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Bill in Florida is on Gov. Desantis’ Desk That Would Give Homes With Hoas Some Rights Back


TAMPA, Fla. – Some good things and some bad things come with living in a neighborhood with a homeowner’s association. A new bill on Governor Ron DeSantis’ desk wants to give back some of the rights that people give up when they move into those neighborhoods.

People can pay hundreds of dollars to their HOA. House Bill 1203 wants to make things more open and accountable by proposing changes. On Tuesday, the bill got to DeSantis.

An evaluator for homes in Hillsborough County named Brian Bokor said, “I think this is a way to get all the HOAs on the same page.”

Bokor said he knows how HOAs change neighborhoods.

“You can tell some communities, HOAs are very strict on their guidelines,” he noted. “The rules aren’t as strict in some communities.” Also, I believe the ones with less strict rules are the ones that stand out the most, since many people want the rules that come with a HOA even if they don’t want it.

House Bill 1203 covers a lot of ground, such as what community managers need to learn, how to keep records, and what HOAs can fine or remove people for.

“There’s a lot of requirements right now as far as vehicles, specifically work vehicles,” Bokor told me. “First responders are having problems parking their vehicles in HOA properties.”

But the bill would let people park work vehicles that aren’t business motor vehicles on their own land, and people could park their assigned first responder vehicles on public roads or rights of way. The plan also says that you can’t get fined or suspended for leaving trash cans out for less than 24 hours before or after pickup. People would get some rights back and there would be more openness.

“If a board member, or whoever is maintaining the official records doesn’t keep the records, so there’s no trail of what happened, that is now a crime,” said Dale Appell, a Tampa lawyer.

Apell said that the plan might not be right for everyone, though.

It sounds like, in the past, board members of homeowners associations could sign something stating that they had read certain materials in order to learn about their duties and the rules of being on the board. “They are going to have to take a course now,” Appell said.

Under the plan, that training for HOA board members would have to happen every year. Appell said that might make some people not want to get involved.

If rules are broken, harsher punishments might not work as planned.

“In the past, you could fine people in those situations and put a lien on their house if they didn’t pay the fine.” There is no longer that kind of punishment. “People can still be fined for those kinds of things, but you can’t lose your house because your grass is too tall,” Appell said as an example of how the bill might affect people. Someone in the house might say, “Well, that’s good.” Other people who live in the neighborhood may say, “That’s too bad. Now the person whose job it is to cut the grass doesn’t have any reason to do it.”

There were six rules in 2023 that changed what homeowner’s associations could and could not do. House Bill 1203 needs to be signed by June 5, 2018. The bill goes into effect on July 1 if he signs it.

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