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  • Writer's pictureEd DiMarco MS, MA

Strengthening Property Safety & Regulating Foreign Ownership: Florida's New Real Estate Legislation

Updated: Jun 13

Florida's New Real Estate Legislation

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has recently enacted significant legislative measures that will directly impact the real estate landscape in Florida. These developments are crucial for real estate professionals and investors to understand, as they will shape the dynamics of property ownership and investment in the state.

My Safe Florida Home Program and Hurricane Relief Measures:

  • The Florida government has passed bills to fund the My Safe Florida Home Program (MSFH), provide hurricane relief, and other initiatives.

  • The MSFH program now has an additional $176.17 million in funding. This program aims to help homeowners reinforce their homes against hurricanes, offering matching grants of up to $10,000 for upgrades like roof-to-wall reinforcements, better roof coverings, and door and window upgrades.

  • The recent legislation also addresses the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia, offering substantial financial assistance. This includes $75 million for low-interest or interest-free loans to agriculture and aquaculture producers, $37.5 million to help timber owners, and $50 million for hurricane repair and recovery projects in counties with Federal Emergency Management disaster designations.

  • Additional benefits include $25 million to the Florida Housing Finance Corp. for the Hurricane Housing Recovery Program, tax breaks on agricultural equipment, fencing, building materials for repairs post-Idalia, and fuel used for agricultural shipments and debris removal.

SecureFlorida Portal and Foreign Land Ownership Registration:

  • Governor DeSantis announced the SecureFlorida Portal, a platform for foreign principals to register property ownership in line with the new Florida Statutes, sections 692.203 and 692.204.

  • This law explicitly targets "foreign countries of concern," including China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, and Syria, focusing notably on Chinese nationals who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents. It prevents them from purchasing property in Florida, barring certain exceptions.

  • Foreign principals who owned or acquired real property in Florida before July 1, 2023, must register their property by December 31, 2023. Failure to do so will result in a civil penalty of $1,000 per day of delay.

  • Section 692.204 restricts the ability of individuals and businesses associated with the People’s Republic of China or the Chinese Communist Party from acquiring real property in Florida. It necessitates the registration of all real property owned within the state by such entities.

  • Section 692.203 allows foreign principals from the countries mentioned above to acquire property near military installations or critical infrastructure facilities under limited circumstances, mandating registration of such property with FloridaCommerce.

Implications for Real Estate Professionals in Florida:

These legislative developments are significant for several reasons:

  • Enhanced Property Resilience: My Safe Florida Home program funding will help homeowners make their properties more resistant to hurricanes, potentially increasing property values and attractiveness in high-risk areas.

  • Impact on Foreign Investment: The new laws regarding foreign property ownership and registration will significantly impact foreign investment in Florida's real estate market, particularly from the specified countries of concern. Real estate professionals must be aware of these changes to guide foreign investors correctly.

  • Economic and Community Recovery: The financial aid for hurricane relief will assist in rebuilding affected communities and offer opportunities for real estate development and investment in these areas.

  • Regulatory Compliance: Real estate professionals must understand these laws to ensure compliance and to provide accurate advice to clients, especially those involving foreign ownership and investment.

Overall, these measures represent a proactive approach by the Florida government in addressing the resilience of properties against natural disasters and the complexities of foreign investment in the state's real estate market. As a real estate broker, staying abreast of these developments and understanding their implications is crucial for advising clients, shaping investment strategies, and contributing to the growth and resilience of the real estate market in Florida.



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