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New Fla. Real Estate Laws Go into Effect July 1

A number of real-estate-related bills passed in the 2022 Florida Legislature and were signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, including the Hometown Heroes program.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – From the environment to mortgage aid, septic tanks to licensing, a roster of new Florida laws passed by the 2022 Florida Legislature and signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis go into effect Friday. They include:

Hometown Heroes – The 2022-2023 fiscal year budget (HB 5001) include $100 million to fund the Hometown Hero Housing Program backed strongly by Florida Realtors®. The revolving loan program provides some upfront homeownership costs to help qualified firefighters, law enforcement officers, teachers, nurses and other hometown hero professions become homeowners. It provides zero-interest loans to help with down payment and closing costs. The loan is repaid once the home is sold, rented or refinanced, creating a continuous cycle of homeownership for some of Florida’s essential workers.

Home hardening and other tax breaks for Floridians – HB 7071 includes the “home hardening” initiative, a 2022 Florida Realtors’ legislative priority that provides sales tax relief to homeowners who harden their homes from storms. The bill also includes an abatement of all property taxes for owners of the condos that collapsed in Surfside, pro-rated refunds of property taxes on residential properties rendered uninhabitable by a catastrophic event for at least 30 days, a sales tax reduction on new mobile homes and several sales tax holidays

Flooding and sea level rise resilience – HB 7053 establishes the Statewide Office of Resilience within the Governor’s Office, with the governor appointing the Chief Resiliency Officer. It sets a minimum of $100 million in funding to be identified annually in a comprehensive and ranked list of resilience projects.

Private property rights – SB 518 helps property owners who wish to prune, trim and remove trees that present a danger to their property by strengthening a 2019 law passed that prohibits local governments from requiring permits for the removal of “dangerous” trees on residential property.

Water quality – HB 965 creates a public/private partnership-oriented approach to improving water quality by authorizing the creation of water quality enhancement areas – natural systems constructed, operated, managed and maintained to provide offsite regional treatment through enhancement credits.

Preventing unlicensed real estate activity – The Legislature allocated up to $500,000 in the 2022-2023 fiscal year budget (HB 5001) to combat unlicensed real estate activity.

Everglades –The 2022-2023 fiscal year budget (HB 5001) that goes into effect July 1 includes money for Everglades Restoration ($425 million), Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration ($450 million), springs restoration ($75 million), beaches ($50 million), Biscayne Bay ($20 million), the Wastewater Grant Program ($125 million) and the Resilient Florida Grant Program ($470 million).

Septic system inspections – SB 856 makes private inspections an option for onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems, also known as septic systems. Cities and counties have dealt with a backlog of septic inspections for years, partially because of the number of inspectors and workload. This bill allows an authorized contractor to hire a private provider to inspect the system in addition to the inspections performed by public inspectors.

Landfills – HB 1419 creates a Municipal Solid Waste-to-Energy program to address the amount of municipal solid waste created in Florida, particularly in highly populated areas that don’t have the space or ability to permit new landfills.

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