2018 Florida Legislation That Affect Property Management

The current Florida legislative session is considering the following bills that affect the landlord-tenant and property management business. Below are some highlights of which you should be aware.

SB 850 seeks to completely overhaul FS 83.60, which in essence would allow a tenant the right to a trial even if he does not post rent into the court registry, as long as the trial is within 30 days of service of the complaint. HB 1007 does the same thing and also seeks to completely remove FS 85.56(5) from the statute, which prevents the judge from setting the eviction case for trial unless the tenant posts rent into the court registry.

HB 631 (see also SB 804) seeks to amend FS ch. 66 regarding an action for ejectment. It requires that a landlord be added to the action if a party in possession, i.e. tenant, has filed an ejectment action against, e.g., an occupant. It also seeks to amend portions of FS ch. 82 (unlawful detainer) to clarify procedures and increase penalties against unlawful detainees. It also allows for easier summary process against an unlawful detainee.

HB 467 (see also SB 678) adds FS 83.491 requiring a lease provision regarding renter’s insurance, which states in full:

83.491 Renters insurance.—A rental agreement entered into on or after January 1, 2019, must specify whether a tenant is required to obtain renters insurance and must provide a line in the agreement for the tenant’s initials immediately following that provision.

(1) If renters insurance is required, the rental agreement must specify the coverage required.

(2) If renters insurance is not required, the rental agreement must provide a statement in substantially the following form: “The tenant is not required to obtain renters insurance; however, the tenant is strongly advised to obtain renters insurance to cover damage to or loss of personal property.”

(3) A failure to provide the notice in subsection (2) does not create a private cause of action and does not nullify any part of the rental agreement under this part.

This act shall take effect July 1, 2018.

SB 612 (see also HB 749) adds FS 83.684 to FS ch. 83, pt. 2. This Section would require the landlord to disclose to the tenant certain past misconduct about the landlord’s employees who have access to a rental unit. This Section would give tenants the right to terminate the lease or renewal if the landlord fails to disclose the information or if the landlord’s employee has a record of misconduct as defined by this Section.

HB 905 amends FS 83.50 to require a landlord to disclose certain sinkhole activity on the property to the tenant.

HB 123 prohibits “bullying” in COA and HOAs.

SB 580 proposes an amendment to the State Constitution to delete a provision authorizing laws that regulate or prohibit the ownership, inheritance, disposition, and possession of real property by aliens ineligible for citizenship.

HB 377 (see also SB 566) seeks to amend the Home Owner’s Association (HOA) statute. A few important notes. This bill:

1) gives HOA more “teeth” against the CAM

2) allows for binding arbitration with the Department in disputes

3) requires sellers of property subject to restrictive covenants (etc.) to disclose certain items to the prospective buyer, giving the buyer 3 days to cancel the contract after receipt

4) gives the home owners a more definite way to take control of the HOA from the developer

5) giving/clarifying cause of action against a developer for certain actions/omissions regarding the development