More than 1,600 bills have been filed on topics that include Citizens Property Insurance, flood disclosures and HOA rules. Not all bills will make it to discussion.
TALLAHASSEE – Florida’s lawmakers are expected to kick off the 2024 legislative session today, taking a deeper dive into issues vital to Florida property owners and Realtors®.
During the 60-day session, legislators have more than 1,600 bills on a variety of topics for review. Anything passed during the session will still need the governor’s review and approval. He also has the option to veto bills.
Lawmakers have filed bills that address property insurance costs, although major decisions are not expected since the special session in November. Instead, several bills that would provide more access to the state’s Citizens Property Insurance Corp. have been proposed. Others include a bill requiring flood disclosures in a sale, but it’s unclear if it will make it to the discussion phase of the session. Also on the table are bills that allow teens to work more hours and changing the state bird from the Florida scrub jay to the American flamingo.
Other bills up for discussion include:
Creates a Department of Commerce grand program for mortgage loans, homeowners and vehicle insurance payments for Floridians. (see link for full text)
Requires HOAs to provide copies of the association’s rules and covenants to every member. (see link for full text)
Defines lawful termination of a rental agreement and caps rent increases to 30% once a year. Requires certain landlords to provide air conditioning under specific circumstances. (see link for full text)
Creates an Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council to create a statewide policy regarding AI use. (see link for full text)
In addition, Florida Realtors® is watching:
- Hometown Heroes Housing Program
Last year, the Live Local Act was passed to make significant long-term investments in state homebuying, affordable rental housing and incentivized private investment in state housing programs. The act included an additional $100 million for the Hometown Heroes Housing Program, which provides zero-interest loans that are repaid when the home is sold, rented or transferred. The program was so successful that, in less than two months, the funding was depleted. The Florida Housing Finance Corporation used funding from other sources to meet the needs.
Florida Realtors hopes lawmakers will explore additional ways to put new funds into the program to help more Floridians achieve homeownership.
- Business rent tax
Previous legislatures worked to lower the state sale tax rate on commercial leases, which was once 6% but currently stands at 4.5% and will drop to 2% in 2024. Many Florida businesses feel the pinch from the tax, particularly since local governments often add local option taxes on top. Small businesses, which make up almost 99% of all Florida employers, are often disproportionally impacted by the tax because they are more likely to rent their location.
Florida Realtors wants lawmakers to support legislation and budget initiatives that would further reduce, and eventually, eliminate the tax.
- Condominium reforms
Since the 2021 collapse of the Champlain Towers South building in Surfside, lawmakers have passed several reforms to increase the safety of existing condominiums and ensure prospective buyers are better informed about the building’s physical and financial condition. At the same time, some of these reforms have increased the cost of condominium ownership.
Florida Realtors hopes lawmakers will support legislation that increases the transparency of community association governing documents, which will allow buyers and sellers to make more informed decisions.
Other topics important to Florida Realtors include:
- Additional funding for the My Safe Florida Home Program, which provides funding for free home inspections and matches funding for home enhancements to harden homes against storms.
- Continued state funding to protect Florida’s natural resources, including the Everglades, springs, parks and beaches.
- Legislation and funding that addresses water quality issues, including failed septic systems, algae blooms and rising sea levels.
- Legislation that creates a statewide, uniform system of regulations for vacation rentals and gives local governments the authority to pass uniform ordinances related to residential properties.
- Ensuring the public-private partnerships and housing strategies instituted by the Live Local Act are implemented as required by law.
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