More than 1,600 bills have been filed on a multitude of topics that include affordable housing, community associations and private property rights. Not all bills will pass.
TALLAHASSEE – Florida’s lawmakers kicked off the 2024 legislative session Tuesday to take a deeper dive into issues vital to Florida property owners and Realtors®.
For the 60-day session, legislators have filed 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 several bills that directly impact Florida Realtors® 2024 legislative priorities, including bills that provide more money for the Hometown Heroes Housing Program, increase the amount of funding available for the My Safe Florida program, prevent associations from charging estoppel certificate fees and increasing condominium document transparency. These bills are:
- Senate Bill 328/House Bill 1239: contains an additional $100 million for the successful Hometown Heroes Housing Program, which has already helped more than 14,000 Floridians purchase their first home (see link for full text)
- House Bill 1263: provides an additional $100 million for the popular My Safe Florida home hardening program (see link for full text)
- Senate Bill 278/House Bill 979: prohibits condominium associations and HOAs from charging money for an estoppel certificate (see link for full text)
- Senate Bill 1178/House Bill 1021: provides a variety of changes related to condominium buildings, including lowering the unit threshold that requires an association to place official condominium records on an owner-facing website from 150 to 25 units (see link for full text)
The above bills are specific examples of legislation that is linked to Florida Realtors 2024 legislative priorities, which include:
- Hometown Heroes Housing Program
Last year, the Live Local Act was passed to make significant long-term investments in state homebuying and affordable rental housing programs, as well as incentivizing private investment in state housing programs. The act included an additional $100 million for the Hometown Heroes Housing Program (HHHP), which provides zero-interest loans that are repaid when the home is sold, rented or transferred. The HHHP program was so successful that, in less than two months, the funding was depleted.
Florida Realtors hopes lawmakers will explore additional ways to put new funds into the HHHP program to help more Floridians achieve the dream of homeownership.
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 mid-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 is encouraging lawmakers to support legislation and budget initiatives that would further reduce and eventually eliminate the tax.
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 will be working with lawmakers to support legislation that increases the transparency of community association governing documents, which will help prospective buyers 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.
- Ensuring the public-private partnerships and housing strategies instituted by the Live Local Act are implemented as required by law.
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