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Wednesday, June 30, 2021
New Florida Laws Go into Effect on July 1
By Kerry Smith
Three bills from the 2021 final report on the Legislature become effective Thursday, including a new property insurance law and $900M to help the environment.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Realtors® advocated for a number of issues in the 2021 session of the Florida Legislature, including three that were signed by Gov. DeSantis and go into effect on Thursday, July 1.
Property insurance: The first, SB 76, is a comprehensive property insurance bill that implements several measures intended to address rising insurance costs within the state, by generally tightening some issues that can lead to rising insurance costs, including:
Limiting some of the things contractors may do in relation to insurance claims for roof damage
Limiting the fees attorneys representing claimants may receive
Requiring policyholders to file claims within three years of a loss
Strengthening Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) oversight of companies affiliated with Florida property insurers
Requiring Florida residential property insurers to file a comprehensive annual report with OIR regarding closed claims
Increases the 10% cap on Citizens rate increases by 1% annually beginning in 2022, until the cap reaches 15% in 2026
Environment: As part of the state budget, nearly $900 million will also be available to help the environment on July 1. This year’s fiscal budget includes money for:
Everglades restoration: $487 million
Springs protection: $50 million
Beach projects: $100 million
The Wastewater Grant Program: $116 million
The Resilient Florida Grant Program: $29 million
The federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 passed during the pandemic also includes a total of $1.08 billion in federal funding that has been allocated for several of the environmental programs.
Unlicensed activity: The Florida Legislature also allocated up to $500,000 to be used during the new fiscal year to prevent unlicensed real estate activity.