Real Estate’s 2021 Legislative Changes and Updates

Fla. Stat. §119.07 – Inspecting Public Records   Prohibits an agency receiving a public record request from responding to the request by filing an action for declaratory relief against the requester to determine whether that record meets the definition of a public record or if it is confidential or exempt.

Fla. Stat. §125.69 – Code Inspectors – No Investigating Anonymous Complaints.  Code inspector may not investigate potential code or ordinance violations based on anonymous complaints. Complainant must provide their name and address.  Exception, if code inspector has reason to believe violation presents imminent threat to public health, safety, or welfare or imminent destruction of habitat or sensitive resources.

Fla. Stat. §212.031 – Rent Tax On Real Estate Reduced.  Reduces tax rate on rental of commercial real property from 5.5% to 2.0% beginning the second month after the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund exceeds a balance of $4.07 billion.

Fla. Stat. §212.0596 – Sales Tax on Out-Of-State Retailers.  Out-of-state retailers and marketplace providers with no physical presence in Florida must collect Florida’s sales tax on sales of taxable items delivered to purchasers in Florida if their remote sales exceeded $100,000. Authorizes additional lead-acid battery fee, and waste tire fee.

Fla. Stat. §489.147 – Contractor Prohibited Property Insurance Practices.  Contractors cannot: encourage, instruct, induce, solicit, residential owner to contact a contractor or public adjuster to make a roof insurance claim; offer to waive any insurance deductible or give a thing of value in exchange for being allowed to make a roof insurance claim; accept kickbacks for property insurance claims; interpret insurance policies, advise insureds about their coverage or duties, or adjust property insurance claims; provide insureds with contracts without a good faith estimate of the itemized and detailed cost of services and materials for repairs undertaken.

Fla. Stat. §501.059 – Private Cause Of Action for Telephone Solicitations.  All sales telephone calls, text messages, direct-to-voicemail transmissions, recorded message, using an automated machine to dial must have recipients prior express written consent. Creates private cause of action for $500 or actual damages if more, which may be trebled (3x) by the court.

Fla. Stat. §501.616 – Telephone – Blocking Caller ID, Creating False Phone Number.  No salesperson may prevent transmission of their name or telephone number, or use technology to display a different caller identification number.

Fla. Stat. §501.616 – Telephone Solicitations time frames and limitation on amount of calls. No salesperson may call or send a recorded message outside 8AM-8PM, nor more than three (3) times over 24 hours on the same subject matter.  

Fla. Stat. §626.854(15) – Contractor Prohibition as Public Adjuster or Recommending Public Adjusters.   Contractors and their subs may not advertise, solicit, offer to handle, handle, or perform public adjuster services unless licensed as a public adjuster.  They can recommend a consumer contact their own insurance company.

Fla. Stat. §626.854(22) – Public Adjuster Prohibitions Relating To Roofs.  Offering residential owner rebates, anything of value in exchange for being allowed to: (a) conduct a roof inspection; or (b) Make a roof insurance claim.  Offering or accepting any compensation, inducement, or reward for the referral of roof insurance claims.

Fla. Stat. §715.12 – Construction Contract Prompt Payment Law. Increases late payment interest on construction contracts to the rate specified in §55.03plus twelve percent (12.00%) per annum.

Fla. Stat. §718.111 Condo – $150.00 Transfer Fee.  Increases fee condo may charge for transfer of a unit from $100.00 to $150.00.

Fla. Stat. §718.111 Condo – Renter Right To Inspect.   Allows renters to inspect and copy Declaration of Condo, bylaws, and rules.

Fla. Stat. §718.113 Condo – Unit Owners Right to install Charging Stations.   Permits unit owners with their own designated parking spot to install charging stations for electric or a natural gas fuel vehicle.

Fla. Stat. §718.121 – Condos, Form Of Notice, Prerequisites To Claiming Attorney Fees, Increasing Time To Pay Before Liening. Condos may send invoices and statements via email but only if condo unit owner affirmatively opts in.  Unit owners are entitled to a “Notice of Late Assessment” (on a statutorily prescribed form) stating the amount owed to the Condo before attorney fees may be charged attorney fees.  The “Notice of Late Assessment” must specify the amount owed and allow the owner to pay past due assessments without paying additional attorney fees.  With regards to Condos sending a “NOTICE OF INTENT TO RECORD A CLAIM OF LIEN,” the period of time a unit owner has to pay a monetary obligation after receiving the Condo’s notice is increased from 30 days to 45 days (this now conforms to the 45-day payment period afforded parcel owners in HOAs).

Fla. Stat. §718.202 Condo Developer – Limitation On Use Of Buyer’s Escrowed Funds.   Condo developer may spend escrowed funds on actual costs of construction and development; not marketing, loan, professional, or insurance costs.

Fla. Stat. §720.303 HOA – Guest List Confidentiality.  Information an HOA obtains in a gated community in connection with guests’ visits are not accessible to members or owners.

Fla. Stat. §720.306 HOA – Restrictions On Rentals.  HOA may amend HOA docs to prohibit or regulate rentals of 6 months or less.  May prohibit more than 3 rentals per year.  Inapplicability when 15 or fewer parcels.

Fla. Stat. §732.507 – Effect of Divorce on a Will.  Provision in a will affecting a decedent’s spouse are void upon divorce.  Exception, if the will is executed after the divorce, contrary intention in the will is specifically stated, or the divorce judgment provides otherwise.

Fla. Stat. §768.38 Liability Protections for COVID-19-related Claims.  Makes claims against individuals, businesses, educational institutions, governments and religious institutions very difficult. Civil actions based on COVID-19 must meet the following requirements: (a) The complaint must be pled with particularity; (b) be accompanied by a Florida physician’s affidavit attesting that the plaintiff’s COVID-19 injuries occurred as a result of the defendant’s acts or omissions; (c) generally be commenced within 1 year after the cause of action accrued; (d) Court must then conduct a hearing to determine compliance with the foregoing or dismiss the action without prejudice; (e) Court must also determine whether the defendant made a good faith effort to substantially comply with authoritative or controlling government issued health standards.  If the court determines defendant made a good faith effort, the defendant is immune from civil liability.  If the court determines the defendant did not make such a good faith effort, the plaintiff may continue with their suit but must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant acted with gross negligence.  Different standard applies to health care providers.

Fla. Stat. §823.14 – Florida Right to Farm Act. Limits nuisance claims (e.g. noise, smoke, odors, dust, fumes, particle emissions, or vibration) against farm operations to real estate owners within ½ mile from where nuisance is emanating.  Also limits damages which may be sought.

Fla. Stat. §934.50 – Prohibitions on drone videoing and exceptions.  Without written consent, no person state agency, or a political subdivision may use a drone to record privately owned real property or of the owner, tenant, occupant, invitee, or licensee of such property with the intent to conduct surveillance in violation of such person’s reasonable expectation of privacy. Creates a private cause of action against violators including attorney fees, multipliers, punitive damages, and injunctive relief.

Law enforcement agencies (including code enforcement) may not use drones to gather evidence or other information.  Exceptions include: (a) counter high risk of terrorist attack; (b) search warrant obtained authorizing use of drone; (c) swift action is needed to prevent imminent danger to life or serious damage to property; search for a missing person; prevent imminent: escape of a suspect or destruction of evidence; (d) aerial views of crowds of 50 people or more; (e) assist with traffic management but not to issue traffic citations; (f) collect evidence at a crime or traffic crash scene; (g) Assess  flood, wildlife, natural disaster damage during state of emergency, vegetation or wildlife management on public land or water; (h) fire department personnel to perform tasks within their certification; (i) person engaged in a business or profession licensed by the state, or by an agent, employee, or contractor thereof, if the drone is used only to perform reasonable tasks within the scope of practice or activities permitted under such person’s license; (j) property appraisers for assessing ad valorem taxes; (k) for electric, water, or natural gas utilities; (l) aerial mapping; (m) deliver cargo; (n) capture images necessary to safely operate  or navigate the drone; (o) communication service providers; (p) Fish and Wildlife to eradicate invasive exotic plants or animals on public lands, and suppressing wildfires.

DISCLAIMER:  Topics discussed are general concepts, not intended to constitute legal advice, accuracy, nor completeness, and may not be relied upon as such; consult an attorney or accountant.  The author Randy Gilbert, J.D. is neither an attorney nor an accountant.  FTIC is a national award winning title insurance company known for its white glove customer service and “No Junk Fee Guarantee.” ®


Senate Resolution 1008 “Great American Realtor Days is designated for February 3-5, “in recognition of the outstanding services realtors provide to residents and visitors of the state and the critical contribution they make to the state economy.” Finding teal estate represents 21.9% of Florida’s gross state product.

Fla. Stat. §40.013. Excuse Me? Jury Duty. Excuses from jury service 18-21 year old full-time-students.

Fla. Stat. §83.5615 Tenant Protection from Foreclosures. Prohibiting buyers of foreclosed properties from terminating bona fide residential leases without first providing the tenants with a 90-day notice to vacate (unless federal law requires more time).

Fla. Stat. §193.155 Homestead Portability. In the 2021 tax roll, increases timeframe which accrued benefits on homestead property tax assessments may be transferred from a prior homestead to a new homestead from 2 years to 3 years.

Fla. Stat. §196.082Ad Valorem Tax Reduction for Disabled Veteran’s Surviving Spouse. So long as the surviving spouse does not remarry, the ad valorem tax discount will be extended to surviving spouse, also allows for the discount to be ported over to surviving spouse’s new residence.

Fla. Stat. §§ 420.621-420.6275 Homelessness. Redefining homelessness as “An individual or family who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence … or who will imminently lose their primary nighttime residence ….” Adds prohibition on excluding based on race, color, national origin, sex, handicap, familial status, or religion.

Fla. Stat. §§ 455.213, 489.115. Reciprocity for Out-Of-State Contractors. Opens up ability to get Florida construction license for those who held a valid and current contracting license for at least 10 years issued by another U.S. state.

Fla. Stat. §455.2278DBPR Licensure and Student Loans. Eliminating license suspensions or revocation based on student loan default or delinquencies.

Fla. Stat. §§ 456.072, 460.27, 760.22, 817.265 False use of Emotional Support Animals (“ESA”), Criminalizing, Disabilities. Word “Handicap” is no longer used, replace with “Disability.” Disciplining health care professionals if without personal knowledge they state a person is disabled or needs an emotional support animal (“ESA”). Makes it a 2nd degree misdemeanor and requires 30 hours of community service, if a person misrepresents they have a disability or disability-related need for an ESA. Makes persons with ESAs liable for damages caused by their ESA. Unless federally prohibited, housing providers:

  • May, require proof of licensing and vaccination of the ESA.
  • May, deny an ESA if it (1) poses a direct threat to safety or health of others; (2) physical damage to other’s property; and the threat cannot e reduced or eliminated by another reasonable accommodation.
  • May, If the disability is not readily apparent, request reliable information reasonably supporting the person’s disability like:

(1) Determination from the government,

(2) Disability benefits or services from the government,

(3) Proof of eligibility for housing assistance or housing voucher due to disability,

(4) Information from a health care or telehealth provider,

(5) Information identifying the particular assistance or therapeutic emotional support provided by the animal.

(6) Animal registrations of any kind (i.e. ID card, patch, certificate, or internet registration) by themselves are insufficient to reliably establish a person’s disability or need for an ESA.

  • May NOT, request information disclosing diagnosis or severity of a person’s disability
  • May NOT, request medical records relating to the disability
  • May NOT, require the use of a specific form or notarized statement
  • May NOT, discriminate in housing against persons with disabilities or needs for an ESA.
  • May NOT charge extra for an ESA.

Fla. Stat. §481.209Interior Designer Licensure. Eases the requirements for becoming a registered interior designer and obtaining a seal.

Fla. Stat. §489.103. Handyman licensure exception. Raises from $1,000 to $2,500, the exemption from licensure as a contractor. Doesn’t apply if work is part of a larger operation undertaken by the same or a different contractor.

Fla. Stat. §501.2106 Deceptive Legal Advertising. Solicitations for legal services directed to the public must clearly and conspicuously state “This is a paid advertisement for legal services”; Disclose the sponsor of the advertisement; Disclose the attorney or law firm who will represent persons responding to the advertisement or how those persons will be referred if the sponsor will not represent the persons; cannot imply it is a consumer alert or public service announcement; display logos or similar thereof implying affiliation with a government agency.

Fla. Stat. §613.57 Increases Property Insurance Requirements for Associations. Increases coverage for property insurance claims by a condo, co-op, or HOA under Florida’s Insurance Guaranty Association (FIGA) from $100,000 to $200,000 multiplied by the number of units.

Fla. Stat. §689.01Eliminates 2 Witness Requirement for Leases. “[N]o subscribing witnesses shall be required for a lease of real property or any such instrument pertaining to a lease of real property.”

Fla. Stat. §689.041Curing Scrivener’s Errors in deeds. Correcting an erroneous deed can be costly and time-consuming, as such action requires either tracking down the original grantor and getting the grantor to file a corrective deed or bringing a lawsuit in court for deed reformation. Now a single error or omission of: a lot or block; unit, building or phase number for condos or co-ops; a directional designation; or a fraction in the section township or range, can be fixed by recording a “curative notice” of the erroneous deed.

Fla. Stat. §712.05 Voids Discriminatory Restrictions in Property Records. Declaring “discriminatory restrictions” (meaning restrictions on an individual’s ownership, occupancy, or use of real property based on their race, color, national origin, religion, gender, physical disability, or other protected class) found within recorded title transactions (e.g. deeds, easements, condo docs) null and void.

Florida Chapter 714Adopts the Uniform Commercial Real Estate Receivership Act (UCRERA): A receiver is a person appointed by a court to take possession of another’s property and to “receive, collect, care for, and dispose of the property or [its] fruits.” In some instances, a receiver’s appointment (“receivership”) is governed by Florida statute. In other cases, such as receiverships for commercial real estate, a receiver is appointed under the court’s equity powers (“equitable receivership”). The Uniform Commercial Real Estate Receivership Act (UCRERA), adopted by seven states since 2017, specifies the circumstances under which a receiver may be appointed for commercial real estate, the scope of such a receivership proceeding, and the receiver’s powers, duties, and liabilities.

Fla. Stat. §§ 718.129, 719.131, 720.318Curbs Law Enforcement Parking Restrictions at HOAs. Condos, Co-Ops, and HOAs may not treat law enforcement vehicles as commercial vehicles, and may not prohibit them from parking in an area where the unit owner, or its tenant, guest, or invitee has a right to park.

Fla. Stat. §760.34 Private Lawsuits for Housing Discrimination. No more waiting and having to exhaust administrative remedies. Housing discrimination lawsuits alleging violations of the Florida’s Fair Housing Act (“FFHA”) may now be immediately filed in court without having to be first presented to Florida Agencies like the Florida Commission on Human Relations and waiting for their outcome.

Fla. Stat. §791.08 Fireworks and HOAs. HOAs may not prohibit homeowner’s from using fireworks on December 31st (New Year’s Eve), January 1st (New Year’s Day), or July 4th (Independence Day).

DISCLAIMER:  Topics discussed are general concepts, not intended to constitute legal advice, accuracy, nor completeness, and may not be relied upon as such; consult an attorney. FTIC is a national award winning title insurance company known for its white glove customer service and “No Junk Fee Guarantee.” ®