Florida's "Home Tax" Bill Means Higher Homeowner Fees

January 26, 2016

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This post was first published on LinkedIn Pulse and reprinted with permission.
 
Associa, the industry’s leading community management company, testified in opposition to Florida Senate Bill (SB) 722 in a hearing of the Senate Regulated Industries Committee in Tallahassee.   The bill, if it becomes law, would add unnecessary government regulation and could lead to higher fees for homeowners living in planned communities, which currently includes more than nine million Floridians.
 

In a standard residential real estate sale, homeowners’ associations (HOAs) are paid for providing financial information and documentation to prospective buyers, much like other service providers involved the transaction (e.g. surveyors, appraisers, inspectors, etc.).  As proposed in SB 722, associations would have to wait to collect their service fee until after the sale closes, leading to potential non-payment or costs due to chasing payment. In addition, although not in the current version of the bill, proponents have expressed a desire to also include an arbitrary fee cap for production of this information.

“The information provided by HOAs is critical for a prospective buyer to fully understand any potential money owed to the association and there is no reason to short change the HOA or delay the service costs collected to research and produce that information,” explained Associa’s Vice President of Government Affairs John Krueger. “Furthermore, by eliminating the certainty of payment and arbitrarily capping that payment, the legislature is going to shift the costs for this information from the seller and buyer to the rest of the homeowners in the community when the HOA will be forced to raise dues to cover its operating budget.”

HOA managers and management companies are heavily regulated in Florida. “Our company pays tens of thousands of dollars each year in regulatory fees for obtaining and renewing state manager licenses and financing a state regulatory agency.  Yet, the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation has received no complaints on this issue,” Krueger concluded.  “In the end, this bill is simply a ‘solution’ in search of a problem.” Despite numerous witnesses testifying in opposition, the bill limped out of the Senate Regulated Industries Committee passing by a vote of 6 to 4. The bill will next be proposed for consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee. To find out more about the potential implications of this bill go to www.smashthehometax.com.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

AndrewFortin.jpgAndrew S. Fortin is the Senior Vice President of External Affairs for Associa. He works to engage government officials, the media and clients in building stronger community associations and help shape laws that support vibrant community associations.

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