2017 Legislative Session Update Week 8

Posted By: Courtney Barnard Advocacy News ,
This week marked the end of the eighth week of legislative session; there are only 7 days until the end of the 60-day legislative session. Many bills that could potentially affect the apartment industry are on the move! Here is an update of what happened in Tallahassee this week.

Military Affairs: SB 1588, sponsored by Sen. Jack Latvala, and its House companion HB 1235, sponsored by Rep. Chris Latvala, appeared on the FAA radar after both sponsors submitted amendments on their respective bills to expedite rental applications for military service members, their spouses, and adult dependents residing in the same unit (if required on rental application). After several meetings with the sponsors and lobbyists representing other interest groups, the bill sponsors agreed to have the language targeting rentals removed.

How this affects you: Apartment owners and managers could have faces increased costs due to expediting service member spousal rental applications and background checks. The bill stated that “Absent a timely denial of the rental application, the landlord must lease the rental unit to the service member if all other terms of the application and lease are complied with.” The bills has been amended to remove language affecting apartment owners and managers and FAA will work with the bill sponsors and interested parties over the summer to address the primary issue the bills were intended to address.

Certified Law Enforcement Officers: A bill that could give law enforcement officers the right of early lease termination has been amended to remove any language impacting rental housing. HB 545, a bill titled ‘‘Relating to Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’’ and sponsored by Rep. Bobby Payne, which until previously had no industry impact, was amended two weeks ago to include provisions that would allow state certified law enforcement officers to terminate their lease with 10 days’ notice due to job transfer, harassment, vandalism of property, or at the officer’s discretion of his or her best interest. This amendment has since been removed from the bill at FAA’s request and the bill no longer alters landlord-tenant law.

Property Tax Assessments: HB 21 passed a final vote in the Senate with 35 yeas and 0 nays. The bill sponsored by Rep. Colleen Burton replaced SB 76, sponsored by Sen. Tom Lee after SB 76 bill had been “laid on the table.’’. This bill is one of the 2017 priorities decided by FAA members and presented to legislators at the annual Legislative Conference.

How this affects you: HB 21 and SB 76 will create a joint resolution to place the 10% non-homestead assessment cap language back on the ballot for voters in 2018. Apartment communities are considered non-homesteaded properties and benefit from a cap on how much taxable assessments can be raised each year. If the cap is not reauthorized, then yearly assessments can increase by any amount for non-homestead property. This could mean apartment owners would see a jump in their property taxes in 2019. Drastic property tax increases could also result in a loss of apartment industry jobs.

Housing Discrimination: FAA priority bills including SB 268, sponsored by Sen. Darryl Rouson, and its companion SB 742, sponsored by Sen. Jack Latvala, and HB 659, sponsored by Rep. Holly Raschein, have not been heard in any committees. FAA opposes all changes to administrative remedies regarding housing.

How this affects you: SB 268, SB 742, and HB 659 would allow a person who alleges housing discrimination to file a civil action for two years after an alleged incident before a complaint has been filed with the Florida Commission on Human Relations or a local housing discrimination agency. This legislation would greatly increase the incidence of un-vetted civil suits against apartment communities in Florida.

What is happening next week: The House and Senate are not expected to hold any further committee meetings; generally committees do not meet after the 50th day of session unless requested by the Senate or House Rules chair. Both Chambers will focus on budget negotiations and final votes.

FAA will continue to monitor and advocate for our industry throughout the legislative session. If you have any questions or concerns, please email me at Courtney@faahq.org. For an in-depth update from FAA government affairs director, Courtney Barnard and FAA lobbyist, Kelly Mallette, please join us on the upcoming end-of-legislative update call on Friday, May 12, at 2 p.m. Eastern time. Call-in information is:

Dial-in: 1-866-613-5223

Pass Code: 7647753