S.B. 1006 (Fla. Stat. §15.0522)Official State Dessert is Strawberry Shortcake.  With more than 10,000 acres of strawberries planted annually. Don’t worry, Key Lime Pie is still the Official State Pie Fla. Stat. §15.052.

H.B. 1557 (Fla. Stat. §1001.42). Dubbed the Don’t Say Gay Bill.  “Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”

H.B. 375 (Fla. Stat.§471.055). Structural Engineering specialist designation.  Engineers satisfying rigorous requirements established by the Board of Engineering may market themselves as specialists in structural engineering.  Useful for condos looking for someone to render a report.

H.B. 1411. (Fla. Stat. §163.32051)Floating Solar Facilities (new land use).  Harnessing energy in bodies of water cool the solar panels, boost power production, and decrease evaporation and algal blooms, so a new land use category is created for counties to allow “Floating solar facilities” to be constructed in certain areas.

H.B. 7053 (Fla. Stat §14.203). Creation of Statewide Office of Resilience relating to flooding and vulnerabilities.  This new office will promote, coordinate, strategize and create action plans for Florida’s flood vulnerability, resilience, and mitigation.

S.B. No. 222 Fla. Stat. §489.117). Licensed Pool/Spa/Servicing Contractors. may hire unlicensed personnel to perform the contractor’s work without the need for: making that unlicensed personnel the contractor’s employee; and without the need for the two parties entering a contract; notwithstanding, the licensed contractor must supervise and be responsible for the work.

S.B.  634 (Fla. Stat. §90.2035). Judicial Notice internet/satellite mapping images.  Allows courts to take judicial notice (i.e. accept evidence) of image, map, location, distance, calculation, or other information taken from a widely accepted web mapping service, global satellite imaging site, or Internet mapping tool, they indicate the date on which the information was created.

S.B. 1062 (Florida Chapter 48, §48.102, 48.184)Substantial changes to laws on Serving Process; Adds statute authorizing service by Email upon court request; Adds statute on how to remove occupants of properties but whom are unknown (i.e. squatters).

H.B. 7027 (Fla. Stat. §§35.01, 35.044, 35.05, 35.06)  Creation of a 6th Appellate Court, which will hear appeals from the 9th (i.e. Orange and Osceola counties), 10th (i.e. Hardee, Highlands, and Polk counties), and 20th (i.e. Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry, and Lee counties) Judicial Circuit Courts.  The court will be located in Lakeland in Polk County and have 9 judges.  Effective January 1, 2023.

H.B. 7049 (Fla. Stat. §§50.011, 50.0311). Publication of legal notices by website in lieu of service of process or constructive service.   May now be done on “publicly accessible websites” meaning the city’s, county’s or local government’s  official website (or other private website designated by them).  A link to the public notices must be conspicuously placed on their homepage.

H.B. 1571 (Fla. Stat §810.15). Residential Picketing.  Makes it “unlawful for a person to picket or protest before or about the dwelling of any person with the intent to harass or disturb that person in his or her dwelling.”  Arrestable as 2nd degree misdemeanor if picketer or protester refuses law enforcement’s request to disperse. Note: The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a challenged ordinance restricting residential picketing in Frisby v. Schultz, 487 U.S. 474 (1988).

S.B. 352 (Fla. Stat. §713.135)Notice of Commencement for A/C under $15,000.  Don’t need a Notice of Commencement if replacing an AC system and the contract is for less than $15,000.

S.B. 1186 (Fla. Stat. §570.85). Expanding Agricultural tax classification. Can’t deny or revoke property’s agricultural classification due to agritourism being conducted on a bona fide farm, or because a nonresidential farm building or structure is used for agritourism. 

S.B. 1432 (Fla. Stat. §253.0346).   Limits leasing boats being moored.  Anchoring or mooring refers to a boater’s practice of seeking and using a safe harbor on the public waterway system for an undefined duration. Anchoring is accomplished using an anchor carried on the vessel.  Mooring is accomplished through the use of moorings permanently affixed to the bottom of the water body.  In Monroe county, limits leases of “sovereign submerged land” (land owned by the state which includes tidal lands, islands, sandbars, shallow banks, etc… Under the Florida Constitution, the title to all sovereign submerged lands is held by the state in trust for the people) for moorings and mooring fields to 10 years, unless the individual has established it as his domicile in accordance with §222.17 or because the vessel is the individual’s primary residence. 

S.B. 1432 (Fla. Stat. §327.4108). Pull boat anchor and move every 90 days.  Limits boat anchoring in Monroe County to 90 days by requiring boat to move from their starting location: to either a different designated anchoring area, or more than ½ nautical mile away.

S.B. 518 (Fla. Stat. §163.045)Tree pruning, trimming, removal on residential land.  A local government may not require a notice, application, approval, permit, fee, mitigation or replanting for the pruning, trimming, or removal of a tree on a residential property if property owner has documentation from an arborist certified by the ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) or a Florida licensed landscape architect that the tree poses an “unacceptable risk” (As defined therein) to persons or property. 

S.B. 706 (Fla. Stat. §163.3180). Allowing land development despite lack of schools.  Local government may allow a landowner to proceed with development of a specific parcel of land notwithstanding a failure of the development to satisfy school concurrency if certain other conditions are met.  (“The premise of concurrency is that the public facilities will be provided in order to achieve and maintain the adopted level of service standard”)

S.B. 1140 (Fla. Stat. §553.93). Video cameras, permitting.  Hard wired video cameras and cctv are now included in definition of low-voltage alarm system projects.

S.B. 1140 (Fla. Stat. §553.7932). Fire alarms, permitting.  for the alteration of 20 or less fire alarms, building departments may require a permit and inspection, but may not require plans or specifications be submitted for the permit.  However, the plans and specs must be at the worksite.

S.B. 546 (Fla. Stat. §516.031) No prepayment penalty allowed for Consumer finance loans. Consumer Finance Loans are a loan of money, credit, goods, lines of credit of $25,000 or less which lenders may charge more than 18% interest per annum.  Such lenders must be licensed with Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation.

H.B. No 749 (Fla. Stat. §501.165) Prohibitions on Automatic renewal clauses.  Sales or leases of any service to a consumer pursuant to a service contract (“‘Service contract’ means a written contract for the performance of services over a fixed period of time or for a specified duration that has an automatic renewal provision”), unless the consumer cancels that contract, must disclose the automatic renewal provision clearly and conspicuously in the contract, and must notify consumer no less than 30 days and no more than 60 days before the cancellation deadline.  Must allow cancellation in the same manner and means as when the consumer accepted.  Exempts Health studios; certain insurances; and home, motor and service warranty associations.

H.B. No 749 (Fla. Stat. §626.854) Penalizing Public Adjuster kickbacks to homeowners. Public adjuster and their apprentice cannot offer residential property owner a rebate, gift, gift card, cash, coupon, waiver of any insurance deductible in exchange for: allowing a roof inspection, making a roof insurance claim, or giving referrals for roof repairs. Penalty increased from maximum of $10K to $20K if done during state of emergency.

S.B. 1380 (Fla. Stat. §715.075). Parking on private property.   Private property owners may allow motor vehicles to park on their property and establish rules, rates, and charges for violating rules so long as they are “posted and clearly visible to persons parking motor vehicles.”  Invoices for charges must include, “THIS INVOICE IS PRIVATELY ISSUED, IS NOT ISSUED BY A GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORITY, AND IS NOT SUBJECT TO CRIMINAL PENALTIES.”  Cities and counties cannot prohibit these rights.

H.B. 1421 (Fla. Stat. §943.082)  School Safety reporting activity using mobile devices.  Suspicious activity may be reported by students via Android and Apple devices anonymously concerning unsafe, potentially harmful, dangerous, violent, or criminal activities, or the threat of these activities, to appropriate public safety agencies and school officials via a program called “FortifyFL.” Changes to the law add that if person knowingly submits false tip, then the IP address of the mobile device will be submitted to law enforcement and subject to criminal penalties

S.B. 962 (Fla. Stat. §§125.01055, 166.04151). Affordable Housing permitted on commercial and industrial zoned property.  If a parcel is zoned for commercial or industrial use, an approval may include any residential development project, including mixed-use, so long as 10% or more of the units are for affordable housing and the developer agrees not to apply for or receive funding under s. §420.5087.

H.B. 105 (Fla. Stat. §§386.201, 386.209)Smoking and Vaping, name change, preemption and regulation by cities/counties, public beaches, parks, cigars excepted.  “Florida Clean Indoor Air Act” is changed to “Florida Clean Air Act.”  Smoking regulation is preempted to the State; but counties and cities may restrict smoking within public beaches and parks, but not unfiltered cigars. Notwithstanding, Counties and cities may impose more restrictive regulations on vaping.

S.B. 2-D  Fla. (Stat. §489.147). Mandatory Disclosure by Contractors relating to insurance claim for roof damage.— The statute is modified to add: (1) As used in this section, the term: (a) “Prohibited advertisement” means any written or electronic communication by a contractor which encourages, instructs, or induces a consumer to contact a contractor or public adjuster for the purpose of making an insurance claim for roof damage, if such communication does not state in a font size of at least 12 points and at least half as large as the largest font size used in the communication that: 1. The consumer is responsible for payment of any insurance deductible; 2. It is insurance fraud punishable as a felony of the third degree for a contractor to knowingly or willfully, and with intent to injure, defraud, or deceive, pay, waive, or rebate all or part of an insurance deductible applicable to payment to the contractor for repairs to a property covered by a property insurance policy; and 3. It is insurance fraud punishable as a felony of the third degree to intentionally file an insurance claim containing any false, incomplete, or misleading information. The term includes, but is not limited to, door hangers, business cards, magnets, flyers, pamphlets, and e-mails.

S.B. 2-D  Fla. (Stat. §627.701, 627.7011)  Allowing insurers to charge a separate deductible for residential roofs, and if so, the insurer can withhold payments until insured shows actual payment for repairs to the roof (in the amount of the deductible).

S.B. 2-D  Fla. (Stat. §627.70152)Attorney Fee multiplier awards in property insurance claims is essentially eliminated.  

S.B. 898 (Fla. Stat. §§83.515; 509.211). Apartment Landlords required to do employee screenings (Dubbed “Miya’s Law.”).  Landlords of Transient apartments (“building or complex of buildings in which more than 25 percent of the units are advertised or held out to the public as available for transient occupancy”) and Non-transient apartments (“building or complex of buildings in which 75 percent or more of the units are available for rent to nontransient tenants) must conduct background screening of criminal records, including as sexual predator and offender;  allows for landlord to refuse to hire employee convicted, pled guilty, or no contest  to criminal offense involving: a disregard for safety of others, violence, murder, sexual battery, robbery, carjacking, home-invasion robbery, and stalking.

S.B. 898 (Fla. Stat. §83.53).  Landlord access to dwelling for repairs. Reasonable notice to tenant to make repairs is changed from 12 hours to at least 24 hours.  Does not change exception in the event of emergencies, tenant consents, when tenant unreasonably withholds consent, or if tenant is absent from  premises for specified period. 

S.B. 898 (Fla. Stat. §509.098)Public lodging – Prohibition on hourly rates.  Public lodging establishment (i.e. a hotel, motel, nontransient apartment, transient apartment, bed and breakfast inn, timeshare project, or vacation rental see  definitions within Fla. Stat. §509.242) may not offer an hourly rate for an accommodation. 

S.B. 4-D (Fla. Stat. §553.844). Elimination of 25% Roof Replacement Rule.  Directs Florida Building Code to be modified to state that if “25% or more of such roofing system or roof section is being repaired, replaced, or recovered, only the repaired, replaced, or recovered portion is required to be constructed in accordance with the Florida Building Code in effect.”

S.B. 4-D (Fla. Stat. §§553.899, 718.103, 718.112, 719.103, 719.104, 719.106) Mandatory Condo and Co-op Structural Inspections.  Mandatory Milestone inspections must be performed for buildings 3 stories or higher by 12/31 for buildings 30 years old (measured by date building’s certificate of occupancy was issued).  For buildings within 3 miles of coastline inspection period is shortened to 25 years and then reinspection every 10 years thereafter.  However, for buildings with a C.O. issued on or before 07/01/92 the milestone inspection may occur by 12/31/24.  Requires the City to provide notice to the buildings by certified mail if a milestone inspection is required.   Inspections are broken down into phase I (a visual inspection for substantial structural deterioration, which must be done w/in 180 days) and if found then Phase II (destructive or nondestructive testing).  The engineer or architect’s report is sealed and submitted to the Association and the Building Dept.  Building Dept. can then prescribe timelines and penalties for compliance but no more than w/in 365 days from the report.  Upon failure to make repairs, the building department may review and determine if building is unsafe for human occupancy.  Unit owners and renters are entitled to inspect the report and it must be posted on the Association’s website.  Associations must conduct “structural reserve studies” relating to the building’s structural integrity and safety every 10 years after the association was created (associations existing before 07/01/22 must complete by 12/31/24).  Failure to complete a structural integrity reserve study or milestone inspection can be a breach of the Association Officer’s and Director’s fiduciary duty.  Bylaws are amended to add that in additional to annual operating expenses, the budget must include reserve accounts for: (1) capital expenditures and (2) differed maintenance which must include (but are not limited to: roof replacement, building painting, pavement resurfacing, and other items exceeding $10,000.  The amount of the reserve for an item is determined by the Association’s structural integrity reserve study (which must be completed by 12/31/24).  Effective 12/31/24 unit-owner controlled associations may not provide no reserves or less than the structural integrity reserve study.   Structural integrity reserve studies must be done every 10 years and must include: (1) Roof; (2) Load-bearing walls or other primary structural members; (3) Floor; (4) Foundation; (5) Fireproofing and fire protection systems; (6) Plumbing; (7) Electrical Systems; (8) Waterproofing and exterior painting; (9) Windows; any other item having a deferred maintenance expense or replacement cost exceeding $10,000.

H.B. 1563 (Fla. Stat. §196.077)Additional Homestead Exemption created for classroom teachers, law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, child welfare professionals, and servicemembers.  Entitled to an additional exemption of up to $50,000 on the assessed valuation greater than $100,000 and up to $150,000 for all levies other than school district levies.

H.B. 423 (Fla. Stat. §553.792) Building permits, timing for inspectors to approve and ask for additional information.  Provides timeline for permit applications to be reviewed by building department and how many times they can ask for additional information.

S.B. 1380 (Fla. Stat. §712.03, 712.04).  The Marketable Record Title Act (MRTA) was enacted in 1963 “to simplify conveyances of real property, stabilize titles, and give certainty to land ownership.” Generally, MRTA extinguishes most rights/claims in real property that are more than 30 years old, but there are numerous exceptions.  Property owners, particularly those with recorded covenants and restrictions designed to preserve the character of the neighborhood, were often dismayed in the past when they discovered that their neighborhood covenants and restrictions had been invalidated by the operation of MRTA. Changes have been made relating thereto.

DISCLAIMER:  Topics discussed are general concepts, not intended to constitute legal advice, accuracy, nor completeness, and may not be relied upon as such; consult an attorney or accountant.  The author Randy Gilbert, J.D. is neither an attorney nor an accountant.  FTIC is a national award winning title insurance company known for its white glove customer service and “No Junk Fee Guarantee.” ®