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DeSantis Signs $711M Housing Bill, Rent Control Ban Into Law

The Florida State Capitol building

Florida lawmakers on Wednesday signed into law the largest state government investment in housing in the state's history.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed SB 102, legislation that directs $711M toward programs that would fund the development of affordable and workforce housing throughout the state. The law also forbids municipal governments from enacting rent control and would allow developers to skirt local zoning rules if they keep some units in their projects affordable.

The bill, dubbed the Live Local Act, was introduced by state Sen. Alexis Calatayud, a Republican from Miami, and passed the Florida Senate on a 40-0 vote and the Florida House of Representatives by a 103-6 vote. 

“Today is a new day for workforce housing in the free state of Florida,” Calatayud said in a statement. “The biggest housing concern we hear from young people is that there is no place for them to raise their own families in communities they grew up in, where their extended families have lived for generations. That changes today.”

The law includes $259M in funding for low-interest loans to developers building workforce housing; $252M for local governments to use as developer incentives to produce or preserve housing; $100M to provide down payment and closing cost assistance for first-time homebuyers in public service jobs like teachers, police officers and firefighters; and $100M toward loans intended to help developers close funding gaps created by the rapidly increasing construction cost environment.

The Florida Housing Finance Corp. will administer the funding.

Six in 10 employed adult residents in Miami are cost-burdened with housing expenses, the highest rate in the nation, according to the Miami Urban Future Initiative

“There's a whole population of people out there who none of us typically think of as being cost-burdened, or, you know, stressed to be able to afford an apartment," PTM Partners CEO Michael Tillman said at a Bisnow multifamily event in November. “It is the people who are young professionals, first responders, nurses, teachers, they can’t find a place to live within short distances of their jobs.”

Beyond the funding, the Live Local Act also includes several developer-friendly land use policies. Multifamily and mixed-use developments in any commercial or mixed-use zone will be able to be built beyond local density limits if at least 40% of the residential is rent-restricted for at least 30 years. Projects that are at least 65% residential will be able to be built to the maximum allowable height anywhere within a mile radius of the project, The Real Deal reported.