Miami Realtors Advocate for South Florida Real Estate Community in Tallahassee

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The MIAMI Association of REALTORS® (MIAMI) discussed major legislative issues impacting the South Florida real estate market with 24 state lawmakers at the 46th annual Great American Realtor Days

Mark Sadek, 2016 Chairman of the Board, MIAMI Association of REALTORS

Advocating for the South Florida real estate community at the government level is vital to our industry and region

The MIAMI Association of REALTORS® (MIAMI) discussed major legislative issues impacting the South Florida real estate market with 24 state lawmakers at the 46th annual Great American Realtor Days. An association-record of 100 members traveled to Tallahassee on Jan. 12-13 to meet with state legislators from Miami-Dade, Broward, Monroe, Martin and Palm Beach counties.

One of MIAMI’s top legislative issues — the need for a comprehensive state water bill — was resolved by the Legislature shortly after MIAMI returned home. On Jan. 21, Gov. Rick Scott signed a new water policy measure (Senate Bill 552) that will restore water resources while protecting property rights. MIAMI also wants the Legislature to cut the business rent sales tax by 1 percent, cap the fees charged by community associations for estoppel certificates and increase funding for affordable housing.

“Advocating for the South Florida real estate community at the government level is vital to our industry and region,” said Mark Sadek, the 2016 MIAMI Chairman of the Board who made his fourth trip to Great American Realtor Days. “Our group had a strong desire to make a difference for our customers during this Legislative session. By showing up in record numbers and expressing our views in a concise way, MIAMI made a compelling impact with our local state representatives and state senators.”

Record Participation
Multiple lawmakers remarked about the record-size of the MIAMI contingent, and how organized the group was in delivering its talking points. Instead of bringing all 100 members to each legislative meeting, MIAMI split up in groups to make the experience more powerful for legislators. Each MIAMI member met with his or her respective state senator and state representative.

MIAMI assigned a member, or a key contact, to each state lawmaker. Surrounded by a group of 15 to 25 Realtors, the key contact opened the discussion with his or her assigned legislator during the Tallahassee meetings. At the end of the discussion, the key contact handed his or her legislator a MIAMI folder filled with information on MIAMI’s four legislative issues. The folder also contained statistics on the legislator’s specific district.

“I’m so glad to see you active,” Rep. Barbara Watson (D-Miami Gardens) told a MIAMI group gathered in her 10th floor Capitol building office on Jan. 13. “I expect that from Dade County.”

Legislators Offer Support on Four Major Issues
Cutting the business rent sales tax by 1 percent is one of MIAMI’s top legislative priorities this year. Florida is the only state in the country that charges a sales tax on business rent, which creates a financial burden for businesses leasing space. MIAMI supports Senate Bill 116 by Sen. Dorothy Hukill (R-Port Orange) and House Bill 247 by Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen (R-Fort Myers).

During a meeting at his Tallahassee office on Jan. 12, Rep. Bryan Avila (R-Hialeah) told MIAMI he was in full support of the measure.

“Everybody needs a commercial space,” Avila told MIAMI.

MIAMI also wants legislators to cap the fees charged by community associations for estoppel certificates. Florida law allows associations to charge a “reasonable” fee to prepare an estoppel certificate. Some associations, however, charge as much as $1,000 for this payoff letter. SB 722/HB 203 from Rep. Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) and Rep. John Wood (R-Winter Haven) are almost identical to legislation that nearly passed last session.

Affordable housing is another key statewide issue. MIAMI and Florida Realtors want state legislators to increase funding for the Sadowski Affordable Housing Programs. Last year, the Legislature allocated $175 million toward the housing trust funds, the highest funding level in eight years.

Rep. Jose Felix Diaz (R-Miami) and other lawmakers thanked MIAMI for supporting the Sadowski legislation, saying it was an important bill during this legislative session.

Rep. Kionne McGhee (D-Miami) said he appreciated MIAMI’s input on estoppel certificates. McGhee took out a black pen and yellow notepad and wrote several pages of notes during his meeting with MIAMI on Jan. 12.

“Having you all here helped me because I didn’t have the full grasp of the issue,” McGhee said.

To view a photo gallery from MIAMI’s trip to Great American Realtor Days, visit:
http://bit.ly/GARDPhotos

About the MIAMI Association of REALTORS®
The MIAMI Association of REALTORS® was chartered by the National Association of Realtors in 1920 and is celebrating 96 years of service to Realtors, the buying and selling public, and the communities in South Florida. Comprised of six organizations, the Residential Association, the Realtors Commercial Alliance, the Broward Council, the Jupiter Tequesta Hobe Sound (JTHS) Council, the Young Professionals Network (YPN) Council and the award-winning International Council, it represents more than 41,000 real estate professionals in all aspects of real estate sales, marketing, and brokerage. It is the largest local Realtor association in the U.S., and has official partnerships with 136 international organizations worldwide. MIAMI’s official website is http://www.miamire.com.

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