government 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

  • 10/11/2011 1:30 PM | Anonymous
    TALLAHASSEE --Senate President Mike Haridopolos said Thursday that the state is facing another multibillion-dollar budget shortfall, and the public can expect another year of deep cuts to government programs and services.   

    Having to make such extensive cuts to state expenditures is expected to reduce the number of other bills that are given substantive consideration during the legislature's 60 day session.

    More from the Orlando Sentinel
  • 09/29/2011 3:13 PM | Anonymous
    The latest version of the DFS designation rule has been released, and we are seeking comments on how this might impact your business practices in the FLTA Title Forum.

    Please take a moment to review the latest version --- which FLTA has been objecting to -- and help arm us for the next round.

  • 09/28/2011 11:08 AM | Anonymous
    Nationally, we are facing a huge foreclosure problem.   Congress is holding hearings, and our friends at ALTA are actively protecting the interests of the title industry.   The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has mandated that upon request, a foreclosed homeowner is entitled to an independent review of any improprieties in their foreclosure process.  (here's the Link at ALTA)  This is only going to open up the possibility of more attempts to set aside a completed foreclosure, increase the risk and uncertainty facing our title insurers and delay the economic recovery.   

    In Florida, we have been working on a different approach to the problem.  Yesterday, Rep. Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples) filed her Fair Foreclosure Act (HB 213), which is intended to streamline several aspects of the judicial foreclosure process.   This bill includes several important provisions for the title industry, including a section which assures home-buyers that if they buy a foreclosed home, their ownership to the property won't be challenged or taken away.   

    More on this later

  • 09/28/2011 11:01 AM | Anonymous
    The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which was set to expire Sept. 30, received a temporary extension Monday as the Senate approved legislation keeping the program running through Nov. 18.

    By a 79-12 vote, the Senate ended an impasse that threatened a government shutdown at midnight Friday by approving a continuing resolution that will keep the government funded through Nov. 18. The key was a determination by the Federal Emergency Management Agency earlier Monday that it had enough money to fund its emergency loan program through the end of the current fiscal year.

  • 09/28/2011 10:49 AM | Anonymous

    Another Case of Interest from Paul Minoff, Esq.

    Just over a week ago, the Florida Fifth District Court of Appeal clarified the law in that jurisdiction on mechanic's liens under Chapter 713, ruling, among other things, that a claim of lien can be found to have been fraudulently made even when the lienor believed in good faith that the lien was properly based upon lienable work, materials, etc. 

    In this case, the court reversed final judgment in favor of the contractor and remanded the case back to the trial court to determine whether the lien was fraudulent despite the proclaimed good faith belief of the lienors.

    This opinion definitely stresses the importance of not only making sure that the appropriate bases exist to file a claim of lien, but in fully analyzing the bases of the lien and the amount claimed therein when defending such claims. 



    Here is a link to the Case

  • 09/28/2011 10:35 AM | Anonymous

    New FLTA Member Paul Minoff reports:

    In what could potentially have far-reaching implications to land developers in Florida (and outside as well), earlier this month, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that developers who are seeking exemptions from the Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act must provide a "legitimate business purpose" when structuring transactions in way to exempt them from the Act, and expressly holding that avoiding the requirements of the Act is NOT a legitimate business purpose.

    In this case, the developer used two separate agreements to place the development project within two separate exemptions under the Act.  The court reviewed the use of such agreements and ruled that the developer did not have a legitimate business purpose, resulting in a return of the purchaser's condo deposits.  As anyone in the development world knows, this type of practice was and is very common so it behooves everyone representing clients in the industry (as well as escrow agents who are holding deposits) to closely review this opinion.

    We can only hope that the string of bad recent decisions affecting the real estate and title industries will come to an end soon.

    Hope all is well.


    -- Paul H. Minoff
       McGlinchey Stafford PLLC |

    Direct: (954) 332-3639
    Cell: (954) 999-2441
    Fax: (954) 333-3847
    101 N.E. Third Avenue, Suite 1500
    Fort Lauderdale FL 33301

  • 09/24/2011 4:47 PM | Anonymous
    Last Tuesday, the Civil Justice Subcommittee received testimony on Florida's Foreclosure "Crisis."   The economist for the Florida Legislature, Amy Baker, gave a report which included some truly disturbing statistics.   A copy of the powerpoint slides presented are here.

    The following day, this article appeared suggesting that Gov. Scott and certain legislative leaders were again considering non-judicial foreclosures in Florida.

    The FLTA leadership will be actively involved in evaluating any proposals to modify Florida's foreclosure process to, among other considerations, make certain that any changes will result in an insurable foreclosure.

  • 09/22/2011 9:40 PM | Anonymous
    When one of our members reported having received a "Love Letter" from the Florida Department of Revenue asking why doc stamps hadn't been paid on the assignment of a winning foreclosure bid, FLTA issued a new bulletin outlining some of the subtle and sometimes counter-intuitive rules governing doc stamps.

    We also posted some handy references on both doc stamps and intangible taxes on our Members Only Exam Resources Page.   

    As you think of additional resources that you would find helpful in your business, please let me know.


  • 09/14/2011 11:12 AM | Anonymous
    The CFPB is seeking a 4th round of comments from the industry on their latest draft of the combined TILA - GFE forms.   Please take a moment to share your comments here

    In particular let CFPB what you think about pre-populating the field for borrower's attorney's charges.    Does that imply that legal representation is necessary in every refinancing, or that someone shouldn't use a title agency to close their transaction?
  • 09/10/2011 1:40 PM | Anonymous
    In Louisiana, the purchaser of a WWII era bombing range discovered that the local government wouldn't issue permits for turning the property into a residential subdivision because of unexploded ordinance.   

    The purchaser then sought to recover under his title insurance policy -- and the court ruled (quite correctly) that this was a matter affecting the condition of the land, not a title defect and that non-record environmental problems were expressly excluded from coverage.  

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