Ep. 42 Courtney Barnard – 4 Things Apartment Investors Need to Know Regarding Current Florida Regulatory Issues

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Multi-family markets make many investors wary. Regulatory issues surrounding multi-family investments can change quickly and often. Florida regulatory issues occur especially quickly; changes occur every 6 months to a year. Multi-family units are also subject to many different federally protected-class ordinances that undergo frequent regulatory changes. Investors can be intimidated by the dynamic regulatory climate or move to invest in multi-family without a clear grasp of the market.

Courtney Barnard has made it her business to ensure multi-family investors with the proper resources and knowledge to stay atop the frequent Florida regulatory issues that arise. As Director of Government Affairs at the Florida Apartment Association, Courtney is tracking regulatory changes on federal, state and municipal level and advocating Multi-family owners’ rights and interests concerning these changes. This week we discuss 4 major regulatory issues in Florida that will have dramatic effects on multi-family markets.

  • 7 Protected Classes under Federal Government (Race, Color Nat’l Origin, Religion, Sex, Disability)
    • Additional protected classes may be added at state/local level
  • 4 Major Regulatory Issues in FL
  1. Additional Protected Classes in Miami-Dade County
    • Source of Income – cannot discriminate against renter based on source of income (non-traditional incomes…this includes Section 8 and Housing Choice vouchers
    • Domestic Violence Ordinance – victims or perceived victims of domestic violence may apply under Source of Income protection for housing. In FL, no documentation needed for renter to apply under new ordinance
  2. Pets in Multi-family Units
    • Pets often claimed as service animals to preclude fees/pet deposits
    • In FL, service animals may only be defined as a dog or miniature horse
    • Florida House Bill 71, passed 2015, proclaims: Service animal must be house-broken, under control of owner, and pose no threat to community
    • Now a misdemeanor in FL, to falsely identify pets as svc. animals
  3. Fire Assessment Fees/Inspections
    • Past 2 months have seen rise in local ordinances involving fire-safety assessments
    • Recent regulatory changes have cut many municipal budgets
    • Frequency and costs of assessments has risen
    • Property owners charged per unit fee of up to $49, in some cases
  4. Supreme Court ‘Disparate Impact’-Ruling
    • Texas Housing Authority v. Inclusive Communities Project
    • Court ruled that business owners may be unintentionally creating environments of discrimination with regard to fair-housing without violating fair housing laws
    • Already seeing rise in litigation regarding Supreme Court ruling
    • Could pose negative economic impact on multi-family markets
    • See the National Apartment Association‘s website for more info surrounding ruling

Visit the Florida Apartment Association’s website for information and resources on the state level.

Members of the Florida Housing Association may visit the Government Affairs section for more information on regulatory changes or contact Courtney directly through her contact info listed on the site.


Ep 33 – Atty John McMillan Talks Florida Evictions and Protected Classes

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For residential investors and property owners, especially those who wish to remain hands-off owners, assuming the role of landlord can be costly and strenuous for those unfamiliar with the practice of it. This is often made more difficult when undergoing tenant evictions. Confronting the near labyrinthine due process of law during evictions suits can prove a daunting task for even the most seasoned landlords.

Attorney John McMillan stops by this week to discuss evictions processes in residential real estate bayline-coverproperties and covers things to know in order to be a confident and successful property owner. With nearly 40 years of experience representing landlords, he brings with him insightful and educational resources to provide investors and owners with the knowledge and capabilities of being competent landlords. He provides the know-how to properly manage your properties and tenants, especially when handling evictions.


  • Florida evictions typically reached in 4-5 weeks
    • $15k properties filed in County Civil (most residential)
    • $15k or over properties filed in Circuit Civil
  • Costs of evictions
    • Filing fee – $198 + $10 for each addtl tenant
    • Svc. of Process – $45/ tenant
    • Atty. fees between $150-500
    • Extra costs for hearings and writs of possession
  • Know your rights as a landlord
    • Know service of process for evictions
    • No limit on lease length
      • longer than 1yr, leases must be subscribed under landlord by 2 witnesses
      • leases under 6 mths. subjected to sales tax in FL
  • Well-written leases are key
    • Thorough
    • Plain-English…you and your tenant should know and understand what is in the lease
    • Address potential issues in lease
  • Know your tenants’ rights
    • Fair Debt Collection Act
    • Fair Housing Act
      • Cannot discriminate against race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap, familial status (Protected Classes)
      • County specific classes added: Hillsborough County – age, sexual orientation, sexual identity and marital status
      • Federally-subsidized housing (Sect. 8)

For more information about landlord rights and eviction processes, contact John’s office here or by calling 813-988-5135

For lease templates and information on required language contact John directly at John@JohneMcMillan.com