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New 2015 State Laws That Florida Homeowners Need to Know About

by BROOKE GOLD HASSON | Jul 08, 2015

FloridaLawsThe 2015 state legislative session was a wild ride, but the results are finally in and several newly signed laws directly impact Florida homeowners. 

Which new laws have been passed and how will they affect you? Take a look…

Surveillance by a Drone on Private Property

Effective July 1, 2015, this new law prohibits a person, state agency or political group from using a drone to record an image of privately owned property, or people on private property to conduct surveillance without written consent to do so. Exceptions include certain law enforcement agencies, property appraisers, utilities, aerial mappers, cargo delivery systems, and any other person or entity engaged in a business licensed by the state, subject to certain conditions. 

Peril of Flood

Effective July 1, 2015, this new law expands flood insurance that may be offered by admitted insurance carriers, allowing insurers to issue flood insurance policies, contracts or endorsements on a flexible flood insurance basis, which is defined as coverage for the peril of flood that may include water intrusion coverage. This differs from standard or preferred coverage by including one or more of the following: an agreed-upon amount of coverage between the insurer and policyholder, an authorized deductible adjustment, limitation of coverage to only the principal building, provisions including or excluding coverage for additional living expenses, or provisions excluding coverage for personal property or contents.

The law also revises other provisions related to flood insurance, including removal of the prohibition against supplemental flood insurance including excess flood coverage over other flood insurance.

Residential Homeowners’ Associations

Effective July 1, 2015, this new law permits homeowners’ associations to provide electronic notice of unit owner and board meetings without having specific authority in the bylaws of the association for giving notice by electronic transmission. 

The law also permits homeowners’ associations to file a lien on unpaid administrative late fees. Homeowners’ association boards may not levy a fine exceeding $100, unless otherwise provided in the association’s governing documents. Homeowners’ association members that fail to pay a fine may be suspended from the board of directors or barred from running for a seat on the board.

Household Savings

The state’s communication tax will be reduced by 1.73 percent, saving Floridians about $20 annually on $100 per month cell phone and television bills. While the tax cut may not seem sizable, it is projected to save Florida residents and businesses $226.1 million annually. 

Florida will also host a ten-day back-to-school sales tax holiday on August 7-16, which will save Florida families $67.8 million. Qualifying tax-free products will include clothing and backpacks under $100, and other school supplies under $15. The first $750 of the price of a computer will be free of sales taxes. For families with older students, college textbooks will be tax-free year-round, a move that is projected to save full-time students about $60 a year.