Saturday, February 18, 2012


"To be very honest I have barely ever seen more malarkey than the excuses Representative George Moraitis offered to defend his House Bill 319 in the Sun Sentinel last Tuesday, especially after adding amendments to this bill which clearly made it an anti-owner bill."
That is Jan Bergemann's take on the huge bill that is making its way through the Florida legislature. Read Jan's analysis to see why he believes that a bill that had potential is now a turkey. He is reacting to an op-ed that Moraitis wrote in which he defends a bank goodie contained in the bill (see below) and claims that he is "clarifying" existing law. I love it when legislators dump a ton of complicated verbiage on the public and claim they are clarifying things for us. The current full text of the bill, 75 pages in length, is here.

I have also linked to the latest legislative analysis of the bill.

The bill covers many different issue, several of which are discussed in Jan's post. There is a nice little goodie for the banks: letting them off the hook for paying attorney fees, interest, costs, and late fees on foreclosed units. That's the provision Moraitis is defending in his op-ed. There is also an extension of the Distressed Condominium Relief Act to 2015. It would have expired this year. That Act is intended to make it easier and less risky for bulk buyers of condo units in failed/failing projects to do so. The Act allows them to assume some developer rights without assuming all the developer responsibilities.

To me, the moral of the story is that the condominium as a form of ownership is so fragile that it can't survive without all this endless "clarification" that is really complication, and constant gimmes and goodies for banks, vulture capitalists, developers, lawyers, managers, and so forth to induce them to somehow keep this institution held more or less together with duct tape and baling wire. When you look through all the verbiage, all these schemes come back to one strategy: more responsibilities and less power and freedom for the unit owners. If you don't believe, me, check out Moraitis' next project, which is to make it easier for associations to foreclose on owners when the banks won't:

The root cause of many associations' current financial problems is the number of unit owners not paying their fair share of assessments. I am co-sponsoring legislation that will give courts greater flexibility to move foreclosures forward when the lenders fail to pursue cases to the financial detriment of our associations. Through this, units will be able to be resold to new paying owners more quickly, improving the financial condition of our homeowners associations."

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