Live Local Act: Driving Affordable Housing Solutions for Florida’s “Missing Middle”

June 6, 2023

Live Local Act: Driving Affordable Housing Solutions for Florida’s “Missing Middle”

Introduction: Valbridge Property Advisors | Orlando | Tampa | Jacksonville is excited to introduce a new initiative in response to the game-changing Live Local Act recently signed into law in Florida. This legislation not only presents significant opportunities for investors and developers but also aims to address the pressing issue of housing affordability for the “missing middle” income demographic. Through our comprehensive market rent studies and appraisal services, we are committed to supporting the successful implementation of this act and driving the growth of affordable housing in Florida.

Expanding Affordable Housing Reach: The Live Local Act, also known as SB102, revolutionizes the concept of affordability by increasing the threshold for qualifying households. Under the new legislation, households with incomes of up to 120% of the Area Median Income (AMI) now fall within the definition of “affordable.” This expansion broadens the reach of affordable housing initiatives, capturing more families within the “missing middle” class.

Unlocking Tax Exemptions for Higher Rents: The Live Local Act introduces tax exemptions that incentivize developers and investors to offer affordable units at higher rental rates. This creates a unique opportunity for new or recently constructed housing to provide a greater number of affordable units within the “missing middle” income range.

Applying for the “Missing Middle” Property Tax Exemption: To take advantage of the “missing middle” tax exemption, developers and investors must obtain Multifamily Middle Market certification from the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC). Interested owners must apply to FHFC to receive the certification notice, which is then submitted to the local property appraiser’s office by March 1st. The certification from FHFC, although necessary, does not guarantee the issuance of the exemption. The final decision rests with the Property Appraiser. To qualify for the property tax exemption, the following requirements must be met:

  1. Properties must be no more than five years old.
  2. More than 70 units within the property must be designated for affordable housing.
  3. Rental rates must be 90% or below the fair market rent determination.
  4. Rent restrictions must be in place for a minimum of three years.

The Benefits of the “Missing Middle” Property Tax Exemption: The tax exemptions granted under the Live Local Act provide substantial benefits to developers and investors. The extent of the exemption depends on the income range served by the affordable units:

  1. For a 100% Tax Exemption: Units must serve households with incomes up to 80% of AMI.
  2. For a 75% Tax Exemption: Units must serve households with incomes between 81% and 120% of AMI.

Determining Fair Market Rent: To determine eligibility for the tax exemption, it is essential for developers and investors to obtain a current market rent study that is fully compliant with SB102 requirements. At Valbridge Property Advisors, we specialize in providing accurate and reliable market rent studies that ensure compliance with the Live Local Act. Our expert appraisers utilize advanced data analysis techniques, comprehensive databases, and in-depth market knowledge to deliver market rent studies that meet the specific criteria outlined in SB102.

Conclusion: The Live Local Act is a significant step toward addressing Florida’s housing crisis and providing solutions for the “missing middle” income demographic. Through our expertise in market rent studies and appraisals,  Valbridge Property Advisors | Orlando | Tampa | Jacksonville is dedicated to supporting developers, investors, and local communities in navigating the requirements of this act. We are committed to helping you seize the opportunities presented by the Live Local Act, maximizing the potential of your multifamily assets, and driving positive change in Florida’s housing market. Contact us today to learn more and embark on this exciting journey towards a more inclusive and affordable future.

Questions? Contact Valbridge Property Advisors | Orlando | Tampa | Jacksonville today to unlock the full potential of the Live Local Act and achieve maximum returns on your affordable housing investments. We invite you to give us a call toll free at 844-822-7825 and dial extension 1.

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