2024 Legislative Final Report
View of the Old Florida Capitol Building from across the Capitol courtyard
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Realtor Advocacy Results in 2024 Legislative Session Victories

A look at how Florida Realtors helped shape legislation to benefit the state's real estate industry during the 2024 Legislative Session.
Infographic of 2024 legislative victories mirroring text in article

The Realtor voice was responsible for numerous victories during the 2024 Legislative Session that will benefit the profession, property owners and communities throughout Florida.

One of the largest advocacy successes this year came in the form of a $100 million infusion of funding into the Hometown Heroes Housing Program. Since 2021, this highly successful first-time homebuying program has already helped more than 14,000 hard-working Floridians buy their first home. With this additional funding it stands to help thousands more when the money becomes available after July 1, 2024.

Other significant legislative victories include:

  • $408 million for state and local programs that increase affordable housing options for Floridians.
  •  $1.2 billion for water quality and environmental projects to keep Florida clean and beautiful.  
  • $230 million to help Floridians harden their homes and condominiums against storms while saving on insurance premiums.
  •  Increased transparency and availability of condominium and HOA documentation.
  • A decrease in Floridians’ property insurance premiums.
  • The creation of a seller flood disclosure so buyers can make informed decisions and reduce post-closing disputes.
  • A streamlined process for sheriffs to remove squatters occupying residential property.

These wins are in addition to numerous other laws passed by lawmakers that impact Realtors and their businesses during the 60-day session that ended on March 8, 2024. Bills passed head to the governor for final approval. 

2024 Realtor priority wins

More Money for the Hometown Heroes Housing Program: SB 328, injects an additional $100 million into the successful Hometown Heroes Housing Program (HHHP), the dynamic first-time homebuyer program for hard-working Floridians. It also builds on the policies created in last year’s Live Local Act that spur private investment in affordable housing, and it clarifies changes to local zoning, height and density regulations to ensure counties and cities have the guidance they need to create more affordable housing options in their areas.  Effective upon becoming law with HHHP funding effective July 1, 2024.

$408 Million for State and Local Affordable Housing Programs: Lawmakers allocated $408 million in the 2024-2025 fiscal year budget (HB 5001) to the State and Local Government Housing Trust Funds. This includes $174 million for the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) which includes downpayment and closing cost assistance programs, and $234 million for the State Apartment Incentive Loan program (SAIL) which helps build affordable rental housing. Please note that the SAIL funding includes $150 million in recurring funding as specified in the 2023 Live Local Act. Effective: July 1, 2024.

My Safe Florida Home Program Gets More Funding: SB 7028 includes $200 million for the My Safe Florida Home Program (MSFH) so more Floridians can protect their homes against storms and reduce their insurance premiums. The bill also allows homeowners to receive inspections without having to apply for a grant, lets low-income homeowners receive up to $10,000 without having to match the amount, and mandates the program administrator to streamline the grant process while prioritizing reviews based on income and age, among other things. Effective July 1, 2024.

New My Safe Florida Condominium Pilot Program Created: HB 1029 expands the My Safe Florida Home Program to include condominiums. This expansion would allocate $30 million to help condominiums within 15 miles of the coast harden roofs and openings against storms. Effective July 1, 2024.

Property Insurance Cost Reductions for Floridians: Florida imposes a 1.75% tax on most Florida insurance premiums. HB 7073 requires insurers to give homestead property owners a deduction on their residential property insurance premiums in the amount of 1.75 percent of the policyholder’s total premium. This applies to policies with coverage for a 12-month period and effective after October 1, 2024, and before September 30, 2025. Effective July 1, 2024.

Increased Transparency of Condominium Documents: HB 1021 requires an association managing a condominium with 25 (previously 150) or more units to post digital copies of official condominium documents on its website. These documents include condominium bylaws and rules, articles of incorporation, declaration of condominium, annual financial statements and budget, the FAQ sheet, building inspection reports, and reserve studies. Effective July 1, 2024.

Increased Transparency of HOA Documents: Two bills passed this year that significantly increase the transparency and availability of homeowner’s association (HOA) documents.  HB 1203 requires that by January 1, 2025, homeowners’ associations with 100 or more parcels must maintain official records on their website or an app. Additionally, HB 59 requires homeowners’ associations to deliver a physical or digital copy of their rules and covenants to all members and new members. Effective July 1, 2024.

Over $1.2 Billion for the Everglades and Water Quality: The Florida Legislature continues to allocate significant funding for projects that improve Florida’s water quality. The 2024-2025 fiscal year budget (HB 5001) includes money for Everglades restoration ($581 million), the C-51 Reservoir ($100 million), Biscayne Bay ($20 million), the Indian River Lagoon ($75 million), the Caloosahatchee River & St. Lucie Estuaries ($25 million), harmful algal blooms ($30 million), springs restoration ($55 million), beach management funding assistance ($50 million), total maximum daily loads ($25 million), the Wastewater Grant Program ($135 million), Resilient Florida Grant Program ($125 million) and Alternative Water Supply ($55 million). Effective: July 1, 2024.

Seller Flood Disclosure: HB 1049 requires a seller to disclose in writing certain flood information to a prospective purchaser at or before executing a contract for the sale of residential property. This disclosure will help buyers make more informed decisions about a property and reduce the number of post-closing disputes that occur. Effective October 1, 2024.

Protecting Private Property Rights: HB 621 addresses issues with unauthorized squatters who occupy private property. The bill aims to quickly restore possession of such property to the lawful owner by allowing the property owner or their agent to request the immediate removal of unlawfully occupying persons from a residential dwelling. Effective July 1, 2024.

Preventing Unlicensed Real Estate Activity: The 2024-2025 fiscal year budget (HB 5001) allocates up to $500,000 to combat unlicensed real estate activity. Effective: July 1, 2024.

Evaluating the Impact of Lookback Periods: The 2024-2025 fiscal year budget (HB 5001) includes $500,000 for the Department of Financial Services to study the benefits and long-term effects of Lookback periods. When established by local governments, Lookback periods apply to properties located in special flood zones. When owners of these homes seek to remodel, rennovate or repair the home, the costs cannot equal or exceed 50% of the home’s depreciated market value within the applicable Lookback period without having to be brought up to current flood zone standards. Effective: July 1, 2024.

Additional 2024 Realtor wins

Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR): HB 1335 is a wide-ranging DBPR bill that initially included language repealing the requirement that real estate licensee applicants pass the state examination within two years of passing the prelicensure course. Given the complex nature of real estate transactions and the frequency at which the laws governing them change, Florida Realtors was able to work with lawmakers to amend the bill to remove this real estate licensee provision. Effective July 1, 2024.

Continuing Education Requirements: SB 382 removes the continuing education requirements for certain licensees regulated by DBPR who have held their license continuously for at least 10 years. An earlier version of the bill included real estate licensees in these changes, but lawmakers removed them after Florida Realtors explained the value of continuing education in the real estate profession. Effective July 1, 2024.

Other bills of Interest

Vacation Rentals: SB 280 preempts the licensing of vacation rentals to the state but allows local governments to create a vacation rental registration program. The bill also would require advertising platforms to collect and remit taxes for certain transactions, limit local government registration requirements, allow local governments to revoke a registration under certain conditions, allows local governments to fine a vacation rental operator under certain conditions, and require advertisements to attest to certain information, among other things. Effective July 1, 2024.

Interstate Mobility: In an effort to attract professions needed to keep up with Florida’s continued growth, SB 1600 provides a truncated path to licensure for professionals in other states who would be regulated by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation in Florida. Effective July 1, 2024.

Improvements to Real Property: SB 770 provides consumer protections and disclosures to Florida’s PACE Program. The bill authorizes PACE administrators to offer financing programs for improvements to residential and commercial properties upon authorization by a local government. It establishes the conditions under which a property owner can apply for financing, including ascertaining certain financial information. It specifies the process and criteria for entering into financing agreements, including required disclosure and advisory notices for certain improvements. It requires PACE administrators to post an annual report on their website with information on the program’s operations and mandates an operational audit of each program administrator by the Auditor General every three years. Effective: July 1, 2024.   

Annual Adjustment to Homestead Exemption Value and Exemption of Homesteads: HB 7017 and HB 7019 propose an amendment to the State Constitution requiring the $25,000 of assessed value which is exempt from all ad valorem taxes other than school district taxes be adjusted annually for inflation. If approved by voters it would take effect January 1, 2025. 

Department of Environmental Protection: HB 1557 requires the Department of Environmental Protection to conduct enforcement activities for violations of certain onsite sewage treatment and disposal system regulations in accordance with specified provisions and requires certain facilities and systems to include a domestic wastewater treatment plan as part of a basin management action plan for nutrient total maximum daily loads, among other things. Effective July 1, 2024.    

Ratification of the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Rules Relating to Stormwater: SB 7040 ratifies Florida rule 62-330.010, related to environmental resource permitting and makes changes to certain sections of the rule, specifying requirements and exemptions for various stormwater management systems and construction projects. The changes include provisions for grandfathering existing projects and exempting certain projects from new amendments to the rule. In 2020, Florida passed a law called the Clean Waterways Act to protect water quality. The law requires DEP and others to update rules for managing stormwater, which can pollute water, and the Florida rulemaking process requires legislative ratification when any rule goes beyond specified thresholds regarding adverse impacts or increased regulatory costs. Effective upon becoming law. 

Citizens Property Insurance Corporation: HB 1503 allows surplus lines insurers to take second homes out of Citizens. In the bill, a second home includes properties that are not owner or tenant occupied for more than nine months. This change in the law would not include homestead properties, meaning surplus lines insurers could not take homestead policyholders out of Citizens. Effective July 1, 2024.

Residential Building Permits: HB 267 requires governing bodies to create a program to expedite the process for issuing residential building permits. The bill also provides requirements for governing bodies & applicants and authorizes applicants to use a private provider for certain reviews. Additionally, the bill authorizes governing bodies to issue a temporary parcel identification number and revises provisions relating to acquiring building permits for residential dwellings and reduces permit fees. Effective January 1, 2025.     

Attorney Fees and Costs: SB 702 allows courts to award attorney fees and costs in legal matters involving private property-related disputes. Under the bills, the court must award reasonable attorney fees and costs to the prevailing defendant if the improvements made to the property by the defendant were done in substantial compliance with, or in reliance on, environmental or regulatory approvals or permits issued by a state agency or political subdivision. The bill defines the term property rights for this section of law to include, but not limited to, use rights, ingress and egress rights, and those rights incident to land bordering upon navigable waters. Effective upon becoming law.

Expedited Approval of Residential Building Permits:  SB 812 requires certain governing bodies to create or update a program to expedite the process for issuing residential building permits, among other things. Effective upon becoming law.

Bills that did not pass

While numerous real estate-related bills and budget items passed this year, some did not cross the finish line.

Estoppel Certificates: SB 278 and HB 979 would have prohibited charging any fees for estoppel certificates. Ultimately, the bills died on the last day of session.

Taxation: SB 1030 and HB 1001 would have authorized a county or school board to exclude rent or license fees from the discretionary sales surtax imposed, under certain conditions, upon other provisions.   

Tangible Personal Property Tax Exemption: HB 7075 and HB 7077 would have proposed an amendment to the State Constitution requiring an increase in ad valorem tax exemption on assessed value of tangible personal property from twenty-five thousand dollars to fifty thousand dollars.

Local Business Taxes: HB 609 and SB 1144 would have repealed Florida Statute Chapter 205 in its entirety. Chapter 205 authorizes the Local Business Tax, which represents the taxes charged and the method by which a local government grants the privilege of engaging in or managing any business, profession, and occupation within its jurisdiction. Counties and municipalities may levy a business tax, and the tax proceeds are considered general revenue for the local government. This tax does not refer to any fees or licenses paid to any board, commission, or officer for permits, registration, examination, or inspection. To levy a business tax, the governing body must first give at least 14 days of public notice between the first and last reading of the resolution or ordinance by publishing a notice in a newspaper of general circulation within its jurisdiction. The public notice must contain the proposed classifications and rates applicable to the business tax. A number of other conditions for levy are imposed on counties and municipalities.