Florida's New Real Estate Law: What Real Estate Agents Need to Know

Florida's New Real Estate Law: What Real Estate Agents Need to Know

Senate Bill 1718 introduces significant changes to property ownership and purchasing regulations in Florida

June 5, 2023

Florida's real estate landscape is continuously evolving, and it is crucial for real estate agents to stay informed about changes in legislation that impact their profession. The recently enacted law, Senate Bill 1718, introduces significant modifications to property ownership and purchasing regulations in Florida. In this guide, we will delve into the key provisions of the law and outline what real estate agents need to know to navigate these changes effectively.

Overview of Senate Bill 1718

Senate Bill 1718 is a comprehensive piece of legislation that addresses various aspects of real estate ownership and transactions in Florida. It focuses on defining who can and cannot own or purchase property within the state, along with stipulations on geographical restrictions. Let's explore the essential elements that real estate agents should be aware of when working with clients under this new law.

Restrictions on Property Ownership: 

The law introduces specific restrictions on property ownership to ensure compliance with state regulations. Real estate agents must be aware of the following restrictions:

a. Foreign Ownership: Senate Bill 1718 imposes limitations on foreign ownership of certain properties, primarily targeting properties with potential national security concerns. Real estate agents should ascertain the citizenship status of potential buyers and advise them accordingly.

b. Trusts and Corporate Ownership: The law tightens regulations concerning property ownership through trusts or corporations. Real estate agents must conduct thorough due diligence to verify the legitimacy and compliance of trust or corporate entities seeking property ownership.

c. Non-resident Aliens: Non-resident aliens face additional scrutiny when purchasing properties in Florida. Real estate agents should ensure that non-resident alien buyers understand the potential implications and fulfill any necessary requirements.

Geographical Restrictions: 

Senate Bill 1718 also introduces geographical restrictions that real estate agents need to consider when assisting clients in property transactions. The key points to understand include:

a. Prohibited Zones: The law designates certain areas as prohibited zones for property ownership, usually due to environmental or conservation reasons. Real estate agents should have a comprehensive understanding of these prohibited zones and inform clients accordingly.

b. Zoning Changes: The legislation introduces changes to zoning regulations, which may impact the permissible uses of specific properties. Real estate agents should stay up to date with any zoning changes in their respective areas to ensure accurate information is provided to clients.

Compliance and Documentation: 

To adhere to Senate Bill 1718, real estate agents must emphasize compliance and ensure accurate documentation throughout the property transaction process. Key considerations include:

a. Enhanced Due Diligence: The law requires real estate agents to conduct more extensive due diligence when verifying buyer information, including citizenship status, trust or corporate entity compliance, and adherence to geographical restrictions.

b. Disclosures and Documentation: Real estate agents should update their disclosure forms and other transactional documents to reflect the requirements of the new law. These documents must contain all relevant information pertaining to ownership restrictions and geographical limitations.

c. Collaborating with Attorneys: Given the complex nature of the law, real estate agents should consider collaborating with real estate attorneys specializing in title and property law. Attorneys can provide valuable guidance, ensure compliance, and help navigate any legal challenges that may arise.

Senate Bill 1718 introduces significant changes to property ownership and purchasing regulations in Florida. Real estate agents must familiarize themselves with the law's provisions, including restrictions on property ownership, geographical limitations, and enhanced compliance and documentation requirements. By staying informed and adapting their practices accordingly, real estate agents can effectively serve their clients and ensure seamless property transactions in compliance with the new legislation.

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