The 2019 legislative session in Tallahassee concluded in early May. Several new bills affecting real estate investors were passed and are headed to Governor DeSantis for signature. For real estate investors, this session was definitely more about what did not pass than what did get voted into law. Here is a summary of what happened from my layman’s interpretation. Please consult your own attorney, if you have specific questions with any of these new laws. You can read the full text of all these bills at: https://myfloridahouse.gov .
HB 7103. This was a big one that we were heavily monitoring. There was problematic language that would require anyone loaning money for a mortgage in Florida to obtain a mortgage license. The original SB 1632 bill which was then combined into SB 1730 had this language in it. Thankfully through the efforts of many private lenders including a lot of real estate investors, this language got swapped out at the last minute. The bill that ended up passing did not have the problematic language. Big thanks to all of our members who reached out to their legislators to stop this licensing requirement from happening. HB 7103 did pass and will be effective upon being signed by the governor, but it did not contain the mortgage language that had people so concerned. This is a big victory for us.
HB 447. This bill allows cities and counties to close out old expired and open permits after 6 years from when they were issued as long as no safety hazards are apparent. Any investor who has been flipping houses for any length of time knows how these old permits can sometimes delay or even kill a deal. It goes into effect October 1, 2019.
HB 7123. This is a reduction of the business rent sales tax. Florida is the only state in the country that I am aware of that charges a sales tax on commercial tenant leases. This rate was reduced slightly already in 2017 and 2018. This law reduces the tax even further. The new sales tax rate on commercial tenant leases will be 5.5% of the gross rent. This law goes into effect on January 1, 2020.
SB 82. This bans local governments from regulating property owner’s vegetable gardens and voids any existing local ordinances already in effect. A win for private property rights. The law is effective July 1, 2019.
Several real estate related bills that we were closely monitoring did not pass.
HB 153 / SB 1248 would have required landlords to provide tenants with a “physical copy” of the restrictive covenants and HOA documents prior to moving into a property.
HB 389 / SB 1332 would have required landlords to provide a copy of their tobacco smoking policy prior to signing a lease.
HB 987 / SB 824 would have taken jurisdiction of short-term (Air BNB) rentals to the state level instead of being regulated by local ordinances.
HB 551 / SB 668 would have declared certain properties where criminal activity was potentially taking place as public nuisances.
SB 1086 would have put prohibitions on landlords who were evicting a tenant who was involved in certain domestic violence situations.
HB 721 / SB 1128 would have created specific definitions and regulations for “emotional support animals” in residential housing.
HB 6053 / SB 1390 would have allowed local cities to impose rent control ordinances.
HB 1283 / SB 1794 would have created new legislation, very unfriendly to investors, affecting the Landlord Tenant Act.
HB 1349 / SB 1592 would have made lots of new changes to the assisted living facility laws.
Fortunately the bills directly above failed and did not become law. However as the state grows, more and more unfriendly regulations tend to creep into Florida from other areas of the country. That is why it is important that real estate investors stay vigilant in defending our private property rights.
Together we are stronger.