2016 Session Update: Week 6

Posted By: Courtney Barnard Advocacy News ,

FAA Legislative Update: Week Six

Last week marked the end of the sixth week of session. There are only two weeks left before the end of session on March 11.  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: HB 535, sponsored by Rep. Dane Eagle (R-Cape Coral) was heard and passed in its third (and final) committee stop. The bill will be moving to the floor for a final vote. SB 704 sponsored by Sen. Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) was heard and passed in its third committee on Monday, February 29. 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 each full chamber (House and Senate).

How this affects you: SB 704/HB 535 allow Certified Apartment Maintenance Technicians (CAMTs) to perform HVAC, water heater, and AC repairs below $1,000. 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.

Affordable Housing Funds: Affordable Housing funding has increased dramatically! This is a big win for the apartment industry. Over the weekend, the House accepted the Senate offer for funding of $214.1 million for affordable Housing. The breakdown is as follows:

  • SHIP (home buyer programs) $135.5 million
  • SAIL (apartment funding) and other FHFC (monies to combat homelessness) programs: $74.6 million.

Renters Insurance: SB 342 sponsored by Sen. Audrey Gibson (D-Jacksonville) passed its final committee stop on Wednesday, February 24. 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. The Senate version of the bill may be adopted by the House in the final days of session. It is unlikely the House version of the bill will be scheduled in a committee.

How this affects you: SB 342/HB 327 allows a landlord to specify in a lease if renters insurance is required by the community. The landlord may also state in the lease the amount and types of coverage required.

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.