Don’t Get Tesla’d. Vote NO SB 736!

by Alan B. Garfinkel, Esq.


Tesla won’t be selling cars in West Virginia. West Virginia’s governor signed a bill Friday that bars Tesla’s direct-sales in that state. Tesla claims the President of West Virginia’s State Senate who “originated and championed” the legislation – owns several auto dealerships. 

Regardless of how one feels about Tesla or West Virginia’s new law, laws are made by politicians who have a stake in the game; and here in Florida, homeowners have come under attack by our own representatives cowering to special interests. 

Our own State Senators and Representatives will likely do the what the special interests want them to do while ignoring the millions of Floridians owning homes, condominiums, townhouses, mobile homes, and time shares in community associations. Since not-for-profit community associations typically do not have spare dollars budgeted for lobbyists and campaign contributions, community associations get rolled over…unless we let our politicians know that if they hurt those of us living in, owning, or serving community associations we will most certainly vote them out and seek new representation that cares about and recognizes the enormous economic benefit that financially stable neighborhoods provide Florida.

Unless we all get into the fight now, the special interests will win and you will soon be paying higher assessments. Last Friday afternoon, after we heard promises that SB 736 would NOT be set on the agenda, it sure was.  Now scheduled for the Senate Judiciary Committee TOMORROW Tuesday, April 7th at 4:00 pm. You can view the hearing live on our CAN website or by clicking on the Live Capitol Feed to the left on this Alert.

There are two main bills introduced this year and seemingly speeding down the tracks of becoming new bad law in Florida that will literally cut off the rights of community associations. When rights of our community associations are eliminated, the result is simple. Increased costs to those of us owning property in Florida’s 60,000 community associations.

HB 501 - The Construction Defect Limitation of Actions Bill, shortens the stature of repose (limitations) previously from 15 years to now 10 years to the proposed 7 years and will encourage developers to maintain a simple majority on their boards for 7 years and 1 day. Then, Developers are free to turn over their developments, watch balconies fall off of poorly constructed condominiums or town homes without their insurance companies having any further liability. Completely protected by this legislature. Sounds good right? The normal statute of limitations  to assert a construction defect in Florida is four (4) years. The statute of repose protects innocent buyers from defects that take time to appear and discover. That is why the laws in the books protected innocent buyers for 15 years from the date it was built. This bill is simply an insurance company relief act. Please encourage a NO vote.

What about SB 736

Mandating communities and their nonprofit volunteer boards to prepare legally binding closing documents that would eliminate any rights of a neighborhood that fails to perfectly prepare an Estoppel Certificate-a complicated legally binding document-within a whopping 10 days from delivery by someone to someone (not delineated by statute), the community will lose out and be permanently forbidden to ever claim that the previous property owner owed the community anything. So, who steps up and pays any back owed dues or assessments that the rest of the community must then pay? You!

Our voices only matter if we use them to tell our politicians their constituents are anything but complacent. There are fewer than 30 days remaining in this Legislative Session. Won’t you please help? Click here to email the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to vote NO. You can also use the individual links below.


Senate Judiciary Committee Members


Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla (Committee Chair) 

Phone: 850-487-5040



Senator Jeremy Ring (Vice Chair)

Phone: 850-487-5029



Senate Aaron Bean

Phone: 850- 487-5004



Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto

Phone: 850-487-5030



Senator Jeff Brandes

Phone: 850-487-5022



Senator Arthenia Joyner

Phone: 850-487-5019



Senator David Simmons

Phone: 850-487-5010



Senator Wilton Simpson

Phone: 850-487-5018



Senator Darren Soto

Phone: 850-487-5014



Senator Kelli Stargel (Sponsor of SB 736)

Phone: 850-487-5015



A Look at What is Happening in Week 6

Tuesday, April 7, 2015:
House Government Operations Appropriations Subcommittee at 10:30 am
HB 915 - Building Code sponsored by Representative Dane Eagle (R-Cape Coral); the bill contains numerous changes to law including a provision that requires the Department of Health to inspect public pools.

Senate Banking and Insurance Committee at 1:30 pm
SB 418  - Construction Defect Claims  sponsored by Senator Garrett Richter (R-Naples);  provides that a claim for an alleged construction defect must be based, at a minimum, upon a visual inspection by the claimant or its agents, and must identify the location of the defect.
Senate Community Affairs Committee at 1:30 pm

SB 414 -  Service Animals sponsored by Senator Thad Altman (R-Cape Canaveral); provides conditions for a public accommodation to exclude or remove a service animal. In addition, the bill would also provide a penalty for knowing and willful misrepresentation with respect to the use or training of a service animal.
SB 1232 - Building Code sponsored by Senator Wilton Simpson (R-New Port Richey); revises provisions regarding the Department of Health conducting inspections of public pools with operating permits to ensure compliance. 
Senate Judiciary Committee at 4:00 pm
SB 736 Residential Properties sponsored by Senator Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland); please click here
for a breakdown of the bill. 
SB 796 - Financial Reporting sponsored by Senator Greg Evers (R-Pensacola); Deletes certain provisions on the preparation of annual reports of cash receipts and expenditures for community associations. 

We again thank you for your active interest and participation. Your efforts protect your property values and our neighborhoods.