2016 FAA Legislative Priorities

| Posted By: Courtney Barnard| Advocacy News |

FAA Sets Legislative Priorities, Plans Statehouse Visits:
Members of the Florida Apartment Association established four 2016 priorities at their annual legislative platform meeting in October. The annual platform meeting is an opportunity for apartment owners, managers, and other industry professionals to meet and discuss the legislative and regulatory issues that affect their business, and decide on what priorities to pursue in the coming legislative session.   

The priorities are to:

  • Support expansion of repairs certified maintenance professionals are permitted to perform.
  • Support clarification of renters insurance requirements.
  • Support full funding of the Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
  • Oppose landlord-tenant law changes that would create criminal penalties for apartment landlords. 

FAA supports Senate Bill 704 and House Bill 535, which expand the allowable repairs maintenance professionals can perform. Apartment communities rely on maintenance professionals to perform a variety of repairs each day, and currently maintenance workers in Florida are restricted from performing many basic repairs to heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and water heating systems. SB 704/HB 535 allow maintenance workers holding a Certificate for Apartment Maintenance Technicians (CAMT) to perform these types of repairs, which are often urgently needed on-site. Hiring a licensed contractor can increase the cost of repairs and result in delays. This bill will allow trained professionals to perform on-site work quickly and safely, while saving apartment owners costly contractor costs.

FAA is working with multiple stakeholders to protect apartment owners and residents by clarifying renters insurance requirements by supporting Senate Bill 342 and House Bill 237.This legislation will allow apartment owners to include lease addendums that would advise residents of the importance of insurance and require them to carry insurance. The clause clarifies that residents and their belongings are not covered by the apartment owner’s insurance policy. By clarifying the law, this legislation will help protect both residents and owners from future legal entanglements.

FAA is committed to full funding of the Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund. FAA is a member of the Sadowski Coalition, a housing advocacy group of 30 business and nonprofit partners in Florida that lobby for affordable housing funding in the state budget annually. In 2015, FAA helped to secure $175 million in funding. Affordable housing funds come from ‘’doc stamp’’ revenue (taxes on real estate transactions) and are distributed by the state in the form of loans. These loans are used to build new housing to serve Florida’s most vulnerable populations — including veterans, senior citizens, people with disabilities, and homeless people — as well as to refurbish aging affordable housing units. According to the Sadowski Coalition, the loans create 32,600 jobs and $4.6 billion in positive economic impact annually. These loans also help to alleviate the need for increased inclusionary zoning measures.

FAA is opposed to Senate Bill 474 and House Bill 053 which would establish criminal penalties for apartment owners and employees who do not meet the maintenance requirements specified in CH 83.51-83.59. SB 474/HB 053 would greatly alter Florida landlord-tenant law by creating criminal penalties, as opposed to civil penalties, for any person who has violated the premises maintenance section of CH 83. If enacted, this legislation would allow a landlord or apartment employee to be charged with a misdemeanor for the first offence and subsequently a felony if standards of annual repairs and pest control are not met.
 
According to the state Department of Corrections and statute 775.083, a third-degree felony is punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine. A first degree misdemeanor is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000.  FAA is committed to keeping criminal penalties for landlords and apartment employees out of landlord-tenant law.
FAA is committed to member-driven advocacy and will continue to monitor any issues affecting the apartment industry in Florida. To learn more about FAA’s priorities and to assist in our grassroots lobbying efforts, please join FAA this January to promote our legislative priorities in Tallahassee. You will have the opportunity to learn more about all of the issues affecting our industry, meet with state lawmakers, and network with your peers. Register online today at faahq.org/legislative-conference.

If you have any questions regarding FAA legislative priorities, please contact Courtney Barnard, FAA government affairs director, at courtney@faahq.org.