Wednesday, March 09, 2011


With Florida having hundreds of thousands of foreclosures, millions of underwater mortgages and four years of depreciating values, lawmakers meeting next week in Tallahassee are considering new real estate laws.  They generally affect help for condo associations, property tax reform or changes to the foreclosure process.
The Distressed Condo Relief Act passed last year gave condo associations the authority to collect rent directly from tenants of delinquent owners until delinquencies are paid up, and to bar non-paying condo owners from using common amenities like pools and clubhouses.  The bill also provides protections for condo associations that file foreclosure against delinquent unit owners, ensuring that they are not held liable for that owner’s past due assessments when they take title.
A bill being considered this year would give condo associations the power to restrict cable television service and internet access from owners of delinquent condos.  It was pointed out that the reason many homeowners are in default is lack of jobs; this could mean less access to job opportunities.
 Another Bill will change a portion of the Save Our Homes Law by eliminating the Recapture Rule.  If voters approve, a home’s property value assessment would not be increased during years when the home’s market value decreases.  More than 300,000 homes were affected by rising property taxes while property values fell 13% in 2010. However with governments struggling with budget cuts, less property revenue means MORE cuts.  
 A bill is being considered to potentially lower property taxes for new and 2nd homeowners, and the annual cap on increases for non-homesteaded properties would be reduced from 10% down to 3%.  An additional homestead exemption would be given to first-time homebuyers, worth 50% of the property value.
A bill is up for consideration to provide banks and mortgage lenders the option of conducting foreclosure on commercial properties outside the courtroom rather than going to court to repossess delinquent properties, allowing lenders to reclaim a property through a trustee foreclosure which is usually faster than a judicial foreclosure.  According to the Miami Herald, about 100,000 foreclosed residential homes are stymied within the processes right now.

There will be an attempt to direct funds for affordable housing away from new housing to instead renovate vacant abandoned properties and tenants will be given 90 days notice to move out of repossessed foreclosed homes.

Nevertheless it is apparent that current problems will not be solved quickly, and that there are pros and cons with every change.

No comments: