New Affordability Law Closes Rent Control Loophole

The Florida law clarifies that local governments lack the authority to regulate rents in the state.

2 minute read

In a decisive win for the rental housing industry, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed SB 102, the “Live Local Act”, into law on March 29, 2023. This legislation includes critical solutions that will increase the supply of affordable and workforce housing and importantly clarifies that local governments lack the authority to regulate rents in the state. Its passage is the culmination of years of dedicated advocacy by the Florida Apartment Association (FAA) and its local affiliates and members.

“Over the last several years, FAA and its members have encouraged the Florida Legislature to increase funding for attainable housing and allow property tax discounts for affordable and workforce housing,” said Amanda White, FAA’s Vice President of Government Affairs. “Significant policy changes like this often require a long game and FAA is thrilled to see meaningful solutions like these included in SB102 and approved by the governor early in the 2023 session. The preemption of rent control was also a critical element of this legislation in order to eliminate barriers to achieving Florida’s attainable housing goals.”

What’s in the new law?

While the Live Local Act contains 95 pages of policy aimed at increasing housing supply, some of its notable provisions that relate to multifamily include:

  • Over $800 million in funding for affordable and workforce housing programs;
  • Preempting local rent control authority;
  • A refund of up to $5000 for state sales tax paid on construction materials while building a affordable housing units funded through the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC);
  • Tax credits for corporations to contribute to the State Apartment Incentive Loan program which will be used to create and rehabilitate affordable rental housing;
  • Tax exemptions for certain land that is owned by non-profits and used for affordable housing;
  • Property tax exemptions for missing middle and low-income multifamily units;
  • A preemption of local governments’ ability to impose certain unnecessary zoning and land use requirements for affordable housing;
  • Requiring that certain affordable multifamily and mixed-use developments be allowed in commercial, industrial, or mixed-use zones, and not be subject to additional height and density restrictions; and
  • Encouraging local jurisdictions to use their excess government-owned property for affordable housing

The National Apartment Association (NAA) applauds FAA’s efforts to resolve affordability challenges in the Sunshine State with balanced and sustainable housing policies. Florida’s Live Local Act is a huge step forward for the state’s housing policy and will go a long way in mitigating the effects of the decades-long shortage of affordable apartments.