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Final 2020 Session Committee Week 

The final committee week leading up to the 2020 legislative session is complete and lawmakers made sure it was a busy one. Before we go into some of the more relevant updates, I wanted to highlight our partnership with state-wide housing advocates to support homeownership programs. 
This week, Florida Realtors® joined the Florida Housing Coalition at the state capitol to thank Governor DeSantis for recommending full funding of the housing trust funds.
“Each year, Florida’s Governor releases budget recommendations in advance of the legislative session, which runs for 60 days and begins on Jan. 14, 2020,” says Danielle Scoggins, Florida Realtors® vice president of public policy. “We are excited that Governor DeSantis has again recommended full funding of the housing trust funds – including $267.2 million for the State Housing Initiative Partnership (SHIP) Program which directly helps Floridians achieve the dream of homeownership.”

Housing advocates are urging the legislature to take the Governor’s lead and appropriate housing trust funds for critical housing programs, such as down payment and closing cost assistance.


This week, the Senate Environmental Policy Committee passed SB 712. The major topics in the bill include onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems (OSTDSs, commonly referred to as septic systems), wastewater and storm water. One major highlight of the bill is the transferring of oversight of the state’s septic program from the Department of Health to the Department of Environmental Protection. The bill also addresses some findings from the Blue-Green Algae Task Force which would help curb the blooms that tend to occur after large rain events in South Florida. The house version of this bill has not yet been released but is being discussed. It will come out during the early weeks of session.

Commercial Leases

HB 469 by Rep. Wyman Duggan passed the House Civil Justice Subcommittee by a 12-0 vote on Thursday, December 12th. The bill repeals the two subscribing witnesses requirement for leases longer than one year. Florida is one of only five states that require certain lease agreements to be witnessed.    

Discriminatory Restrictive Covenants

SB 810 by Sen. Keith Perry passed the Senate Judiciary Committee by a 4-0 vote on Tuesday, December 10th. The bill extinguishes certain discriminatory restrictive covenants from the governing documents of a community association.

The 2020 legislative session begins on Jan. 14th so keep an eye out for my next update during that time period. Until then, I hope you all have a safe and joyous holiday season.


Danielle Scoggins
Vice President of Public Policy
Florida Realtors®

(Content from Florida Realtors Legislative Update on 12/16/19)

REALTOR® Political Action Committee (RPAC)

REALTOR® Political Action Committee (RPAC) is a voluntary political action committee whose membership consists of REALTORS® interested in actively and effectively protecting the real estate industry by participating in government affairs at the local, state and federal levels. Members are asked to donate to RPAC through CFCAR and support our continued efforts to gain a discount of the Business Rent Tax in Florida and more...

End of Year Message from CCIM Chapter Legislative Chair, Claudette Bruck

As the year comes to a close, I would like to wish all safe and enjoyable holidays, however you celebrate them.

Additionally, I don’t want to miss the chance to toot the horn for progress made on legislative causes that are both commercial related and commercially relevant -- sales tax on commercial leases, known as the business tax; the Sadowski Trust Fund; and Flood Insurance.


Once again, a short-term extension (the 14th) was signed that will keep the National Flood Insurance Program alive until December 20th. I, for one, am asking Santa Claus who is scheduled to arrive on 12/25 to once and for all bring about much needed reform to include updated flood mapping, mitigation opportunities and options for a private flood insurance market. Federally backed mortgages in

special flood hazard areas designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency are required by Federal law to carry flood insurance. Please put this on your list as well…thank you.


Aw yes, how well it make sense when Realtors for the first time agreed to an increase in documentary stamps for the creation of this trust fund to provide for affordable housing; and, how long we have lamented that decision as the legislature contuse to raid those funds to be used for other purposes; even though there is no need of shortage of affordable housing assistance, Florida Realtors has led the fight each year, seeking to increase the amount of this fund to be left to be used for affordable programs. The Governor this year made stopping the raid a priority, however, the funds continue to be used for other purposes. FR will continue to make this a priority, as will the governor.


Reduction of the sales tax on commercial leases, now known as the business tax, continues to be a priority for FR and commercial practitioners; since Florida is the only state that charges this tax, creating an unfair playing field in Florida. The initial goal was to get the legislature to stop taxing business in this way, however, over time it became apparent that our best effort would be to work toward reduction of the rate with the goal of phasing it out. Success has been slow, but the rate was reduced in 2018 to 5.7% and effective January 1, 2020 will be reduced to 5.5%. The real value here is that there is some momentum in reducing the rate.

Legislatively speaking,

Claudette Bruck, CCIM Chapter Legislative Chair

2019 Session - FINAL REPORT - May 7, 2019


Florida Realtors Legislative Victories  - Posted May 4, 2019

  • Remedies to Open and Expired Permits — Open and expired permits can delay a closing, and in some cases, kill the deal because of the uncertainty associated with them. To address the problem, HB 447 allows local governments to close a permit six years after its issuance as long as no apparent safety hazards exist. It also prevents local governments from penalizing property owners for an open permit that was applied for by a previous owner. Effective: October 1, 2019.
  • Approval of Online Remote Notaries — HB 409 allows the use of online remote notaries in real estate transactions to make closings easier, faster and more convenient for distant parties. Effective: January 1, 2020.
  • Curbing AOB Abuse to Keep Insurance Affordable — HB 7065 limits the ability of contractors to receive payment for their attorney fees if the claim is settled or won in court. This is commonly referred to as one-way attorney fees and is the primary incentive behind AOB fraud. Please note, all provisions of the bill become effective on July 1, 2019, except for provisions relating to attorney fees which become effective upon the bill being signed into law.
  • $682 Million for Environmental Projects — Communities throughout Florida were devastated last year by environmental issues such as blue-green algae and red tide. The Legislature responded with significant amounts of funding for environmental projects designed to address these problems. Effective: July 1, 2019.
  • Additional Reduction to the Business Rent Tax — Businesses throughout Florida will save more than $65 million each year due to a .2% reduction of the Business Rent Tax. The new state tax rate on commercial leases will be 5.5%, down from 5.7% in 2018 and 6% in 2017. Effective: January 1, 2020.
  • More than $200 million for Affordable Housing Projects — The Legislature allocated $200.6 million from the state and local government housing trust funds for affordable housing programs. This includes $115 million to assist Panhandle residents whose properties were devastated by Hurricane Michael. Effective: July 1, 2019.
  • Continued Funding for LIDAR Mapping — The budget includes language that allows the Division of Emergency Management to continue spending the $15 million currently being used for LIDAR (light detection and ranging) mapping. LIDAR is a next-generation mapping technique and has the potential to lower flood insurance rates throughout Florida. Effective: July 1, 2019.
  • Preventing Unlicensed Real Estate Activity — The Legislature allocated up to $500,000 from the Professional Regulation Trust Fund to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation to combat unlicensed real estate activity. Effective: July 1, 2019.

For past Legislative Victories: 

Dear CFCAR Members,

With just a few days left in the state’s annual legislative session, tons of action is taking place in Tallahassee as legislators make their final push on a host of proposed legislation. To follow bills that relate to real estate, link to the FR Legislative tracker here: https://www.floridarealtors.org/LegislativeCenter/LegislativeTracker/index.com.  Scroll down for an update from FR on current issues and check back for a full follow up after the sessions ends.

Your contributions to RPAC ensure your voice is heard on issues that directly affect your commercial brokerage, including land development, commercial lease taxation and more. These issues as well as issues that indirectly affect your business and the overall health of your community – clean water, affordable housing and more – are all monitored by Florida Realtors and followed by CFCAR. To learn more about how your RPAC dollars work, go to https://pac.floridarealtors.org/about-florida-realtors-pac/.

Remember, your contributions give you a voice in Tallahassee. You can make a difference, so thank you for supporting CFCAR’s involvement in RPAC.

2019 CFCAR President -- Carol Tanner, CCIM - May 1, 2019

March 2, 2018 - Call For Action from Florida REALTORS®

Take action and support a reduction to the sales tax charged to businesses that lease commercial space. Lowering the business rent tax provides Florida businesses with funds to expand, hire more employees, improve benefits and raise salaries. Help cut the business rent tax by asking your Senator and Representative to include a reduction in this year's tax package.

Click HERE to send them a message and for more information.

February 14, 2018

NAR is currently conducting a Call for Action with our Commercial members in support of HR 620, the ADA Education and Reform Act.

This bipartisan bill adds a crucial "notice-and-cure" provision to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), giving business owners an opportunity to fix an alleged violation before costly legal proceedings are initiated. Currently, attorneys around the country are taking advantage of the ADA's lack of a notice requirement, filing lawsuits indiscriminately against commercial property owners, often for minor, easily corrected infractions. The property owners must then either settle or use their time and money on legal proceedings - resources that could have instead gone to fixing the alleged violation.

HR 620 would restore the integrity of the ADA by curbing these abusive practices and incentivizing business owners to quickly correct ADA infractions. For more information on this bill, see NAR's issue summary on ADA Lawsuit Reform here.

February 15, 2018

Update on CFA: 

Thursday, February 15th, the House passed HR 620, the ADA Education and Reform Act, by a vote of 225-192. The "yea" votes included ten Democrats. NAR strongly supports this bill, and ahead of the vote engaged in an advocacy campaign to help its passage.

HR 620 is a bipartisan bill that adds a crucial "notice-and-cure" period to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), giving business owners accused of a violation the opportunity to fix it before a costly legal process begins. In recent years, a small group of attorneys have taken advantage of the ADA's lack of a notice requirement and filed lawsuits indiscriminately against commercial property owners under the ADA. Those business owners, who often in good faith believe that they are in compliance, then have the choice of paying a settlement or hiring an attorney and taking the time to deal with a costly legal proceeding.

Now that HR 620 has passed the House, we will move on to focus on companion legislation in the Senate.

Dear Commercial Alliance and Legislative Breakout Committee Members,

Before we get into our legislative update for week five of the 2018 Legislative Session, let me first say that our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and families affected by the school shooting in Parkland this week. I don't know if any of you were directly impacted by the event, but as Realtors there is no doubt you are feeling the hurt and sadness in each of your communities.

Here in Tallahassee we are certainly feeling that sadness as well, and the conversations being had in the halls of the capitol have definitely pivoted in the wake of this tragedy.

While we don't yet know where those conversations will take us, we do have several updates for you regarding our legislative priorities. You can find those updates below, and as always, if you have any questions on these items or anything else, please don't hesitate to ask.

Assignment of Benefits (AOB)

No new activity took place this week regarding the AOB bills that Florida Realtors supports. As a reminder, the House has already passed HB 7015. This leaves SB 62, which is still awaiting consideration in its first committee. The main difference between the two bills is the manner in which attorney fees are treated. The Senate bill preserves one-way attorney fees for policyholders but extinguishes them for contractors. The House bill allows both insurers and contractors to recover attorney fees, depending on who the prevailing party is and the size of the recovery, if any.

Business Rent Tax Cut

The House Ways & Means committee filed their tax cut bill this week. The proposed committee bill WMC3 includes a 0.3% reduction of the Business Rent Tax. This rate cut is estimated to have a $92.4 million-dollar impact to the state. The committee passed WMC3 by a vote of 14 to 6. The proposed committee bill will be filed and given a bill number and move on for further consideration.

Vacation Rentals

House Bill 773 by Rep. Mike La Rosa (R- St. Cloud) would allow municipalities to enact a local law, ordinance, or regulation to regulate activities that arise when a property is used as a vacation rental provided the regulation applies uniformly to all residential properties without regard to whether the property is used as a vacation rental. Last legislative session, Rep. La Rosa filed similar legislation that made its way through the legislative process but ultimately died when the Senate and the House could not come to an agreement. The bill has been referred to the Government Accountability Committee and the Commerce Committee. It was scheduled to be heard in committee this week, but was postponed due to time restrictions.

Senate Bill 1400 by Sen. Greg Steube (R-Sarasota) is waiting to be heard in its final committee stop, the Appropriations Committee. Below is the summary of what the bill would do:

The bill preempts vacation rentals to the state which would prohibit municipal governments from regulating vacation rentals.

Single Family and Multi Family Homes would not be affected by this legislation. The current licensing requirements would remain in effect; however, the license application would now require the operator's emergency contact telephone number.

The bill adds occupancy limits for vacation rentals which are set at the lesser of four persons plus two additional persons for each sleeping room, or one person for each 150 square feet of finished area.

Preempts the inspection of vacation rentals to the state. Inspections will only take place if a complaint is filed with the department.

When five or more vacation rentals in multifamily dwellings are under common ownership and any such vacation rental is rented out more than 180 days per year they will be subject to biannual inspections.

The bill maintains the grandfather provision so that any local law or ordinance passed before June 1, 2011 relating to vacation rentals would be maintained.

Affordable Housing

The House and Senate have already passed their respective budget bills. Each chamber has a different level of funding for the State and Local Government Housing Trust Funds. The legislature will now move into the budget conference process. This process will begin with the appointment of budget conferees and specific "allocations" for the budget subcommittees. We are working with legislators to advocate for the increase in the level of appropriation for the Housing Trust Funds.

Remote Notaries

Legislation that enables Florida notaries to support digital closings moved closer to passage in both chambers this week. The Senate bill (SB 1042) passed the Government Oversight and Accountability Committee, and the House bill (HB 771) passed the Transportation & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee. The bill authorizes Florida notaries to perform notarial acts in the traditional manner (in person) or by use of a secure, recorded two-way live audio-video call. Enhanced requirements for identity verification, security and recordkeeping for electronic notarization are included in the bill. The legislation must still be considered in two more committees -- one in each chamber -- and has the potential to simplify transactions that involve out-of-state and out-of-country buyers and sellers. It's supported by the Florida Realtors.

Constitution Revision Commission (CRC)

The Commission has announced additional public hearings to get additional input from Floridians about potential changes to the Constitution. The full meeting schedule is listed on the Commission's website: flcrc.gov/Meetings/PublicHearings.


Carrie O'Rourke

***PAC Major Investor***


Orlando FL

(407) 438-1400


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