A judge's gavel in a courtroom
At the beginning of July, several new Florida state laws created by recent bills went into effect. They touch upon a wide range of issues, but three in particular concern the real estate industry in Florida, dealing with water protection, sinkhole insurance, and faster lease approval for members of the military. Read on for the details!

• SB 552– This complex bill is concerned primarily with protecting Florida’s water assets. It lays out initiatives to protect our freshwater springs, and allows the Department of Environmental Protection to oversee water research programs as well as pollution controls for Lake Okeechobee and the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie River Esuaries. It also provides funding for Everglades and spring protection projects.

• SB 1274– Most insurance companies in Florida only have catastrophic sinkhole coverage, but this new law will allow insurance companies in Florida to cover more moderate damage like cracked walls and foundations. As long as you can show proof of repairs, your home no longer has to disappear into the abyss to be covered by insurance. People of “sinkhole alley” rejoice!

• HB 499– Before this law went into effect, if you disagreed with the value of your property, you could only be represented before your county’s Value Adjustment board by an attorney. Now you can choose to be represented by the a real estate appraiser or broker, making the process much easier and less costly.

• SB 184– This law is sure to make the lives of our servicemen and women a little bit easier. SB 184 requires landlords and HOAs to approve or deny a rental application submitted by active duty service personnel within exactly 7 days of submission. If the application is denied, the applicant must be satisfactorily informed as to why. If a landlord or HOA fails to process the application in seven days, they are required to lease the unit to the applicant.

For full details on all the bills mentioned here that affect real estate in Florida, click the links to be directed to the Florida Senate’s website, where you can also view vote history, analyses, and download PDFs of all bill texts.