair Housing Act or state antidiscrimination laws.
At the federal level, CAI representatives met with White House officials on Sept. 20 to discuss condominium safety initiatives and garner support for two pieces of legislation:
- H.R. 8304, the Rapid Financing for Critical Condo Repairs Act, which allows the Federal Housing Administration to insure condominium association building rehabilitation loans made by private lenders. FHA-insured loans will allow associations to finance building repairs over 30-years, reducing the need for large special assessments on homeowners.
- H.R. 7532, the Securing Access to Finance Exterior Repairs in Condos Act, which allows condominium owners to finance a building repair special assessment over 20 to 30 years. Condo owners may combine a building repair special assessment with existing mortgage debt in a new 30-year mortgage. Homeowners also have the option of financing only the building repair special assessment through a 20-year second mortgage.
Given all the financial pressures that Florida condominium associations have been facing with rising insurance costs and the coming increases in inspections/repairs/reserves, these federal initiatives could become a financial lifeline for communities. Interest rates are predicted to remain high for quite some time, and some condominium associations are going to require access to low-interest financing for major and immediate repairs. . .
Gary concludes his article by noting that a significant proportion of the firm’s community association attorneys are active members of the local Southeast Florida Chapter of CAI, and we echo the organization’s support for these state and federal legislative initiatives and priorities. He writes that we will continue to do our part, and we encourage everyone who supports the two new federal condo-safety financing proposals to do theirs by asking their U.S. representative to back these bills.
Our firm salutes Gary for sharing his insights into these state and federal legislative priorities from CAI with the readers of the Miami Herald. Click here to read the complete article in the newspaper’s website.