SARASOTA, Fla. (April 3, 2023) – Every year, REALTORS® throughout the state of Florida visit Tallahassee to directly lobby our state lawmakers on legislative issues that directly affect REALTORS® and homeowners. From March 29 – 31, leaders from the REALTOR® Association of Sarasota and Manatee (RASM) visited the state capitol to serve as advocates for our 9,000+ members, as well as homeowners and commercial property owners.
RASM members met with Senator Jim Boyd, Senator Joe Gruters, Representative James Buchanan, Representative Tommy Gregory, Representative Will Robinson and Representative Fiona McFarland. Here are some of the legislative priorities that were focused on during the session.
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 signed into law on Wednesday, March 29 by Governor DeSantis. This pro-housing bill backed by Florida Realtors® is helping to support state or local public infrastructure projects to facilitate the development or construction of affordable housing.
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 your business, as well as addressing rising property insurance costs.
Water Quality and Environmental Funding
Our water bodies, water ways, 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® will 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.
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. Among other reforms supported by Florida Realtors®, lawmakers eliminated the one-way attorney fee and the Assignment of Benefits provisions that have been major contributors to rising premiums and a lack of affordable options.
REALTOR® License Plate
REALTORS® are an essential part of the process of buying and selling property. Many REALTORS® also perform a host of other important duties such as property management, appraisals, real estate education, community development and much more.
During the May 2022 Special Session, lawmakers passed important reforms designed to increase the safety of condominium buildings. Included in these reforms are measures that require milestone inspections in every county and a structural integrity reserve study that determines the reserves condominium associations must maintain an essential building repair and maintenance.
Private Property Rights
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.
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.
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 2005-2008 “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.
Prevent Harmful Ordinances
Local governments have the right to enact regulations that protect and improve the communities within their jurisdiction. However, the negative impacts of these regulations on local businesses is now always considered or properly evaluated.
For more information about these issues and how you can get involved, contact RASM’s Government Affairs Department at Max@MyRASM.com.