2020 Florida legislative changes affecting real estate investors

Real Estate Agent with Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc. BK627826

Florida’s 2020 legislative session concluded in mid-March 2020.  Several new bills affecting real estate investors were passed and sent to Governor Ron DeSantis for signature.  Fortunately for rea lestate investors, a bunch of anti-investor bills failed.  Here is my layman’s perspective on what happened.  You can read the full text of all these bills at: https://myfloridahouse.gov . As always please consult your own attorney, if you have specific questions about any of these new bills as they become law.

SB 1084 regarding support animals in landlord/tenant situations. This bill defines the previously somewhat vague term of “emotional support animals.” It allows for more detailed screening of applicants and their animals. It provides criminal penalties for fraud and abuse by tenants and health care providers. This bill has an effective date of July 1, 2020.  You can read the full text of the bill at: https://myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Documents/loaddoc.aspx?FileName=_s1084er.DOCX&DocumentType=Bill&BillNumber=1084&Session=2020

HB 625 regarding nuisance properties.  This bill allows the sheriff’s office to declare certain properties where criminal or gang-related activity is occurring to be deemed public nuisances and subject to fines and forfeiture actions. Effective date of July 1, 2020.  You can read the full text of the bill at: https://myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Documents/loaddoc.aspx?FileName=_h0625er.docx&DocumentType=Bill&BillNumber=0625&Session=2020

HB 1339 regarding affordable housing.  This is a lengthy bill that affects affordable housing funds a/k/a (Sadowski funds) as well as residential and commercial development, mobile home parks, impact fee waivers, and more.  Effective date of July 1, 2020.  You can read the full text of the bill at: https://myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Documents/loaddoc.aspx?FileName=_h1339e2.docx&DocumentType=Bill&BillNumber=1339&Session=2020

HB 469 regarding witnesses on leases.  This bill eliminates the requirement for leases over 1-year to have 2 subscribing witnesses to the landlord’s signature.  Effective date of July 1, 2020.  You can read the full text of the bill at: https://myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Documents/loaddoc.aspx?FileName=_h0469er.docx&DocumentType=Bill&BillNumber=0469&Session=2020

The above bills are all subject to the Florida governor approving and signing them before they can go into effect.  Many real estate related bills that we were monitoring DID NOT pass.  Here is a rundown of those.

SB 274 would have put prohibitions on landlords who were evicting a tenant who was involved in certain domestic violence situations.

HB 321 / SB 480 would have put a hiatus on evictions during a declared “state of emergency.”

HB 1011 / SB 1128 would have taken all regulation of short-term rentals out of local cities’ and counties’ jurisdiction and raised it to the state level.  This would have pre-empted and canceled out ordinances recently enacted in Clermont, Cocoa Beach, and Seminole County.

HB 1141 / SB 1778 would have exempted “small business” from paying sales & use tax on their commercial rent payments.

HB 1449 / SB 1022 / SB 1852 would have made it easier for tenants to fight an eviction and rent increases. 

HB 6013 / SB 910 would have allowed local cities and counties to impose rent control ordinances.

HB 6069 / SB 1528 would allow tenants to avoid paying rent into the court registry during an eviction.

Just because the bills directly above failed does not mean that similar bills will not continue to get filed in future legislative sessions.  Happy investing.  

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