Attack on HOAs Fails.
After lengthy debate in open session, the House voted down the Grant amendment to HB841. Several of the members that we solicited (below on 2/28) spoke against the amendment and explained that this very confusing amendment was really a back door attempt by the vacation rental industry to restrict HOAs from regulating vacation rentals as the members see fit. Fortunately this was defeated, but illustrates the intent of the industry to find openings wherever possible to restrict local authorities from treating these dwellings like the businesses that they are.
Good News/Bad News.
Neither the House nor Senate have scheduled committee hearings this week on the vacation rental bills, HB 773 and SB 1400. This is good news. The bills apparently have lost their steam. We think this is largely because of the opposition of local governments, homeowner associations, neighborhood activists and concerned homeowners. Those of you following this web site have sent hundreds of emails to legislators.
With their chances diminishing, the vacation rental industry is working on another bill to benefit them. HB 841 is a House bill that is revising various sections of Florida Statutes applicable to community associations. The industry has solicited Rep. James Grant to file amendments to HB 841 that would restrict the ability of associations to change their governing documents to control vacation rentals.
Rep. Grants’ bill amendments would exempt existing parcel owners from any newly enacted limitations on rentals unless they expressly agreed to them. This occurs regardless of the majority vote of the association members.
This tactic resembles the “hodge podge” created by industry lobbyists in 2011 and 2014 for local governments, some of which can pass certain regulations, others not and some unable to amend regulations adopted prior to 2011.
Rep. Grant has filed his amendments for the debate when the full House will vote on HB 841. Click on You Can Help to learn more and contact selected Legislators to stop this intrusion into the rights of HOAs.
House Bill 773 continues to be supported by the Speaker - Please Go to the Bottom of this Page to Send an Email.
Even if you have already emailed the Speaker, please send another. The text of the email has been changed to reflect the events of Thursday. He needs to understand the consequences to his quest for governor of this position that is ignorant of local needs.
House Bill 773 Passed the House Government Accountability Committee after some Strong Arm Tactics by the majority shuts down all discussion and public testimony.
HB 773 proceedings may be seen in the following video:
Starting at hour 3:00 you may view a motion by Rep Williamson that ends all debate, the amendment process and shuts out all possibility for public testimony on the bill. At 3:07 Rep Abruzzo (opposing the bill) voices a strong opinion on the unorthodox tactics being used by the bill's proponents to railroad it through the committee. This move illustrates the power of the Speaker of the House and points up the need we urged below to educate the Speaker about what the effects this position will have on his run for governor in the Fall. The Speaker has the power to have the Speaker Protempore sit on any committee and vote. Rep. Nunez fulfilled that role in these proceedings and voted the Speaker's wishes. The only good news in the session was an amendment that requires registration of sex offenders and makes the business of renting a vacation rental in a residential area more complicated.
House Bill 773 takes an Unfavorable Turn
House bill, HB 773, was on the House committee agenda of February 15th for action. People from around the state traveled to Tallahassee to challenge the bill and point out its pitfalls. However, the bill sponsor, Rep. La Rosa, pulled it back toward the end of the hearing without discussion by the committee members, without public testimony, and without a vote. He asked that the bill be temporarily postponed, thus frustrating those wanting to speak on the adverse impact of the bill to neighborhoods. He apparently did not have the votes to pass it. One obvious reason is that the bill is a bad idea for protecting Florida neighborhoods, but another reason is that the bill apparently did not have the backing of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Richard Corcoran.
With the session in its 7th week and only two more weeks left to pass the bill into law, the pressure is on Rep. La Rosa to give the bill a boost. Rep. La Rosa has now apparently convinced the Speaker to make the bill a priority of the Speaker’s Office which raises the likelihood that it will pass.
Now the Speaker will deploy the House Whips, his lieutenants, that push his priority bills. They will work on the members leaning “no” on the bill to switch them to “yes” votes. Individual Representatives say "no" to The Speaker at their peril. The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn on March 9th.
We think that Speaker Corcoran is likely not aware of the degree of opposition from neighborhood residents that have experienced unchecked vacation rentals or from residents about to lose their local government protections if the bill were to become law. By virtue of his position he is on no House committee and probably has not received the emails and calls made last year and this year on the vacation rental issue. We need to change that!
If the bill passes, investors are likely to again begin buying up single-family homes and other dwellings, just as they did in 2011, to develop mini-hotels with high occupancy rentals. Neighborhood residents around the state will react strongly when they learn their locally elected leaders can do nothing to check the nuisances of “party houses” or the constant changeover of occupants in the houses next door to them. As a candidate for Governor, The Speaker needs to be made aware of this problem.
The existing bill "grandfathers" communities with regulation in place prior to 2011. However, if this HB773 passes as written, it can be easily amended next year to drop the 2011 grandfather clause. Thus grandfathered communities would be subject to a vacation rental invasion, be isolated and unable to mount the statewide campaign that is going on now.
But there is a chance to stop this. Being that Speaker Corcoran will be on the ballot this summer in his race to be Florida’s next Governor, he needs to know now that his efforts to enact this bill into law will hurt Floridians and put the character of our neighborhoods at risk. He should not want to put his race in jeopardy by losing potential resident votes aware of this controversy.
If Speaker Corcoran wants to be the leader of our state, he needs to know that our residents truly count on his protecting their right to the peaceful enjoyment of their homes.
Please help educate Speaker Corcoran about your objection to HB773 and the damage it would do to your community and send an email using one of the links below. Be sure to sign your name and include your home town. If you have the time, we think that a personal call is even more effective. Also, include personal experiences with vacation rentals help or what issues are important to you for the Governor's race. In any case, let your voice be heard.
Speaker Richard Corcoran - Capitol (850) 717-5000 District (813) 792-5177
Note: depending on what type of computer you're using determines which button to click below.