Scott urged to veto bill requiring homeowners to make neighborhood repairs | StAugustine.com
In recent days, Gov. Rick Scott has received a digital flood of more than 1,000 emails opposing HB 1013, which would codify that homeowners are not entitled to an “implied warranty” for amenities outside their homes — damaged roads, driveways, drainage systems and the like. Many of the emails came from homeowners associations, which have amassed an organized campaign to keep the controversial law off the books. Scott received the bill last week and has one more week to decide whether to sign it.
This bill would stick CID owners with the bill for repairing and replacing faulty infrastructure bequeathed to them by the developer. Of course, the reason cities approve and often require HOA housing is to have the developer build the infrastructure. The developer passes that cost on to the owners in the form of a higher purchase price, and the cost of maintaining it falls on the owners as well through their assessments. But what if the developer does a lousy job of building the roads or sewer system? A Florida appeals court in Lakeview Reserve HOA v. Maronda ruled that:
"The sole issue for our review is whether a homeowners association has a claim for breach of the common law implied warranties of fitness and merchantability, also referred to as a 904warranty of habitability, against a builder/developer for defects in the roadways, drainage systems, retention ponds and underground pipes in a residential subdivision. We hold that it does and, accordingly, reverse."
Now that case is on appeal to the Florida Supreme Court. In the meantime, a helpful Republican legislator, Frank Artiles is flacking for the developers by pushing a bill that would reverse the appellate court via legislation and pre-empt the Supreme Court from affirming.
If this bill passes, or if the Supreme Court reverses the appellate court, it will mean that owners are on the hook for all the risks associated with their private infrastructure--not just maintenance and the eventual cost of repair and replacement, but also the risk that it wasn't built correctly to begin with.