MIAMI – January 8, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — The nation’s largest local Realtor organization will bring nearly 100 members, an association record, to Tallahassee to discuss significant legislative issues impacting the South Florida real estate market. The representatives of the 41,000-member MIAMI Association of REALTORS® (MIAMI) will meet with state legislators Jan. 12-13 during the 46th annual Great American Realtor Days.
MIAMI will address four major legislative issues in Tallahassee. The MIAMI Association of REALTORS® and Florida Realtors want legislators to cut the business rent sales tax by 1 percent, cap the fees charged by community associations for estoppel certificates, increase funding for affordable housing and restore water resources while protecting property rights.
“Bringing this large of a contingent to Great American Realtor Days is a testament to our members’ desire to make a difference on key legislative issues,” said Danielle Blake, MIAMI’s Senior Vice President of Government Affairs & Housing. “Not only will we meet with the local delegation, but we will also meet Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Ken Lawson. The trip occurs as Florida Realtors celebrates its 100th anniversary and honors 2016 President Matey H. Veissi, a longtime MIAMI member who helped create and charter our association’s International Council.”
Strength in Numbers
MIAMI, which employs two full-time government affairs executives, typically brings 20 to 25 members to Great American Realtor Days. This year, the association wanted to have a larger group to celebrate Florida Realtors’ 100th anniversary and the start of Veissi’s presidency.
Instead of bringing all 100 members to each legislative meeting, MIAMI will make the experience more significant and powerful for Miami-Dade County legislators. This year, each MIAMI member traveling to Tallahassee will meet with their respective state senator and state representative. MIAMI members from Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward, Martin and Palm Beach counties will have an opportunity to discuss issues with their respective state political leaders.
The Miami-Dade County Legislative Delegation has 24 members: six state senators and 18 state representatives, representing the largest and most populated county in Florida.
The entire MIAMI contingent will discuss Realtor licensing fees and other issues with Lawson on Jan. 13. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation regulates more than one million license holders and on an average issues 2,000 real estate licenses each month.
Four Major Legislative Issues
Cutting the business rent sales tax by 1 percent is one of MIAMI’s top legislative priorities this year. Florida is the only state in the country that charges a sales tax on business rent, which creates a financial burden for businesses leasing space. MIAMI supports Senate Bill 116 by Sen. Dorothy Hukill (R-Port Orange) and House Bill 247 by Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen (R-Fort Myers).
MIAMI also wants legislators to cap the fees charged by community associations for estoppel certificates. Florida law allows associations to charge a “reasonable” fee to prepare an estoppel certificate. Some associations, however, charge as much as $1,000 for this payoff letter. SB 722/HB 203 from Rep. Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) and Rep. John Wood (R-Winter Haven) are almost identical to legislation that nearly passed last session.
Affordable housing is another key statewide issue. MIAMI and Florida Realtors want state legislators to increase funding for the Sadowski Affordable Housing Programs. Last year, the Legislature allocated $175 million toward the housing trust funds, the highest funding level in eight years.
Lastly, Florida needs to restore its water resources while protecting property rights. Sen. Charlie Dean (R-Inverness) and Rep. Matt Caldwell (R-Lehigh Acres), sponsors of SB 552 and HB 7005, have written bills with comprehensive statewide policy that addresses key aspects of water management, water quality and water supply.
“We hope to make a compelling impact with local House Representatives and State Senators by showing up in numbers and expressing our views on these important issues,” said Mark Sadek, the 2016 MIAMI Chairman of the Board. “These issues are critical to real estate professionals, the buying and selling public and communities throughout the region and state.”