Florida Rep. Robaina declares: “I am not giving up!” on HOA reforms

 Rep. Julio Robaina held several hearings throughout Florida in early 2008 for condo reforms and his bill, HB995, was passed into law. (See video clips at the HOAGOV Channel, and click on “FL Select” videos).  This year, his community association reform bill, HB1397, met defeat.  It was a comprehensive reform bill.  The dangers of a comprehensive bill is that homeowners tend to perceive any negative provision as outweighing all other positive reforms.

 As I wrote earlier (see The Florida HOA Battleground (HB 1397): police powers and the loss of fundamental rights),

 Homeowners must understand that HB 1397 will be the result, for all practical matters, of a compromise between opposing parties, and the decision to support the bill must so accept this reality of governance. It will be a question of “pluses and minuses.” Trade-offs will be made, but each must be weighed against the balancing scale of justice for the people, first and foremost. Rep. Robaina’s bill is a must! Once passed into law, “blemishes” can be adjusted and will subject to the democratic process of give and take between the homeowners themselves, and between homeowners and the special interests.

Granted there is strong opposition in Florida, as in most other states, but that means that advocates for reform must be practical as mentioned above:  take a small step that promises to  lead to larger gains.  There are no guarantees in life.  However, by doing nothing and opposing any bill without exercising sound judgment in advancing your goals will always result in failure.  The opposition is too strong! 

For example, one provision that has resulted in voiced opposition in many states, and included in HB1397, has been the requirement to “ante up” and pay a fee for what homeowners feel is to obtain their rightful justice. While fees are required in our judicial system, they are on a transaction basis and not a blanket “per door tax” applied to all homeowners.  However, homeowners in HOAs should regard such a fee as “insurance” against abuse, and not a self-centered, “not with my money” attitude.  A sunset provision could have been added to satisfy homeowners from fears of more “do-nothing” agencies.

In my opinion, the provisions could have been negotiated by advocates in order to keep the bill from failing.  In Arizona, for example, advocates are well familiar with such amendments to keep a good bill alive.

For these reasons, and others, I urged support of HB1397.  I urge voiced support by Floridians for their HOA/condo reform champion, Rep. Julio Robaina, because a white knight legislator  is a must in order to obtain substantive reforms.  Don’t let him down!  Let him hear your voice. A survey is great, but is devoid of rationale and justifications as to why the reforms are needed. 

Keep Rep. Robaina informed with facts and legal arguments (like the Constitution or existing state laws).    Help your champion fight for you!

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Published in: on May 15, 2009 at 8:18 am  Leave a Comment  

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