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Florida Real Estate: 2011 Legislative Update

Posted by Benjamin Dona on Saturday, May 7th, 2011 at 3:02pm.

The 2011 Florida legislative session ended late last night and the Florida real estate market scored some impressive victories as everything was said and done.

Here's a synopsis of some of the more important real estate changes:

Tax relief for non-homesteaded owners and first-time buyers - Voters in 2012 will get a chance to adopt HJR 381 which will reduce the yearly assessment cap on non-homestead property from 10% to 5%. It would also give anyone who hasn't had a homestead exemption in Florida for three years a property tax discount of 50% of the home's assessed value, not to exceed the median home price in that county. This additional first-time homestead owner exemption phases out for the property owner over five years while their Save Our Homes is phasing in. The measure also allows the Florida Legislature to prohibit assessment increases when property values fall. Currently, the Legislature does not have the power to prevent local governments from "recapturing"  the tax revenues that Save Our Homes shields during a rising real estate market.

Property tax relief for wounded veterans - Currently, disabled veterans who were Florida residents when they entered military service qualify for the combat-related disabled veterans' ad valorem tax discount on homestead property. SJR 592 will also go before voters in November 2012 to extend this property tax benefit to any disabled combat veteran residing in Florida, regardless of where they lived when they entered military service.

Easing the financial burden of challenging property tax assessments - Adopted HB 281. As originally filed, this bill required property owners who appealed their real estate tax assessment to pay 75% of the tax appraised value by April 1. It was amended to allow owners to make a good faith payment during the appeal process if it extends beyond April 1 of the next year.

Protection for title insurance policyholders - HB 1007 was adopted on behalf of the Department of Financial Services (DFS) to ensure that property owners continue to have title insurance coverage even if their underwriter is liquidated. When an underwriter is liquidated, as is currently the case, all other underwriters in the state pay an assessment to DFS, and this would be passed on - over a period not to exceed seven years - to new policyholders in the form of a surcharge of up to $25. DFS indicates that the surcharge resulting from the underwriter currently being liquidated would be significantly less than $25.

Changes to last year's Condo legislation - HB 1195 was adopted and fixes the following aspects of the bill:

  • Clarifies that condos less than four stories high with exterior corridors are exempt from installing manual fire alarm systems.
  • Clarifies that associations are permitted to install impact glass and other code-compliant windows for hurricane protection.
  • Diminishes certain rights of unit owners who are delinquent in their association fees, such as use of common areas.
  • Clarifies the process by which an association can communicate with tenants of unit owners who are delinquent in their association fees and dues.

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10 Responses to "Florida Real Estate: 2011 Legislative Update"

Grant wrote:
I sure hope that the new laws for wounded soldiers goes into effect... We need to be willing to do whatever we can to take care of those who have sacrificed so much for us!

Posted on Monday, May 9th, 2011 at 2:37pm.

Joe wrote:
Let’s hope all these feel-good tax relief measures actually plays a positive role in improving long term growth and stimulates greater home-ownership. All too often state legislators hand out tax breaks like candy and then kick and scream when there are revenue shortfalls resulting in a major budget crisis a few years down the road.

Posted on Wednesday, May 18th, 2011 at 2:55am.

Sam Dodd - Cedar City wrote:
I agree with Grant, those new laws for wounded soldiers hopefully will actually happen. They've done so much more for us than anyone else could ever imagine. We need to take care of them.

Thanks for sharing with everyone!

Posted on Wednesday, May 18th, 2011 at 2:42pm.

Scarlett Neal wrote:
Yes, we do need to take care of our soldiers and their families. We also need to stand up for tax paying Americans and turn this back into what we once were all around.

Posted on Wednesday, May 25th, 2011 at 6:07pm.

Kevin Hughes wrote:
Tax reductions will ultimately result in more capital for American entrepreneurs to help drive our economy forward. Historically, continually increasing taxes along with ineffective use of those tax dollars has not accomplished anything on the business front. Leaving the dollars in the hands of individuals provides more dollars for all kinds of new enterprises. Florida's move to support wounded soldiers is the right thing to do and hopefully passes by a landslide!

Posted on Friday, June 3rd, 2011 at 11:20am.

Zachary Whitston wrote:
This is good info. I hope these measures pass and become enacted as they appear as they will put more money- something that is def in shortage- into the hands of the people.

Posted on Thursday, June 9th, 2011 at 3:55pm.

Jan Worthen wrote:
I hope this goes into affect in Minnesota as well. Although, the first time home buyer incentive created a artificial bottom of the house market here. I hope this would not do the same.

Posted on Sunday, June 12th, 2011 at 6:54pm.

Josh B wrote:
This is great to hear about the tax breaks. Obviously, the Florida housing market took a big hit like everywhere else, so it's good to see state government trying to bolster the recovery.

Posted on Wednesday, June 15th, 2011 at 4:42pm.

Carmen Brodeur wrote:
The tax relief for non-homestead property will be very welcome by all of the second home owners in Florida.

Posted on Thursday, June 16th, 2011 at 1:42pm.

noemi wrote:
I guess this issue will really create a lot of argumentation. We just have to think that those veterans have done their part and I think they deserve to be treated better than this.

Posted on Wednesday, August 31st, 2011 at 8:57pm.

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