Florida Real Estate Legislation Roundup: What Passed and What Didn't

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The recent legislative session in Florida has seen a number of real estate-related bills passed, which now await the governor's signature. Meanwhile, some proposals were unsuccessful, including one that aimed to allow the demolition of properties in historic districts across coastal cities. Here's an overview of the key real estate legislation that passed or failed during this session:

SB 102 - Affordable Housing: Signed into law, this landmark bill incentivizes developers to build affordable and workforce housing, sets aside over $700 million in funding, and supersedes local zoning rules. It becomes effective on July 1.

HB 1355/SB 264 - Restricting Foreign Investment in Real Estate: These sister bills, already signed into law, restrict foreign investment in Florida real estate from certain countries, including China, Venezuela, Cuba, Russia, Iran, Korea, and Syria. The legislation has faced criticism for its potential discriminatory impact on the foreign buyer condo market in South Florida and for banning parents of Chinese students attending Florida colleges from buying condos or homes for their children.

SB 154 - Condo Associations: This bill, awaiting the governor's signature, seeks to clarify aspects of the condo safety law passed last year in response to the tragic Surfside condo collapse. The new legislation gives local municipalities some enforcement authority and makes it easier for boards to pass larger budgets without requiring a special meeting.

SB 1114/HB 919 - HOA Oversight: These bills, which strengthen oversight on homeowners association boards, were passed and now await the governor's signature. They were created in response to the alleged $3 million fraud at the Hammocks HOA in Kendall. The Homeowners Associations Bill of Rights, as it's called, imposes monetary damages on HOA officers, directors, or managers who knowingly solicit or accept kickbacks.

SB 540/HB 359 - Challenging Local Approvals: This measure, passed and awaiting the governor's signature, requires anyone who sues local governments over development approvals to pay the municipalities' legal fees if they lose. The law is expected to discourage development approval challenges.

SB 1356/HB 1317 - Demolitions: This unsuccessful legislation would have stripped local municipalities of their authority to determine if buildings and other structures could be demolished, as well as what could be built in their place. The proposal was expected to fuel speculative property sales and demolitions of historic buildings in coastal cities such as Miami Beach and Palm Beach.

Florida's recent legislative session saw the passage of several real estate-related bills, addressing affordable housing, foreign investment restrictions, and condo association regulations. While some proposals were unsuccessful, the overall impact of these new laws will shape the real estate landscape in Florida for years to come.

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