Florida Republicans Propose Statewide Rent Control Ban With Affordable Housing Funding And Incentives

Diving Summary:

  • Florida State Sen. Alexis Calatayud, R, chairman of the Senate Committee on Community Affairs, has introduced a bill to the state Senate that aims to create more affordable housing and prohibit local governments from imposing rent controls, according to a news release. In the past week.
  • Senate Bill 102, dubbed the Live Local Act, would use tax incentives and, in fiscal year 2023, $100 million allocated from the state’s general revenue fund to encourage developers to build and reserve more affordable housing units. It would also continue and increase funding for existing affordable housing programs, including the State Apartment Incentive Loan program and the State Housing Initiatives Association.
  • “This bill also provides new avenues for zoning solutions, encourages more mixed-use development in dormant commercial areas, and improves public access to information on expedited permitting and public properties that may be suitable for workforce housing.” Florida Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, R, said in the news release.

Diving information:

State and local governments across the country are grappling with a housing shortage that has made it difficult for people with low and moderate incomes to rent or buy. Many have tried to increase the supply of affordable and market-rate housing units through zoning reform, streamlined approval processes, hotel or motel conversions, tax relief, additional financing, rent control or stabilization, and other policies.

The bill’s rent control ban and lack of tenant protections have drawn the ire of some affordable housing advocates, including Florida. Rep. Anna Eskamani, D, who told WFTV last week that she “is immediately removing all [local government] control and does not provide any immediate relief and does nothing more for the need of the tenants and the rights of the tenants”. The provision intensifies a fight that began last year, when voters approved, despite a temporary injunction, a November ballot measure that would impose rent controls in Orange County, Florida. Orange County commissioners voted 5-2 to appeal the court’s ruling last fall.

The Biden administration last week announced several federal actions aimed at protecting renters and making rent more affordable.

SB 102 would allow businesses to earn up to $100 million in annual tax credits if they contribute directly to the SAIL program and create a sales tax rebate for building materials. It would also allow local governments to create property tax credits for homeowners who reserve affordable housing units for people earning 50% or less of the area median income: about $39,000 for a family of four.

New or recently renovated developments would be eligible for tax breaks if they dedicate 70 or more units to low- and moderate-income people. Property owners could receive a 100% tax break for units up to 80% of area median income: less than $63,000 for a family of four. There would also be a 75% tax break for affordable housing units dedicated to people with an 81% to 120% area median income, which is up to about $94,000 for a family of four.

SB 102 would result in $252 million in SHIP funding and $259 million in SAIL funding, with the latter including $150 million in new and recurring funds from documentary stamp tax revenue that currently goes to general revenue.

“The bill directs additional funds, allocated in addition to traditional SAIL funds, to be used for innovative projects focused on mixed-use, urban infill, or developments near military installations in our state,” according to the news release.

It would also provide an additional $100 million in funding for the Hometown Heroes Programthat helps police officers, firefighters, and other frontline community workers buy their first home through down payment and closing cost assistance.