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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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.