State Politics

Legislators to consider new real estate bills

The 2011 Florida legislative session kicks off today and several housing and real estate-related measures will be considered by lawmakers.

Homeowners insurance, foreclosure fraud and condo association fees will take center stage.

Bills being considered:

Senate Bill 712: Condominiums

Sponsor: Sen. Gwen Margolis (D-Sunny Isles)

Bill would provide an additional tool for condo associations dealing with owners delinquent on their monthly assessments. Under this bill, associations would have power to restrict cable television service and Internet access from owners of delinquent condos.

Senate Bill 1516: Community Associations

Sponsors: Jeremy Ring (D-Margate), Rep. George R. Moriatis (R-Fort Lauderdale)

Bill would provide condo associations a number of additional powers, including the ability to collect full rent directly from tenants in delinquent units until those units are brought current. Additionally, the bill provides protections for condo associations that file foreclosure suits against delinquent unit owners, ensuring that they are not held liable for that owner’s past due assessments when they take title.

Senate Bill 0390: Homestead Property Assessed Value

Sponsor: Anitere Flores, (R-Miami)

Bill would seek to change a portion of the Florida Constitution’s Save Our Homes Law, by eliminating the Recapture Rule. If approved by voters, the amendment would prohibit a home’s property value assessment from increasing during years when the home’s market value decreases. In 2010, tens of thousands of Miami-Dade homes were affected by the recapture rule. The amendment to the constitution would have to be approved by voters, and would take affect Jan. 1, 2013.

House Joint Resolution H381: Property Assessments

Sponsors: Rep. Chris Dorworth (R-Lake Mary), others

This bill seeks to amend the Florida Constitution, and potentially lower property taxes for new homeowners and second homeowners. The bill reduces the annual cap on increases in property assessments for non-homesteaded properties, from 10 percent down to 3 percent. The bill would also provide an additional homestead exemption for first-time homebuyers, worth 50 percent of the property value.

Senate Bill 1288: Nonjudicial Foreclosure/Commercial Real Property

Sponsor: Alan Hays (R-Umatilla)

This bill would provide banks and mortgage lenders the option of conducting foreclosure on commercial properties outside of the courtroom.

Florida, one of 23 judicial foreclosure states, currently requires lenders to go to court in order to repossess properties that are delinquent on payments. This bill would allow lenders to reclaim a property through a trustee foreclosure, which generally is swifter than a judicial foreclosure.