Florida governor signs bill banning local rent control, appropriating $711M for affordable housing projects

‘Live Local Act’ takes full effect in July

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis held a news conference Wednesday morning in Collier County to sign SB 102, the “Live Local Act.”

The legislation appropriates $711 million for the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC) to fund or assist in affordable housing projects, providing certain exemptions for ad valorem taxation on lands used for affordable housing projects and “deleting the authority” of local governments to adopt or maintain rent control measures.

The conference on Founders Square Drive featured Florida Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, House Speaker Paul Renner, the bill’s sponsors and representatives of FHFC and Florida Realtors.

DeSantis attributed high costs of living to “Bidenflation,” tieing in the need for the Live Local Act as he claimed federal fiscal injections were simply being canceled out by rising costs in Florida. He and the other speakers praised what they believed the bill would go on to accomplish, all without a word said regarding the rent control ban.

“One of the things that’s been really tough for folks is the housing costs because you’re in a situation where inflation is driving everything up period, but then when they’re building new things — and we saw this in our budget in Florida — we would have projects in the budget in 2021 thinking that we funded something and then the next year I come back and they’re asking to put more money in for the same project. Wait a minute, we funded that. No no, the costs have gone up 50-60% in some cases, and so you’re having to put more money in, so we’ve had to do that,” DeSantis said. “I think it’s a lesson because Biden- they spent so much money and somehow we’re benefiting, ‘Oh, we have money for infrastructure, all this other stuff.’ Just keep in mind, most of the money that is being sloshed around is getting canceled out by the rising costs anyways.”

[TRENDING: Become a News 6 Insider]

According to the state statutes referenced in the bill, “affordable” is defined in the context of “affordable housing” as that in which rents or mortgage payments do not exceed 30% of a household’s median adjusted gross annual income. According to lines 311-326 in the bill, a housing project pursued by a local government may be considered “affordable” and entitled to the help written in the new law so long as at least 10% of its units meet that criteria.

Going off of 2021 Census data for Orlando, valuated in 2021 dollars, the median household income for the area was just below $59,000 at that time. After dividing that number ($58,968) by 12 and figuring out what 30% of the result is, it’s suggested that a 100-unit housing project in Orlando would be considered affordable if at least 10 of its units were offered for less than $1,500 per month, according to the legislation.

“We have so many things in this bill, there’s something for everybody so that we believe that from day one there will be a big impact on the lack of housing for our citizens. We want our residents to live close to where they work. Imagine being able to work at a hospital, walking to work, if you work at a bank, walking to work- those people who have to drive an hour to an hour and a half to work, it’s a tragedy, it’s so hard on their families,” Passidomo said.

Read the bill in its entirety below.

In Orange County, a voter-approved rent control ordinance was never certified and thus never went into effect due to litigation brought against it by the Florida Apartment Association and the Florida Association of Realtors.

Mike McGraw, president of Florida Realtors, called the signing of SB 102 a “historic moment for housing.”

“The ‘Live Local Act’ does so many amazing things. It expands eligibility requirements and invests more than an additional $100 million into Hometown Heroes, the housing program that as of January 30 has already helped 3,582 hardworking Floridians purchase their first home. It incentivizes builders and owners in a variety of ways to increase housing inventory throughout the entire state and invests more than $500 million into proven SHIP and SAIL programs that put Floridians in homes,” McGraw said.

The act in its entirety will take effect on July 1, 2023, with the appropriation of $100 million from the General Revenue Fund to the FHFC taking immediate effect for purposes of implementing a loan program.

The governor on Monday signed a bill to expand scholarships for private school vouchers to all families, with supporters focused on the extra schooling options that parents will have for their children and critics pointing to the effect that the legislation’s cost could have on public education funding.

Watch Wednesday’s news conference again in the video player below.

Get today’s headlines in minutes with Your Florida Daily:

About the Author:

Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.