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Governor Ron DeSantis Passes Bill Strengthening Commercial Lot Owners’ Authority in Condo-Hotels

Governor Ron DeSantis has signed House Bill 1021 into law, addressing issues of power balance, fraud, and mismanagement in condo-hotel complexes. The law, effective July 1, targets fraud, election meddling, and withholding records by condo association boards and property managers. A last-minute addition to the bill solidifies the control of commercial lot owners—those who own the hotel and amenities—over condo-hotels.

This law has been met with contention, particularly at the Carillon Miami Wellness Resort, where condo unit owners argue that the existing structure, which grants commercial lot owners significant power, is illegal under state condo regulations. The new law essentially enshrines these powers into law, which opponents like Stevan Pardo, an attorney for Carillon unit owners, claim undermines consumer rights and favors developers.

Supporters argue that commercial lot owners must maintain control to uphold brand standards, especially for high-end brands like St. Regis and Ritz-Carlton. Mark Grant, a consultant for attorneys defending Z Capital (the commercial lot owner of Carillon), emphasizes that both residents and commercial lot owners contribute to the maintenance of shared amenities.

The law includes a retroactive clause protecting previously adjudicated rights, meaning it won’t apply to cases already ruled as invalid by October 1. However, its impact on ongoing cases like Carillon remains uncertain, with potential implications for appeals and future litigation.

Critics fear the law may deter potential condo buyers from investing in condo-hotels due to the newly codified power dynamics favoring commercial lot owners. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Vicki Lopez, was reported by the Miami Herald as a last-minute addition aimed at altering legal precedents set by cases like Carillon.

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