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Florida Statute 768.0706: A Guide to Compliance for Multifamily Properties - Part 1

Florida Statute 768.0706: A Guide to Compliance for Multifamily Properties

In March 2023, the State of Florida passed a series of major tort reforms into law including Florida Statute 768.0706. This new law provides multifamily property owners with an unprecedented level of protection against frivolous lawsuits resulting from criminal activity.

As described in Fla. Stat. § 768.0706(2): The owner or principal operator of a multifamily residential property which substantially implements the following security measures on that property has a presumption against liability in connection with criminal acts that occur on the premises which are committed by third parties who are not employees or agents of the owner or operator:”

However, benefiting from this new law requires that the property complies with several essential conditions.

The following guide was prepared by Critical Intervention Services to assist property owners and management companies in assessing the opportunity presented by Fla. Stat. § 768.0706, achieving and maintaining compliance, and avoiding pitfalls that can undermine the protection offered by the new statute.

Compliance Requirements of Florida Statute 768.0706

The principal requirements of Florida Statute 768.0706 are summarized as follows:

Toggle the accordion below to read the statute in its entirety.

Cost Benefit Analysis and Florida Statute 768.0706 (HB 837)

Although the powerful liability shield provided by Florida Statute 768.0706 (HB 837) is very enticing, we recommend first conducting a cost-benefit analysis to determine if the expected benefits are worth the investment often required to achieve compliance.

Benefits  of compliance with Fla. Stat. § 768.0706

The most obvious benefit of compliance with Florida Statute 768.0706 (HB 837) is immunity from lawsuits resulting from criminal acts committed by third parties. Any property owner who has endured previous litigation resulting from violent crimes and the massive costs of settlement or jury verdict can appreciate the powerful level of protection provided by the statute. Likewise, property owners operating with persistent concern due to high levels of crime in surrounding neighborhoods can finally rest at ease about crime-related litigation.

Correspondingly, insurance companies also receive a massive benefit from HB 837’s liability shield. This will likely translate into significant savings in insurance rates for compliant property owners. For many, this may be the most enticing benefit of Florida Statute 768.0706. As an example, several current CIS clients have fully committed to achieving compliance for their entire Florida portfolio primarily for the purpose of reduced insurance rates.

As another benefit, it is also expected that real estate values will increase as insurance premiums favorably adjust and the disposition of future lawsuits distinguishes an obvious difference between compliant and non-compliant properties.

Potential Costs of compliance with Florida Statute 768.0706

As a starting point, property owners should budget $10,000-15,000 for legal services and an experienced security consultancy to conduct the CPTED assessment as required under Florida Statute 768.0706(2)(b).

As discussed later in this guide, we recommend contracting the necessary CPTED assessment through legal counsel as a ‘work product in preparation for litigation’. Although it may be tempting to save money by contracting the CPTED assessment directly and thus bypassing legal counsel, this course of action can inadvertently result in new legal exposure if the property is unprepared to make immediate improvements or the owner decides not pursue compliance after the assessment is completed. Likewise, using the local police department or hiring an inexperienced practitioner to conduct the CPTED assessment can result in significant problems if the findings impose unrealistic expectations for improvement or the assessment report is unprepared for rigorous court challenge.

After the aforementioned expenses, expect there will be costs associated with property improvement to ensure “substantial compliance” with the conditions required by Florida Statute 768.0706(2)(a) and the findings of the CPTED assessment. Based on our experience conducting assessments for over 100 properties, the most common problems requiring address include absence of necessary surveillance cameras, inadequate lighting, problematic landscaping, and absence of access controls for pool areas.

The potential cost of improvements largely depends on the size of the property and its present conditions. If lighting is substandard in parking lots and sidewalks, upgrade costs typically range between $20,000 and $100,000 depending on the extent of problems and property size. Camera upgrades can range between $2,000 and $50,000 depending on the number of new cameras required to monitor “points of entry and exit” and complexities of installation. Prices for access controls for pool areas often vary between $7,000 and $25,000 depending on hardware and software needs. And the cost of landscaping improvements usually ranges between $1,000 and $7,000 according to the extent of problems and decisions about shrubbery replacement.

If the anticipated costs of compliance are high and the property’s risk level is low, it may be prudent to investigate the insurance benefits before committing to a course of action. For others, the capital investment of compliance may be a pittance when compared to a potential million dollar jury verdict.

Roadmap to Compliance with Florida Statute 768.0706 (HB 837)

Once a decision is made to proceed, there are a number of activities involved in achieving and maintaining compliance with Florida Statute 768.0706.

Preliminary Assessment

As a first step, we recommend conducting an internal assessment of conditions specified in Florida Statute 768.0706(2)(a). The objective of this assessment is to determine if the property meets most of the basic requirements of Section A and if there are issues that require remedy before progressing to a documented compliance verification and CPTED assessment by a third party.

See Part 2 of this guide for more information about conducting a preliminary assessment of 768.0706(2)(a) compliance conditions.

After the preliminary assessment, a CPTED assessment is conducted by a Florida CPTED Practitioner for compliance with Florida Statute 768.0706(2)(b). During this assessment, the Florida CPTED Practitioner should also assist in verifying compliance with issues related to 768.0706(2)(a) beyond the technical capabilities of employees (e.g., average parking lot illumination level, CCTV camera coverage, etc.). When completed, the Florida CPTED Practitioner submits a report of findings with proposed measures for improvement.

See Part 3 of this guide for more information about the CPTED Assessment as required Florida Statute 768.0706(2)(b).

After the CPTED assessment is complete, the owner/management company initiates corrective actions as necessary to demonstrate “substantial compliance” with the CPTED assessment and the requirements of Section 768.0706(2)(a). As this process is underway, records of all completed improvements should be maintained for discovery purposes if a court challenge arises.

See Part 4 of this guide for more information about implementation and documentation of corrective actions.

By January 2025, all employees working on the property complete “proper crime deterrence and safety training” in accordance with the curriculum under development by the Florida Crime Prevention Training Institute.

See Part 5 of this guide for more information about employee training as required by Florida Statute 768.0706(2)(c).

After the property has complied with all essential requirements defined by Florida Statute 768.0706, physical conditions must be sustained to ensure the property remains in “substantial compliance,” new employees need to be trained in accordance with Section 768.0706(2)(c), and an updated CPTED assessment needs to be completed within three years.

See Part 6 of this guide for more information about maintaining ongoing compliance with Florida Statute 768.0706.

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Contact Us 

Contact us to schedule a free consultation about achieving compliance with Fla. Stat. § 768.0706 (HB 837) by calling Tel. +01 (727) 461-9417 or by completing the following form:


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