Sine die! And just like that the 2021 legislative session is in the books (well for the most part). Legislators will return for a special session in the middle of May to address a new gambling compact, yet the bulk legislation is either signed into law, awaiting the Governor’s signature or failed. We will update if anything changes. Below is a review of the major housing related bills and outcomes.
Documentary Stamp Tax Distributions (Sadowski Funding) – Passed
This sweeping legislation revised distributions from the Documentary Stamp Tax that were traditionally deposited into the ‘Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund’. This new legislation, effectively ‘locks’ the trust fund from being ‘swept’ for other budgetary needs, yet permanently cuts funding for affordable housing by 2/3rd. Two new trust funds (Water Protection and Sustainability Trust Fund, and Resilient Florida Trust Fund) will each receive 1/3rd of the proportional doc stamp revenue with affordable housing receiving the remaining 1/3rd.
This Year’s Affordable Housing Funding:
- State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) program: The SFY 2021-2022 budget allocates $146.7 million for the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP).
- State Apartment Incentive Loan Program (SAIL): The SFY 2021-2022 budget allocates $62.5 million for the State Apartment Incentive Loan Program (SAIL).
- The total amount of housing trust fund sweeps $362.5 million.
Statewide Flooding and Sea Level Rise Resilience – Passed
The bill establishes statewide resiliency programs that assess and address inland and coastal flooding and sea level rise. The “Resilient Florida Grant Program” is housed within the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) which provides funding (subject to appropriation), to local governments for the costs of resilience planning and projects to adapt critical assets. Additionally within, the “Statewide Flooding and Sea Level Rise Resilience Plan”, the DEP must annually submit a plan proposing up to $100 million in funding for projects that address risks from flooding and sea level rise.
Emergency Preparedness and Response Fund- Passed
This bill created the Emergency Preparedness & Response Fund within the Executive Office of the Governor. The moneys specifically appropriated to the fund are available as a primary funding source for the Governor for purposes of preparing or responding to a disaster declared (such as a hurricane) by the Governor as a state of emergency that exceeds regularly appropriated funding sources. Governor DeSantis directed $1 billion from the Federal American Rescue Plan as seeding for the fund.
‘Stop the Sweep’ Sadowski Trust Funds – Failed
This legislation proposed exempting the State Housing Trust Fund and the Local Government Housing Trust Fund (aka The Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund) from a provision authorizing the Legislature, to transfer (sweep) unappropriated cash balances from the trust fund. This bill would have effectively ‘locked’ the trust fund from sweeps. The bill was heard in the Senate, passing two committees, however was never heard in the House.
Legislation Revising the SHIP funds for Eligible Housing – Failed
This bill would have revised the percentages of local housing funds (SHIP) reserved for eligible housing, lowering the percentage (from 65% to 50%) required to go toward homeownership while increasing the percentage (from 25% to up to 50%) to be made available for rental housing. Bill was not considered this session.
Affordable Housing Tax Exemption – Failed
This bill authorized counties and municipalities to adopt ordinances to grant ad valorem tax exemptions to property owners whose properties are used for affordable. Bill was not considered this session.
Fee Waiver for Affordable Housing – Failed
This bill would have allowed local governments to waive certain fees for the development, construction, or rehabilitation of affordable housing. Bill was not considered this session.
Court Records of Eviction Proceedings – Failed
This bill would have authorized tenants & mobile home owners who are defendants in certain eviction proceedings to file motion with court to have records of such proceedings sealed & to have their names substituted on progress docket under certain conditions. Passed House, yet died in Senate Committee.
Prohibited Landlord Practices – Failed
This bill would have prohibited landlord from refusing to enter into rental agreement with prospective tenant related to COVID-19. Bill never received a hearing this session.
Residential Evictions – Failed
Also known as a repeal of Florida’s “pay-to-play” this bill would have required courts to refer matters involving residential eviction to mediation, if such program is available; removes provisions requiring residential tenant to pay accrued rent to registry of court; restricts availability of specified summary procedure in certain actions; removes provisions relating to disbursement of funds in registry of court. Bill never received a hearing this session. Bill never received a hearing this session.
Affordable Housing Residency Requirements – Withdrawn
Requires able-bodied persons residing in certain affordable housing to participate in programs & training that encourages job skills; provides maximum length of residency for certain affordable housing; provides residency be terminated upon conviction of felony. Withdrawn by bill sponsor.
Fees for the Enforcement of Florida Building Code – Failed
The bill would have authorized local governments to waive certain fees for development, construction, or rehabilitation of affordable housing. Bill never received a hearing this session.
Building Code Legislation – Passed
This bill has a multitude of provision, yet provision in which mostly impacts the development of affordable housing is, preemption of local governments from regulating specific “building design elements” for single-family or two-family residential dwellings, with certain exceptions including:
- Dwellings on the National Register of Historic Places or located in a historic district.
- Regulations are adopted to implement the National Flood Insurance Program.
- Regulations are adopted to comply with Chapter 553.
- Dwellings are located in the community redevelopment area.
- Regulations are required to ensure protection of coastal wildlife in compliance with current law.
- The dwelling is located within a planned unit development or master planned community created by ordinance, resolution or other final action of the local governing body.
- The dwelling is located within the jurisdiction of a local government that has a design review board or architectural review board.
Construction Permits – Passed
Requires county that issues building permits & local enforcement agency to post certain information on their websites; authorizes all components to completed application be submitted electronically or in person; requires local enforcement agency, local government, or local building department to reduce permit fee by specified percentage for failing to meet certain deadlines; requires applicant to take certain action within specified time; requires surcharges to be recalculated under certain conditions; prohibits authority that issues building permit from requiring applicant to provide specified contracts as part of application for certain construction.
A building permit for a single-family residential dwelling must be issued within 30 business days after receiving the permit application unless the permit application fails to satisfy the Florida Building Code or the enforcing agency’s laws or ordinances.
If a local enforcement agency fails to issue a building permit for a single-family residential dwelling within 30 business days after receiving the permit application, it must reduce the building permit fee by 10 percent for each business day that it fails to meet the deadline.
A local enforcement agency does not have to reduce the building permit fee if it provides written notice to the applicant, by e-mail or United States Postal Service, within 30 business days after receiving the permit application, which specifically states the reasons the permit application fails to satisfy the Florida Building Code or the enforcing agency’s laws or ordinances
The applicant has 10 business days after receiving the written notice to address the reasons specified by the local enforcement agency and submit revisions to correct the permit
If the applicant submits revisions within 10 business days after receiving the written notice, the local enforcement agency has 10 business days after receiving such revisions to approve or deny the building permit unless the applicant agrees to a longer period in writing
Addressing Impact Fee Cap Increases – Passed
The bill makes a number of changes regarding limitations on, and requirements for, the imposition of impact fees by local governments to fund local infrastructure to meet the demands of population growth. The bill has six provision. Specifies that impact fees may be utilized only for fixed capital expenditures or fixed capital outlays for major capital improvements; Revises requirements for crediting contributions against the collection of impact fees; Specifies limitations and restrictions on certain impact fee increases; Specifies criteria that must be met to be exempted from certain fee increase limitations and restrictions; and Revises annual financial reporting requirements for local governments relating to impact fees.