Jasmin HernandezJasmin Hernandez&&
September 8, 2023

Florida's Recent Legislation Impacting the Timeshare and Real Estate Industries

Recently passed Florida House Bills have a direct impact on the timeshare industry.  

House Bill 869 amends Florida Statutes Section 721, which is also commonly referred to as the Florida Vacation Plan and Timesharing Act and went into effect July 1, 2023. The legislation focuses on revising requirements for incidental benefits, revising cancellation requirements, and revising disclosure requirements for multisite timeshare plan public offering statements.  

Florida's House Bill 1419, effective from July 1, 2023, has been amended to introduce a pilot program aimed at preventing title fraud through identity verification in Lee County, recording notification service, quieting title with fraudulent conveyances, forms of quitclaim deeds, and requirements for recording instruments affecting real property.

Changes to Section 721.075: Incidental Benefits and More

Section 721.075 of the Florida Statutes amends the requirements for incidental benefits. Incidental benefits are an accommodation, product, service, discount, or other benefit which is offered to a prospective purchaser of a timeshare plan or to a purchaser of a timeshare plan prior to the expiration of their initial 10-day voidability period. Incidental benefits do not include an offer of the use of the accommodations and facilities of the timeshare plan on a free or discounted one-time basis. The statute no longer restricts the value of the incidental benefits to 15% of the purchase price paid by the purchaser for their timeshare interest. The statement of the incidental benefit no longer must specifically indicate the source of the service, points, or other products that constitute the incidental benefit.  

The new law aims to clarify that the costs of the incidental benefits may not be passed onto purchasers of the timeshare plan as common expenses and that the incidental benefit will continue to be available to prospective purchasers for up to 3 years after the date of the timeshare plan is available for use by the purchaser.  

When an incidental benefit becomes unavailable to the purchasers, developers must compensate purchasers with greater of twice the retail or represented value of the unavailable incident in cash within 30 days after the notification of the unavailability of the incidental benefit. Developers must provide the purchasers notification in the acknowledgment and disclosure statement of the unavailable incidental benefit. Section 721.075 also requires approval from the benefit provider for transferring or assigning incidental benefits to potential purchasers, ensuring authorized transfers. If an incidental benefit cannot be provided, developers must offer a suitable substitute within 30 days of awareness. The developer is no longer required to notify the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes of the unavailability of the incidental benefit.  

Protecting Purchasers: Section 721.10 and 721.55

Section 721.10 of the Florida Statutes outlines the right to cancel a timeshare contract. Purchasers can cancel within 10 days after contract execution. Attempting to waive this right is unlawful. If a waiver occurs and a closing happens, it's voidable by the purchaser within 1 year. Premature closings before the cancellation period can be voided for up to 5 years. This section ensures purchaser protection and fairness in timeshare contracts.

Section 721.55 addresses aspects of multisite timeshare plans. Descriptions of component sites can be provided to purchasers electronically, including access to a website. Accommodation descriptions must include whether a "full kitchen" is present, defined by specific appliances like a dishwasher, range, sink, oven, and refrigerator. Developers aren't required to submit separate public offering statements for component sites within or outside the state that are part of a multisite timeshare plan.  

With the passage of House Bill 869, the legislator’s aim is to enhance transparency, fairness, and consumer confidence in timeshare agreements.  

House Bill 1419: Preventing Title Fraud

Florida's House Bill 1419, effective from July 1, 2023, has been amended to introduce a pilot program aimed at preventing title fraud through identity verification in Lee County, recording notification service, quieting title with fraudulent conveyances, forms of quitclaim deeds, and requirements for recording instruments affecting real property.

The bill establishes a pilot program in Lee County to prevent title fraud by verifying identity during the recording of deeds and other instruments. Individuals recording deeds or instruments may be required to present a government-issued photo ID. Verified identities are recorded in official records. Participants have the option to redact certain information from public records, except for their name, address, and photo, respecting privacy. While records are available for public viewing, the bill prevents these records from being published on the clerk's website, maintaining a balance between transparency and privacy. The bill outlines the roles, responsibilities, and requirements for county clerks participating in the pilot program.

Section 28.47 of the Florida Statutes now mandates that each clerk of the circuit court establish, maintain, and operate a free recording notification service by July 1, 2024. This service is open to all individuals interested in property transactions.  

Property Ownership Protection: Section 65.091

Section 65.091 addresses cases where fraudulent attempts to transfer property ownership have occurred. It allows an action to quiet title based on fraudulent conveyance allegations. If a court confirms fraudulent conveyance, the plaintiff is granted the same title and ownership rights they had before the fraudulent transfer. Additionally, the legislation permits clerks to offer a simplified complaint form, making it easier for individuals to file complaints related to quieting title due to fraudulent conveyances.  

Form Requirements: Section 689.025

Section 689.025 outlines the specific form requirements for quitclaim deeds used to transfer real property or interests in real property. This section ensures that the deed includes essential elements for a legally valid and effective conveyance.  

Clarity in Property Transactions: Section 695.26

Section 695.26 of the Florida Statutes introduces a new recording requirement for instruments affecting real property. Effective January 1, 2024, this section mandates that post office addresses of each witness must be legibly printed, typed, or stamped on the instrument that is to be recorded. This change aims to enhance clarity in transactions by ensuring easy identification and verification of witnesses.  

Modernizing Real Estate Practices

House Bill 1419 showcases Florida's commitment to modernize real estate practices to prevent identity-related fraud, prioritizes restoring rightful ownership, and provides accessible legal avenues for property ownership and transactions. Ultimately, this bill reinforces the importance of accurate documentation in timeshare dealings.

In Conclusion

Florida's recent legislative changes, as highlighted by House Bills 869 and 1419, bring about significant alterations in the timeshare and real estate industries. These legal updates reflect Florida's commitment to modernizing real estate practices and enhancing consumer protection. These new laws aim to ensure transparency, fairness, and accuracy in property transactions, emphasizing the state's dedication to maintaining the integrity of these sectors.

This publication is for informational purposes only and does not constitute an opinion of MDK.
Do not rely on this publication without seeking legal counsel.