In March, I had the privilege of joining my fellow Realtors across the state of Florida for the annual Great American Realtor Days in Tallahassee. This trip offered us the chance to meet with our elected officials and advocate for important issues that impact homeowners, commercial property owners, and real estate professionals alike. As a Realtor association representing over 9,000 members, advocating for our industry is a vital part of what we do.

More than two dozen members from RASM joined our group to meet with Sens. Jim Boyd and Joe Gruters and Reps. James Buchanan, Tommy Gregory, Will Robinson and Fiona McFarland. Here are some of the legislative priorities that we and the state association, Florida Realtors, advocated for during the session:

Affordable housing

Florida continues to face an affordable housing crisis as more people move to the state in search of a comfortable climate and lower taxes. A big win was accomplished in the fight for affordable housing measures. On Friday, March 24, the Florida Legislature passed SB 102, the “Live Local” plan, which was swiftly signed into law on Wednesday, March 29 by Gov. DeSantis. This transformational pro-housing bill backed by Florida Realtors increases funding for homeownership assistance programs, incentivizes the construction of affordable housing, and prevents local governments from standing in the way of affordable housing projects.

Rent control and landlord-tenant law

Rent control isn’t a new concept. It’s been tried in other cities and the results end up the same – the local housing pipeline is disrupted as developers look for more stable areas to build their units. This eventually leads to less available housing overall and a significant negative impact on the local economy. We are fighting against rent control and landlord-tenant laws that cause disruptions to the housing market and our members’ businesses. To help protect affordable housing development in Florida and ensure that newly enacted affordable housing policies have a chance to work, Florida Realtors asks lawmakers to support HB 1417 and SB 1586, which protect landlord-tenant law in Chapter 83 of Florida Statutes by preempting local governments from passing burdensome regulations outside of state law. Supporting these preemptions will allow long-term affordable housing strategies to take root, leading to more units being built successfully and more competition that drives rent down.

Rising property insurance costs

Florida Realtors applauds the Florida Legislature for taking unprecedented steps during the 2021 Legislative Session, May 2022 Special Session, and December 2022 Special Session to stabilize Florida’s deteriorating property insurance market. Florida Realtors supported several reforms, including the removal of the one-way attorney fee and Assignment of Benefits provisions, which have been the main drivers behind the increasing premiums and lack of affordable options. We recognize that comprehensive property insurance reform takes time to produce relief for policyholders, and while insurers and reinsurers gradually re-enter the market, we urge lawmakers to continue monitoring the efficacy of these reforms to ensure that they are attracting insurance capital back to Florida as quickly as possible.

Private property rights

Being able to rent your home is a fundamental right of private property owners. Vacation rental units have also become a critical part of Florida’s successful tourism-based economy, producing billions of dollars of economic activity each year. Despite this, many local governments continue to enact new, overly burdensome ordinances designed to discourage property owners from exercising their right to rent their property. Florida Realtors encourages state lawmakers to support legislation that creates a uniform statewide system of regulations for vacation rentals and gives local governments the authority to pass ordinances related to residential properties as long as they apply to all residential properties.

Water quality and environmental funding

Our water bodies, waterways, springs and other natural wonders are the foundation of our communities and must be protected if Florida wants to remain one of the fastest growing and successful states in the nation. Florida Realtors continue to advocate for Florida’s natural resources and will also encourage all stakeholders, including the state of Florida, to do their part to help solve environmental problems.

Reduce unnecessary lawsuits

The current laws in Florida regarding telephone marketing practices are out of sync with federal law, creating situations where businesses and real estate brokerages are being caught up in class action lawsuits, even though they are following the state law. Real estate appraisers have been faced with frivolous lawsuits by overly litigious law firms alleging defects in appraisals performed for mortgage transactions originated during the 2005-08 “real estate bubble” that have gone into default. Because some of these appraisals were performed many years ago, the appraiser does not have the ability to adequately defend themselves.

Business rent tax

Florida Realtors is grateful for the support of the 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021 Florida Legislatures, which worked to lower the state sales tax rate on commercial space. Because of their efforts, the state sales tax rate on business rent is estimated to drop to 2% in 2024. Lowering the business rent tax further will provide Florida businesses with the capital to expand, hire more employees, raise salaries, and invest in their business in other ways.

Even though we’re back from our annual Tallahassee trip, we will continue to fight for these issues throughout the year. For more information about these issues and how you can get involved, contact RASM’s Government Affairs Department at

This article was originally published in the Herald-Tribune.