Courtesy of The Real Deal
By Katherine Kallergis
Published May 11, 2023
Lawmakers voted on a number of real estate-related bills
this legislative session that Gov. Ron DeSantis signed or is expected to
sign into law.
The session ended on Friday. One pair of bills that would have allowed the
demolitions of properties in historic districts across coastal cities died
in the Florida House last week, as legislators wrapped up the busy session.
Here’s a look at what passed:
HB 1355/SB 264 | Restricting foreign investment in real estate | Status:
signed into law
DeSantis also signed sister bills restricting foreign investment in Florida
real estate from China, Venezuela, Cuba, Russia, Iran, Korea and Syria. The
law bans real estate purchases by Chinese people and businesses domiciled in
China and those who are not U.S. citizens or residents. Those who currently
own real estate and fall under those parameters must register their
ownership with the state, which critics of the legislation compared to Nazi
Foreign investors from the other “countries of concern,” including Venezuela
and Cuba, are banned from buying agricultural land in the state, as well as
real estate within 10 miles of military and critical infrastructure
facilities. The latter includes seaports, airports, chemical manufacturing
facilities, electrical power plants, water treatment plants and gas plants.
The law lays out punishments for those who knowingly sell such real estate
to people or entities from those countries.
One exception that was later added to the bill: A foreign national with a
non-tourist visa could purchase one residential property of up to 2 acres if
the property is not on or within five miles of a military installation.
Real estate brokers have called the restrictions “discriminatory.” The law
will likely hurt the foreign buyer condo market in South Florida for any
properties within 10 miles of airports, in particular. It’s also expected to
ban parents of Chinese students attending Florida colleges and universities
from buying condos or homes for their children.
SB 154 | Condo associations | Status: Passed, waiting for governor’s
Florida lawmakers made changes to a bill that aims to clarify aspects of the
condo safety law passed last year, in the wake of the deadly Surfside condo
collapse. Last year’s law resulted in condo association boards scrambling to
meet looming deadlines for financial and structural repairs.
This bill gives local municipalities some authority in enforcement, and
limits the “milestone” inspection requirements for residential condominium
or cooperative buildings. It also makes it easier for boards to pass larger
budgets without requiring a special meeting, by allowing associations to
exclude key items — including the funding of reserves and insurance premium
hikes — from the maximum budget increase, said attorney Darci Cohen, a
partner at Miami-based Mark Migdal & Hayden.
The condo safety law signed in 2022 eliminated associations’ ability to
waive the funding of their reserves, giving them until the end of 2024 to
raise their monthly dues or enact special assessments to fully fund
reserves, if needed, by the start of 2025. It requires buildings to have an
architect or engineer complete structural integrity reserve studies, which
will then determine how much a building has to have in its reserves.
SB 1114/HB 919 | HOA Oversight | Status: Passed, waiting for governor’s
Lawmakers approved a bill strengthening oversight on homeowners association
boards, although legislators removed key provisions included in the original
proposal. The bills were created in response to the alleged $3 million fraud
at the Hammocks HOA, a sprawling residential community in Kendall.
The Homeowners Associations Bill of Rights, which heads to DeSantis next,
provides that an HOA officer, director or manager would face monetary
damages if they knowingly solicit or accept kickbacks, although the final
version of the legislation makes no mention of potential civil and criminal
penalties included in earlier versions. Also, the bill makes it a first
degree misdemeanor to aid fraudulent election voting, including tampering
with ballots and using bribes or threats to secure votes.
The law would take effect on Oct. 1.
The approved bill does mandate the removal of an HOA officer from the post
if they are charged with board elections fraud, with theft or embezzlement
of association funds, or with the destruction or refusal to provide official
HOA records upon a resident’s request. In addition, the bill ramps up
The final bill removed the language touted in March that said that all
resident complaints against a board over refusal to provide financial
records, election fraud or accepting kickbacks will be forwarded to the
Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
As it stands now, residents can file a civil suit against a board or bring a
complaint to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
SB 540/HB 359 | Challenging local approvals | Status: Passed, waiting for
Florida lawmakers advanced a measure that requires anyone who sues local
governments over development approvals pay the municipalities’ legal fees if
those suing lose. The proposed law is awaiting DeSantis’ signature. It’s
expected to discourage development approval challenges.