As an AAGO member, you also benefit from dual membership with the Florida Apartment Association and benefit from their Government Affairs program. FAA also collaborates with state lobbyists and specialized public policy consultants on various projects of industry-wide impact around Florida. These resources are invaluable to members who would not ordinarily be able to tackle these issues on their own.
FAA's Government Affairs team closely monitors and advocates on behalf of the industry on a broad range of proposed bills that have an impact on rental housing. Below is a brief list of just some of the policy priorities on which the Association has advocated. To connect with FAA, please click here.
Unlicensed Maintenance Activity
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) and local code enforcement on occasion enforce the Florida state law that requires permits to be pulled for many standard maintenance functions such as HVAC replacement, water heater replacement, etc. These inspections can be triggered by a complaint, randomly, or as a matter of routine. Most often violations or “unlicensed maintenance activity” result in civil citations, cease and desist orders, or fees. However, in certain circumstances criminal charges can be levied by DBPR or law enforcement for particularly egregious violations (especially incidents with a negative environmental impact).
The Florida Residential Landlord and Tenant Act is found in Chapter 83, Florida Statutes. Although mostly fair or favorable to landlords, AAGO has worked with FAA and the other affiliate associations to improve upon existing law. In 2013, the Florida Legislature passed and the Governor signed a new law with many changes to the Landlord Tenant Act. These changes included allowing the collection of partial rent without waiving right to an eviction, revised notifications regarding security deposits, and no longer requiring a new notice for a subsequent curable noncompliance. A comprehensive explanation of the new policies is provided by attorney member Harry Heist by clicking here.
For many years, the business community has lobbied to have Florida join several other states and the federal courts in adopting a more stringent standard for the admissibility of expert witness testimony. Under prior Florida law, the standard for admitting expert witness testimony was the one expressed in Frye v. United States, 293 F. 1013 (D.C. Cir. 1923) and was followed for over fifty years. In an effort to expand the role of the trial and appellate courts in policing the circumstances under which expert "opinions" will be admitted into evidence, the Legislature has expanded the court's "gatekeeper" role in carefully scrutinizing expert witness opinions. No longer will it be sufficient for an expert to simply base his or her opinion on their "experience" or "because I said so."
The swimming pool industry has often pushed for a law that would require licensure for apartment onsite maintenance professionals to perform even the most routine and basic tasks on pools and spas. These tasks include cleaning, filter maintenance/replacement, testing, etc. We have successfully lobbied against this bill's passage for many years. We contend that our personnel are already required by the Department of Health to be Certified Pool Operators (CPO®). This CPO certification makes them more than qualified to safely and efficiently maintain a pool or spa within the apartment community.
As an industry, we all support and abide by the Fair Housing Act and the various protected classes based on applicable federal, state, and local law. There are presently several protected classes within the state and the rental housing industry does not see a need in expanding this area of law to include other classes.
Every year, delegates from AAGO travel to Tallahassee to attend the FAA Legislative Conference & Lobby Days. In 2017, the Conference will take place on February 7th and 8th. More information about this exciting advocacy opportunity is available here.
Please contact Chip Tatum for more information at 407-644-0539 or email Chip@AAGO.org.