Gov't Affairs Blog

OLD Gov't Affairs Blog
We stopped using this blog after the 2013 Florida Legislative Session and created a new Government Affairs Forum, which will allow us to better control distribution of information.  This one will be maintained as an archive. 

More formal bulletins, summaries of legislation, position papers and the like appear on the Government Affairs page



  • 04/06/2012 12:25 PM | Anonymous
    4/6/12:   The governor has signed the transferee tax liability bill, which includes the real estate "carve outs" that FLTA advocated.   Our thanks again to Rep. John Wood, Russ Hale representing the Florida Bankers, and Bill Wiley and Gary Teblum of the Business Law Section for all of their hard work on this bill. 

    3/30/12:  The Transferee Tax Liability bill has been signed by the officers and sent to the Governor for signing or veto.  He must act on this by 4/14/12.

    3/7/12:  Thanks to the hard work of Rep. John Wood (R - Winter Haven), the Transferee Tax liability bill has been passed by both houses and will move on to the Governor for signature. 

    3/6/12:  The House version of the transferee tax liability bill has moved to the Senate floor and is on second reading.

    3/1/12  After a long period of inactivity in the Senate, the Transferee Tax Liability bill (SB 170) was withdrawn from its last committee of reference and placed on the special order calendar for 3/6/12.

    Last year, through the hard work of Rep. John Wood (R- Winter Haven), we came close to solving a significant unintended problem with the transferee tax liability law. That law makes the purchaser of a business responsible for unpaid sales and other taxes owed by the seller.   Unfortunately, it can be triggered by the sale of real estate (even a home, under some circumstances) where one is not buying the "business" which triggered the tax.

    While the tax liability of the buyer would not be covered under a title policy, our customers often claim the closing agent is responsible for protecting them from all unexpected liabilities. And this is one which can't be detected through a review of the official records -- or anything short of demanding a tax audit of your seller.   (obviously not a popular requirement).

    The bill, which FLTA strongly supported would have clarified that the sale of 1-4 family residential property, of owner occupied commercial property or vacant land would not trigger transferee tax liability. It passed through the entire committee process last year, passed in the Florida House and died the last night in the Florida Senate.

    So, we had to start all over this year.   With the strong leadership of the Business and Tax Law Sections of the Florida Bar, this year's bills have passed all committees in the house and all but one committee in the Senate.    We are optimistic that this good bill will pass into law this session. 

  • 04/06/2012 10:57 AM | Anonymous
    4/6/12:    The RPPTL supported bill requiring lenders to provide limited estoppel statements for subsequent owners of property has been signed by the Governor. 

    3/30/12:    The bill has been signed by the officers and sent to the Governor for signing or veto.  He must act on this by 4/14/12.

    3/7/12 Update:   This bill has passed in both the House and the Senate and will proceed to the Governor for consideration. 

    3/6/12 Update:    The Senate version of this bill was taken up in the House and is on second reading.  

    2/29/12 Update:   SB 1050 passed the full Senate unanimously. 

    The RPPTL Section initiative to require lenders to provide mortgage payoff information to subsequent owners of encumbered property, notwithstanding privacy considerations, HB 505, has unanimously passed out of its final committee of reference in the house today.   This same bill includes changes to the uniform principal and income act.

    The Senate companion, SB 1050 was approved by the judiciary committee today, and moved immediately onto the Senate special order calendar.
  • 03/18/2012 8:27 PM | Anonymous
    After a long period with no visible activity, the final version of the Private Transfer Fee rule was released by the Federal Housing Finance Agency on March 16, 2012.   Like earlier versions, this prohibits  Fannie, Freddie and the Home Loan Banks from purchasing, investing in or otherwise dealing in any mortgages on properties encumbered by private transfer fee covenants or securities backed by such mortgages.   The definitions go into great detail, but it is important to note that the application is limited to covenants created on or after February 8, 2011. 

    More information on this rule can be found Here
  • 03/16/2012 4:04 PM | Anonymous

    I’m sorry to report that the Supreme Court has denied our motion for leave to file an Amicus in the CRC 603 vs. North Carillon case regarding the requirements for holding escrows on pre-construction condominium contracts.   More information about this case and the problems it potentially presents to the title industry can be found in this bulletin and this one.

    FLTA thanks our friends at Fidelity National for their generosity in funding this appeal on behalf of the entire industry and Gwynne Young, Sylvia Walbolt and Christine Graves at Carlton Fields for all of their hard work on it.


  • 03/12/2012 6:48 PM | Anonymous

    Our thanks to Paul Minoff pminoff@mcglinchey.com at McGlinchey Stafford PLLC for pointing out and summarizing Delta Property Management v. Profile Investments.  

    In a decision that may prove to be a mixed blessing for title insurers and a headache to those who buy tax certificates, yesterday, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that when faced with knowledge that a notice of tax sale sent to the last known address of the property owner has been undelivered, the Clerk of Court has an affirmative duty to take reasonable steps to make sure that the property owner is provided with notice. 

    According to the court, "reasonable steps depend on the particular circumstances of the case and may include: checking the records of the taxing authorities for a change of address submitted by the legal titleholder; resending notice by regular mail so that no signature is required; posting notice on the property to be sold, not merely at the last known address of the titleholder; or sending a notice addressed to 'occupant' by regular mail." 

    Whether this ruling will make any practical difference in a given case is to be seen, but it could certainly spawn litigation in cases where the tax sale notice is not delivered regarding whether the Clerk of the Court did his/her job in accordance with this opinion.

    As always, check with your underwriter as to any specific requirements for insuring a transaction following a tax deed.

    Thank you Paul for all of your continuing support of FLTA.

  • 03/12/2012 6:43 PM | Anonymous

    FLTA Member (and Darn Good Lawyer), Paul H. Minoff at McGlinchey Stafford PLLC has been doing a great job in keeping us up to date on the latest rulings affecting title for which we thank him.

    In yet another opinion dealing with the issue of standing to bring and maintain a foreclosure action, the Florida 5th District Court of Appeal ruled yesterday that DBTNC's possession of the original note endorsed in blank along with its allegation in the complaint that it was the owner and holder of the note and mortgage at the time of the filing was enough to establish standing even though the assignment of mortgage to DBNTC was executed after the date of the filing of the original complaint. Here's the Opinion.

    The court affirmed the view consistently espoused in the 4th DCA that the mortgage follows the note and that as long as the plaintiff had possession of the original note at the time of the filing of the complaint (or was a non-holder with the rights of the holder at the time of the filing), standing was established.  It further affirmed that an assignment of mortgage is NOT required to establish standing in Florida. 

    Additionally, the court overturned the lower court's dismissal of DBNTC's complaint with prejudice due to DBNTC's counsel's violation of a court order, finding that the trial court did not apply all of the factors required for such a drastic remedy under the leading Florida Supreme Court case of Kozek v. Ostendorf, and further finding, among other things, that there was not any evidence that DBNTC even knew of its counsel's disregard of the court's order.

    Despite these consistent standing opinions, foreclosure defense counsel are still not being dissuaded from raising standing issues in response to foreclosure complaints, and we are probably a long way away from seeing the end of these appellate opinions dealing with standing issues.


  • 03/08/2012 10:56 AM | Anonymous

    In order to pay for the payroll tax cut, as of April 1, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be raising the fee they charge lenders for guaranteeing mortgages, charging an additional 0.1 percent of the loan amount on top of the current charge. That's expected to drive up interest rates about one-eighth of a percent as those costs are passed along to borrowers.   More here

    Having discovered this nearly invisible source of funding for their favorite projects, a group of senators have proposed extending the “tax” on Fannie/Freddie guaranties to pay for some of the costs of the BP Oil Spill Clean-up.   More from Housing Wire.

  • 03/07/2012 7:33 PM | Anonymous

    3/7/12 Update: SB 680 has been placed on the Special Order Calendar for Friday 3/9/12.

    3/6/12 Update:  SB 680 was "withdrawn" from its last committee of reference and placed on the Senate calendar for second reading. 

    2/29/12:   HB 319 was approved by the full House by a vote of 114-1.

    2/23/12  HB 319 by Rep. George Moraitis, passed in its final committee yesterday and progressed to second reading before the full house.   Among many changes to the Condominium Act, this bill extends the “Bulk Buyer” protections through 2015 – so hopefully this will help move more condominium units.   It also provides some much needed clarity on the question of when subsequent purchasers are liable for late fees, interest, costs, and reasonable attorney fees incurred by the association in attempts to collect from prior owners.

    The senate companion, SB 680 by Sen. Bogdanoff is awaiting action by the budget committee, it’s last committee of reference.  

  • 03/07/2012 7:27 PM | Anonymous
    3/7/12:  SB 670, the Hidden Lien Bill, has been placed on the special order calendar for Friday 3/9/12 -- the last day of the Session.  There is still hope, but always a dangerous place to be on the schedule.  

    3/6/12:   SB 670 was "withdrawn" from the Budget committee and placed on the calendar for second reading.  This positions the bill for possible passage by the Senate later this week. 

    3/5/12   HB 671, by Rep. John Wood, passed the full house of representatives today by a vote of 101-14.   The Senate Companion SB 670 was not among those withdrawn from the budget committee today, which could indicate troubles. 

    3/2/12  HB 671 was read the second time today on the house floor.  The senate companion SB 670, after initial favorable committee reviews has been stuck in a Senate budget subcommittee with no action since January 31.  Efforts are being made to "withdraw" the referral to the final committees so that it may be considered by the full Senate. 

    2/8/12   HB 671 passed unanimously out of the House judiciary committee and was placed on the house calendar

    SB 670, the hidden liens bill which would require all governmental liens other than ad valorem taxes, special assessments and for utility services to be recorded in the official records before they were binding against a purchaser or lienholder for value, was passed unanimously out of the Senate Community Affairs committee this morning.   It has one remaining committee stop in the Senate. 

    It's companion, HB 671 also has one remaining committee stop and an amendment conforming the two versions has been filed. 
  • 03/06/2012 10:24 PM | Anonymous
    We have posted the updated FLTA Bill Tracking Report.   FLTA members can access it Here
 
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