As the annual Great American Realtors Days are approaching, March 18-20, every year Realtors from across this great state all meet on the steps of the Capitol.
The Realtors Association of Citrus County will be sending approximately 20 Realtors to participate, along with 51 other Realtor associations this year. They will have a meetings and discussions with their respective legislators one-on-one and discuss pending real estate legislation that has come up during the beginning of Florida Legislative session.
I would like to share the talking points that over 400-plus Realtors will be meeting in Tallahassee to discuss with their Legislators. We have seven major talking points they are as are as follows:
Water is the lifeblood of all Florida residents, especially in our own backyard, being Crystal River and its visitors to our state. It forms the foundation of our communities and must be protected. Florida Realtors will continue to advocate for Florida’s natural resources and a pristine environment.
We will also ensure that all stakeholders, including the state of Florida, are doing their part to help solve environmental problems such as red tide. We are pleased that during our governor’s debut State of the State speech, he highlighted his priorities including water quality and workforce education and health care prices.
The State and Local Government Housing Trust Funds were created in the early 1990s to help Floridians in good times and bad. They are supported entirely by a portion of the doc stamp taxes charged on every real estate transaction.
For thousands of families, these funds are the only way to realize the American dream of homeownership. They also provide housing rehabilitation and rental assistance to Florida’s homeless, veterans, seniors and persons with disabilities.
For more information on Sadowski funds, please contact your county local housing department.
These funds help provide down payment assistance to purchase a home. or funds for some repairs of your home may need if you qualify for the programs.
Private property rights
The advent of online hosting platforms has made it easier for homeowners to rent their property.
This has created new opportunities for homeowners and expanded the options available to individuals who live in, or travel to, Florida.
Many local governments responded by enacting new ordinances that are designed to discourage property owners from exercising their right to rent their property. State and local Realtor associations, while respecting community concerns, are well positioned to monitor state and local regulatory activity and to act to protect private property rights.
SB 824 — Preempting the regulation of vacation rentals to the state; requiring each person applying for a vacation rental license to provide the Division of Hotels and Restaurants of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation with specified information, etc.
Open and expired permits
It is not uncommon for an open permit to interfere with the closing of a real estate transaction. Florida Realtors supports legislation that helps property owners close both open and expired permits when the original contractor is unable or unavailable to close the permit.
Such legislation should provide an alternative method for owners to close permits with the applicable local government and it should apply to residential, commercial, and mixed-use properties. HB 447 provides requirements related to open and expired permits, including permit requirements, closing of permits, amendment of Florida Building Code, powers of local governmental entities, applicability and notice requirements. SB 902 is a companion bill to HB 447.
Assignment of benefits
But, a growing number of contractors have been inflating the cost of repairs. When the insurance company refuses to pay the claim, the contractor initiates litigation. Insurers typically pay these inflated claims to avoid the high cost of litigation. This increase in legal costs causes an increase to all policyholders.
Online remote notarization
Throughout Florida, Realtors provide consumers with the advantage they need to succeed in today’s market as they buy, sell and lease their homes, businesses and investment properties. Florida Realtors supports the adoption of tools and processes that improve the experience for consumers and the Realtors serving them.
Florida currently charges a 5.7 percent sales tax on business rent, creating a financial burden for any business that leases space — from the local diner and hair salon to large retail stores. Municipalities and local governments may also levy extra local option taxes on top of the state sales tax rate.
Florida Realtors serves as the voice for real estate in Florida protecting property owners’ rights. It provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to 187,000 members in 52 boards/associations.Its mission is to advance Florida’s real estate industry by shaping public policy on real property issues; encouraging, promoting and teaching consistent standards for ethical practice and professionalism; and building on the efforts of local boards/associations to provide the information and tools members need to succeed.
Cheryl Lambert — legislative chair for the Realtors Association of Citrus County — is the broker/owner of the Only Way Realty Citrus. She is a past president of the Realtors Association of Citrus County in 2013, past District 7 vice president of Florida Realtors in 2014 and is currently Florida Realtors 2018 treasurer. She is an active broker/owner who specializes in affordable/attainable housing and is active in legislative issues surrounding this topic.