2016 Session Update: Week 5

Posted By: Courtney Barnard Advocacy News ,

FAA Legislative Update: Week Five

Last week marked the end of the fifth week of session. Many bills that could potentially affect the apartment industry are on the move! Here is an update of what happened in Tallahassee last week.

Expanding the Allowable Repairs by Maintenance Professionals: SB 704, sponsored by Sen. Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) was heard in its second committee stop. The bill must be heard in its final House and Senate committees before moving to the floor for a final vote. Each piece of legislation filed in Florida is heard in three committees in both the House and Senate. After passing all three committee votes, the legislation is read and voted on by the full chamber (House and Senate).

How this affects you: SB 704/HB 535 allow Certified Apartment Maintenance Technicians (CAMT) to perform HVAC, water heater, and AC repairs below a specific cost (less than $1,000 in the Senate bill, less than $500 in the House bill). Currently, maintenance workers are not legally allowed to perform any work in AC or HVAC units, so this exemption would reduce costs for apartment communities by enabling them to use on-site employees rather than outsourcing to contractors.

Service Member Rental Applications: HB 1073 sponsored by Rep. Charles Van Zant (R-Palatka) passed its second House committee. The legislation requires an apartment owner to process an application for active duty military personnel within a seven-day window. The senate companion SB 1656, sponsored by Sen. Greg Evers (R-Milton) had not been heard in any committees.

How this affects you: SB 1656/HB 1073 would mandate that all rental housing providers process rental applications for active duty military members within seven days. This bill only applies to active duty military members, and would not apply to veterans.

Renters Insurance: SB 342 sponsored by Sen. Audrey Gibson (D-Jacksonville) will be heard in the Senate Rules Committee on Wednesday, February 24 at 10 a.m. This bill allows an apartment community to specify in a lease that a tenant is required to carry renters insurance. The House companion, HB 327 sponsored by Rep. Bobby Dubose (D- Fort Lauderdale), is waiting to be heard in its second committee.

FAA will continue to monitor and advocate for our industry throughout the legislative session; if you have any questions or concerns, please email me at Courtney@faahq.org.  Stay tuned for updates next week.