TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Dubbed the "Live Local Act,” SB 102 sparked a partisan debate as Republicans argued the legislation will enhance economic development while Democrats said banning rent control will create an even more extensive housing crisis in Florida. Despite contentions, the bill did pass unanimously.
PROHIBITS RENT CONTROLS
The legislation was drafted in response to an Orange County measure voters approved that would allow local governments to pass rent control ordinances during a housing emergency. Championed by Senate President Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples), SB 102 is designed to tackle Florida’s unprecedented housing crisis from several different angles: incentivizing private sector investment, increasing state funding to historic levels, and implementing common sense regulation reduction.
The legislation next heads to the Senate floor, a sign of its high priority to Senate President Kathleen Passidomo. An identical bill is scheduled to be voted on by The State Affairs Committee.
“Our bill balances a focus on both increasing the number of workforce rental units available and expanding opportunities for home ownership,” said State Senator Alexis Calatayud, who sponsored SB 102.
WANTS TO INCENTIVIZE DEVELOPERS
Rather than capping rents where they stand, Sen. Calatayud’s goal is to incentivize developers to build more units aimed at middle and lower-income households as a way to create competition and drive down rent costs.
In addition to banning rent controls, the bill would grant local governments the authority to increase property tax exemptions for landlords who provide affordable housing units in proportion to the number of such units.
SIGNIFICANT FUNDING FOR STATE PROGRAMS
The measure also includes significant funding for state programs that aim to address the challenges of affordable housing, including the underfunded Sadowski Trust Fund. To incentivize developers to construct affordable housing, the bill would allow them to match the density and height of neighboring developments if 40 percent of the units are affordable for 30 years.
Property owners who rent at half the area median income or less would be eligible for tax exemptions under the bill. Moreover, the bill would redirect $150 million each year to the State Housing Trust Fund; allocate $252 million to the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) program; and allocate $259 million to the State Apartment Incentive Loan program (SAIL). The Hometown Heroes program would receive $100 million, and rent caps during states of emergency would no longer be restricted under the bill.