7 New Florida Laws go Into Effect July 1

New Florida Laws

Florida Realtors: New Florida Laws effective July 1

  1. Cap on estoppel certificate fees – Sellers of properties who live in an HOA, condo association or co-op will have a limit on the amount they’ll pay for an estoppel certificate, a document that informs a buyer if the seller is current with their dues and assessments. SB 398 (Sen. Passidomo, R-Naples) caps estoppel certificate fees at $250 for unit owners who are current in their assessments. Associations may charge an additional $100 for expedited estoppel certificates (delivered within three business days) and another $150 to owners who are delinquent in their assessments. The bill sets the price of estoppel certificates for multiple units owned by the same person and establishes a uniform, statewide format that ensures buyers and closing agents receive the appropriate information needed to close the real estate transaction. This bill also requires certificates to be valid for 30 days if delivered electronically or 35 days if delivered by mail.
  2. Florida’s natural resources – More than $500 million is earmarked for Everglades restoration, beach renourishment and springs restoration. During the session, SB 10 (Sen. Bradley, R-Orange Park) served as the primary piece of policy legislation for Everglades restoration and establishes how the funding will be used for these projects. A key provision of SB 10 is the construction of a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee that is designed to curb nutrient and salinity levels that are harmful to Florida’s valuable natural resources.
  3. Condominium termination law – Legislation passed in 2015 to protect condo owners from being forced to sell – possibly at a loss – has several loopholes that real estate investors and bulk buyers exploited. SB 1520 (Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater) fine-tunes the rules and modifies the process by reducing the percentage of owners required to reject the termination – from 10 percent to 5 percent.
  4. Condominium oversight – A South Florida news report of fraud in condo board elections, misappropriation of funds and rigged bids resulted in a Miami-Dade grand jury recommending changes to Florida’s Condominium Act. HB 1237 (Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, R-Miami) provides several new condo oversight rules: (1) a condo association with more than 150 units must publish its financial reports and other documents (bylaws, articles of incorporation, condo rules) on a password-protected web page; (2) if an owner is denied documents and fraud is proven, persons responsible for fraudulent activity could face felony charges; (3) the term of a condo board director is limited to eight years, with some exceptions.
  5. Private flood insurance – As Realtors petition Congress to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), Florida lawmakers continue to work to attract private flood insurance capital to Florida. HB 813 (Rep. Larry Lee Jr., D-Fort Pierce) accomplishes two primary goals: (1) Rating flexibility for flood insurers is extended from 2019 until 2025 before they must follow guidelines similar to other lines of coverage – a way to encourage private insurers to enter the Florida market; (2) insurance agents can place flood policies with surplus lines insurers for two more years – until 2019 – before they must make a “diligent effort” to place the coverage with carriers regulated by the state. Diligent effort requires an agent to seek coverage and be rejected by at least three regulated carriers writing the same type of coverage.
  6. Drone regulation – HB 1027 (Clay Yarborough, R-Jacksonville) preempts the regulation of unmanned aircraft systems (drones) by local governments and grants oversight to the state of Florida. This will prevent drone operators from having to potentially comply with ordinances adopted by 400+ local governments.
  7. Pollution notification – SB 1018 (Sen. Denise Grimsley, R-Lake Placid) sets a threshold for when an operator is required to notify the Division of Emergency Management and the Department of Environmental Protection about a pollution event. It also provides a timeframe for the notification and defines what a reportable event means. This legislation is the result of pollution from a sinkhole at the Mosaic fertilizer facility in Mulberry, Fla., last summer. The Scott administration created an emergency rule that shifted the burden of pollution notification from the state to the owner of the property where the spill occurred. Florida Realtors was part of a coalition that successfully challenged the legal authority for this rule, creating an opportunity for the passage of this friendly legislation.

© 2017 Florida Realtors

FAA Loosening Up On Drones

FAA, Drones & Real Estate

Those shooting stars could be drones capturing photos, video, or even delivering packages…

Key Takeaways via Britt Chester with Inman:

  1. The FAA no longer requires Section 333 waivers for drones weighing less than 55 lbs.
  2. Flight in the airspace classified G does not require clearance from local air traffic control.
  3. Drone pilot must be at least 16 years old and pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center.

Not sure whether, where and how you can use drones for real estate photography?

Some gray area of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) regulation has been cleared up thanks to Part 107 of the Federal Aviation Regulations.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced today that it will no longer require a Section 333 waiver — making it much easier for real estate agents to legally fly drones.

The Section 333 waiver was a bottleneck of commercial applications on the FAA website, many of which were targeted toward real estate professionals and production companies working with real estate agents. (The online portal for Section 333 waivers has been shut down on the FAA website.)

Drone photography and video footage has been a game changer in real estate. And the affordability of pro-sumer drones has many people scrambling to get one, especially now.

The new rules take effect August 2016

The last time the FAA issued new regulation on UAVs was in December, although the rules took effect this past March. Many of the same rules still apply, although the biggest one is regarding the non-requirement of a section 333 waiver.

To operate your drone, you must obtain a remote pilot airman certificate with a small UAS rating. There are two ways to do this.

  1. You may pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center.
  2. If you already have a Part 61 pilot certificate, other than a student pilot certificate, you must have completed a flight review in the previous 24 months, and you must take a small UAS online training course provided by the FAA.

Drones and the NAR

The first line in Part 107 (after the rule determining 55 lbs. weight max) relates to the visual line of sight (VLOS): The remote pilot in command and drone operator must maintain VLOS. It is required to have a “spotter,” and this rule states that the two people in control of the drone must be able to see it.

Late last year, NAR wrote a letter to Michael Huerta, FAA administrator, requesting a change in the VLOS at it relates to “unusually sized buildings and rural properties.

A source with NAR said that ever since the FAA called out Realtors directly in 2014 regarding drone use, the association has been actively working out how it can help agents who are utilizing aerial photography.

“We’ve worked hard to strike a responsible balance that protects the safety and privacy of individuals, while also ensuring Realtors can put drones to good use,” said Tom Salomone, broker-owner of Real Estate II Inc. in Coral Springs, Florida., and president of NAR, in a press release.

Specifically, the NAR wants to focus on the category of drones known as micro UAVs. These are drones weighing less than 4 lbs. and, according to the NAR, do not pose the same threat to the safety of the general public as those classified under small UAV.

“Getting here wasn’t easy, and the FAA is to be commended for listening to the concerns of real estate professionals throughout the rule-making process,” Salomone said. “We’re entering a new stage of drone use in real estate, and no doubt there will be additional questions and challenges ahead. NAR will continue educating its members on issues important to the safe, responsible use of drones so they can grow their business and better serve their clients.”

New rules about UAV flying

Operations in Class G airspace are allowed without air traffic control permission. Read more about airspace and the regulations for each in the pilot’s handbook.

  1. You still may not fly your UAV above 400 feet in relation to ground level.
  2. If you are operating your drone above 400 feet, you must remain within 400 feet of a structure.
  3. The UAV must not exceed 100 miles per hour in airspeed.
  4. You must be 16 years of age to operate a drone remotely.

Another change is the inability to fly over groups of people “that are not participating in the operation” outside, within a structure or in a stationary vehicle.

There have also been changes to the use of drones as applies to delivery services.

Drones may transport property for compensation as long as they remain in the VLOS of the pilot in command, and they cannot be operated from a moving vehicle.

Originally posted by Britt Chester with Inman

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