March 19, 2024

What Housing-Related Bills Did Florida Lawmakers Pass in 2024?

Affordable Housing Development/Rehabilitation

In 2023, the Florida Legislature passed the Live Local Act, which allocated over $711 million to address the affordable housing crisis. Legislators passed amendments this year in response to some of the complaints by local government officials, housing advocates, and community groups. This includes SB 328/HB 1239, which adds language that would permit counties and municipalities to require a reduced density, floor area ratio, and height restriction for projects that had already received bonuses, variances, or other special exemptions from their respective local government as incentives for development under local land development regulations. The bill would lower height restrictions on certain projects within specific single-family residential developments. Additionally, the legislation would reduce parking restrictions for qualifying mixed-use developments in “major transportation hubs” and eliminate them entirely for those within a “transit-oriented development/area.” Lawmakers also passed amendments to Live Local’s tax exemptions to specify that they are for individual, qualifying units, as well as amendments to clarify that the property appraiser must consider a proportionate share of the common spaces and development’s land when determining property value of the unit. The bill rounds out with a $100 million appropriation to the Hometown Heroes program — utilizing federal funds

Next year, in order to ensure that local governments are not forced to spend unavailable funds, one recommendation would be to remove the requirement that local governments grant certain bonuses laid out in comprehensive plans, or at least amend it to require the bonuses only if the local funds are available. Another recommendation would be to define a “reasonable time” for developments to cure rental restriction violations. 


The biggest bill this session concerning homelessness was SB 1530/HB 1365, which would prohibit counties and municipalities from authorizing individuals and families to sleep on public property. There is an exception for a government-sponsored location that stands for only a year, follows certain requirements, and does not impact the value of any commercial or residential property nearby. Since these encampments likely would have some effect on property value, it is unclear how many of these spots would be opened. There are also no appropriations that come with the bill: the sponsors have pointed to the extra funding given to Continuums of Care (COCs) this year, stating that this funding could be used for the municipal encampments (versus the housing solutions the COCs may have anticipated funding). While Florida is one of many states that has passed an encampment bill, SB 1530 — if signed into law — and similar measures may be rendered void and/or unconstitutional by the upcoming Grants Pass v. Johnson Supreme Court decision.

There were a few bills that focused on helping individuals and families who are currently without safe and stable housing, including legislation (SB 558/HB 975) focused on trying to grow the amount of homeless-service focused professionals and paraprofessionals by permitting a certification process for folks with lived experience concerning homelessness. Another impactful bill — though unsuccessful — was SB 1308/HB 1067, which would have required universities to identify and assist students who are currently or at risk of being homeless. It would have also started up a program that assists youths who age out of the foster care system, as these young adults  run a much higher risk of homelessness.

Property Insurance

Property insurance has skyrocketed in the last few years. Between 2021 and 2022, 90 percent of American homeowners saw an increase in their home insurance premiums. Florida has had a turbulent history related to the participation and retention of property insurance companies. The heightened climate risks faced by the state and its residents makes insurers nervous about impending payouts. The rise in property insurance has forced many Floridians to go without any insurance at all — putting themselves at risk every hurricane season. In situations where the private insurance market goes bankrupt, terminates insurance, or refuses to insure real property due to climate risk, government-led programs are created. These are often called “insurer of last resort” or Fair Access to Insurance Requirements coverage. Due to the requirement of homeowners insurance being standard business practice for most mortgage brokers, these government programs can assist qualifying properties and homeowners in obtaining and maintaining the requisite insurance coverage. The not-for-profit Citizen Property Insurance Corporation (CPIC) was created by the Florida Legislature in 2002 by merging two prior insurers of last resort. As more insurance companies exit the state, while others go bankrupt entirely, amendments to the CPIC and insurance company regulations have been a frequent topic of conversation among Florida legislators.

The unanimously passed SB 1716/HB 1503 amended parts of the CPIC program and eligibility requirements. The CPIC now distinguishes dwellings that are “primary residences” from those that are not. Primary residences are those dwellings where either the homeowner or a tenant of the homeowner lives for at least nine months out of the year. These homeowners may receive a partial or entire reprieve from any emergency assessments that may happen. Additionally, the CPIC will pay part of insurance payouts by qualifying insurers of primary residences. The CPIC was also amended to incorporate qualifying surplus line insurers into the program. While much was done to increase insurance company participation, one proposed amendment, which did not pass, would have made the program more equitable. When curing a deficit in an insurance account, more money is brought in by surcharges. The surcharges can either be a flat rate, or a percentage based on the policyholder’s individual premium. Florida does the former, with a uniform 15 percent CPIC account deficit surcharge. The amendment would have created a more equitable surcharge system by considering property values and specific risk and charge a lower percentage to those properties that are low-risk and worth considerably less than their coastal counterparts.

Climate/Disaster Relief and Mitigation

Another legislative concern surrounding climate impact is disaster mitigation on residential buildings. A bill (SB 1366/HB 1029) that would create the My Safe Florida Condominium Pilot Program — based off the My Safe Florida Home Program — was passed unanimously in the House and the Senate. If enacted, the pilot program will take effect on July 1, 2024, and it will concentrate on condominium parcels up to 3-stories high that are also within 15 miles of coastline. Condo associations on these parcels will be able to apply for mitigation grants after an inspection by a qualifying hurricane mitigation inspector. The grants can then be used for fixes and rehabilitation related to the property's inspection report. The final appropriation amount for this program is $600,000. Lawmakers also unanimously passed SB 600/HB 293, which would require homeowners associations (HOAs) to adopt certain hurricane specifications that conform to applicable building codes. It also prohibits HOAs from denying applications for hurricane protection-related installments, enhancements, or replacements that adhere to certain external appearance guidelines.

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