Florida Senate - 2019 SB 1314 By Senator Pizzo 38-01547-19 20191314__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to affordable housing tax reductions; 3 amending s. 196.1978, F.S.; defining terms; providing 4 legislative findings; providing a tax reduction to 5 certain entities that provide affordable housing to 6 identified groups; providing criteria for receiving 7 such reduction; providing a formula for determining 8 the amount of the reduction; requiring the taxpayer to 9 submit a covenant for recording that provides 10 specified information; requiring each taxpayer who 11 receives a tax reduction to file an annual report; 12 providing specifications for such report; providing 13 penalties for falsification of reports; requiring 14 specified counties to post certain maps on their 15 websites; requiring the Florida Housing Finance 16 Corporation to adopt specified rules; requiring the 17 taxpayer to pay back taxes, penalties, and interest 18 under specified circumstances; providing exceptions; 19 providing an effective date. 20 21 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 22 23 Section 1. Subsection (3) is added to section 196.1978, 24 Florida Statutes, to read: 25 196.1978 Affordable housing property exemption; affordable 26 housing property reductions.— 27 (3)(a) As used in this subsection: 28 1. “Affordable housing project” means a rental housing 29 project built after July 1, 2019, which receives a 4-percent 30 low-income housing tax credit from the corporation pursuant to 31 s. 420.5099, which receives bonds for qualifying housing 32 developments from a housing finance authority, and in which: 33 a. At least 20 percent of the rental units are offered at 34 rents affordable to natural persons or households whose annual 35 adjusted gross incomes do not exceed 50 percent of the area 36 median income. 37 b. At least 20 percent of the rental units are offered at 38 rents affordable to natural persons or households whose annual 39 adjusted gross household incomes do not exceed 80 percent of the 40 area median income. 41 c. The remaining rental units are offered at rents 42 affordable to natural persons or households whose adjusted gross 43 incomes do not exceed 120 percent of the area median income. 44 2. “Base tax” means the operating taxes remitted to the 45 project taxing authority in the tax year immediately preceding 46 the reduction term. 47 3. “Corporation” means the Florida Housing Finance 48 Corporation. 49 4. “Elderly housing project” means a rental housing project 50 constructed after July 1, 2019, which receives a 4- or 9-percent 51 low-income housing tax credit from the corporation pursuant to 52 s. 420.5099 and meets the following criteria: 53 a. Reserves occupancy of the rental units exclusively for 54 natural persons at least 62 years of age. 55 b. Offers all rental units at rates that are affordable to 56 natural persons or households whose annual adjusted gross income 57 is below 120 percent of the area median income. 58 c. Implements the standards and processes to reduce 59 barriers to rental housing entry adopted by rule of the 60 corporation. 61 5. “Household” has the same meaning as in s. 196.075(1). 62 6. “Mass transit station” means a station serviced by a 63 public or private fixed guideway rapid transit system, passenger 64 rail service, light rail transportation system, or bus rapid 65 transit system. 66 7. “Operating taxes” means the nonvoted millage portion of 67 the county millage and the municipal millage as identified in s. 68 200.001(1)(a) and (2)(a), respectively. 69 8. “Project taxing authority” means a county or 70 municipality, as those terms are defined in s. 200.001(8)(a) and 71 (b), respectively, which is authorized to levy operating taxes 72 against real property in the jurisdiction in which a qualifying 73 project is located. 74 9. “Qualifying project” means an affordable housing 75 project, elderly housing project, or workforce housing project 76 that: 77 a. Is located in a county that has a population of 825,000 78 or more. 79 b. Is located within one-half mile of a mass transit 80 station or within one-quarter mile of a transit corridor. 81 c. Has not received an affordable housing property 82 exemption pursuant to subsection (2). 83 d. Has not received funds from the corporation pursuant to 84 s. 420.5087. 85 10. “Reduction term” means the 25-year tax reduction period 86 beginning the year in which the qualifying project is first 87 assessed under s. 192.042(1) and certified by the county 88 property appraiser as eligible to receive a tax reduction in 89 operating taxes. 90 11. “Taxpayer” has the same meaning as in s. 192.001(13). 91 12. “Transit corridor” means an area located within one 92 half mile of any road over which a public bus system provides 93 service every 30 minutes, on average, between the hours of 8 94 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily. 95 13. “Workforce housing project” means a rental housing 96 project for natural persons and households in which: 97 a. At least 10 percent of the rental units are offered at 98 rents affordable to natural persons or households whose annual 99 adjusted gross incomes exceed 60 percent, but are not more than 100 80 percent, of the area median income. 101 b. At least 20 percent of the rental units are offered at 102 rents affordable to natural persons or households whose annual 103 adjusted gross household incomes exceed 80 percent, but are not 104 more than 100 percent, of the area median income. 105 c. The remaining rental units are offered at rates equal to 106 the prevailing market rates in the natural person’s or 107 household’s market area. 108 (b) The Legislature finds that property used to provide 109 affordable, elderly, and workforce housing to natural persons 110 and households that meet the low-income or moderate-income 111 limits is a charitable purpose. Therefore, notwithstanding s. 112 196.195(4), a taxpayer who builds a qualifying project after 113 July 1, 2019, may receive a tax reduction in operating taxes 114 that would otherwise be assessed, if the following criteria are 115 met: 116 1. The taxpayer timely files an application for the tax 117 reduction with the property appraiser no later than March 1 of 118 the year immediately following the year in which the qualifying 119 project is first assessed under s. 192.042(1). 120 2. The taxpayer records a covenant running with the land 121 that restricts the rents of units within the qualifying project 122 in accordance with the requirements set forth in subparagraph 123 (a)1., subparagraph (a)4., or subparagraph (a)13. 124 (c) For the first 16 years of the reduction term, a 125 qualifying project shall be assessed operating taxes in an 126 amount equal to the base tax, subject to an annual adjustment 127 equal to 2.5 percent beginning in year 2 of the reduction term, 128 or the percent by which new residential construction grew as 129 determined annually by the United States Census Bureau, 130 whichever is less. After the first 16 years of the reduction 131 term, the qualifying project shall be assessed as follows: 132 133 Year of Tax ReductionAffordable Reduction PercentagesWorkforce Housing Reduction PercentagesElderly Housing 9-Percent Tax Credit Reduction Percentages 134 1-16 100 percent 100 percent 20 percent 135 17 90 percent 100 percent 18 percent 136 18 80 percent 90 percent 16 percent 137 19 70 percent 85 percent 14 percent 138 20 60 percent 75 percent 12 percent 139 21 50 percent 60 percent 10 percent 140 22 40 percent 50 percent 10 percent 141 23 30 percent 40 percent 5 percent 142 24 20 percent 25 percent 5 percent 143 25 10 percent 15 percent 5 percent 144 (d) If the property appraiser approves the application, the 145 taxpayer must submit the covenant for recording. The property 146 appraiser shall apply the authorized tax reductions beginning in 147 the same tax year. The taxpayer submitting the application is 148 responsible for the cost of recording the covenant. 149 (e) Each taxpayer who receives a tax reduction is required 150 to submit a report annually to the property appraiser confirming 151 his or her compliance with the rent restrictions required for 152 the receipt of the reduction. The report must be executed by the 153 taxpayer or an authorized representative of the taxpayer and 154 must include the written declaration set forth in s. 92.525(2). 155 A taxpayer who falsifies the written declaration commits a 156 felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 157 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. 158 (f) By November 1, 2019, each county described in s. 159 420.5087(1)(a) shall post on its website maps of the areas 160 within its respective geographic limits that meet the criteria 161 set forth in sub-subparagraph (a)9.b. to identify where 162 qualifying projects may be located. Each county shall update 163 each map annually by November 1 and notify the county property 164 appraiser once the maps are posted on its website. 165 (g) The corporation shall adopt rules pursuant to ss. 166 120.536 and 120.54 to implement standards and processes to 167 reduce barriers to rental housing that, at a minimum, shall: 168 1. Encourage or require qualifying projects to adopt income 169 eligibility requirements as part of the application process for 170 a natural person or household that require no more than a 2:1 171 rent income-to-income ratio to expand access to rental housing. 172 2. Incorporate applicant credit history standards that: 173 a. Do not authorize a look-back period of more than 5 years 174 for prior evictions. 175 b. Eliminate cable and Internet service payment history 176 from consideration during credit checks. 177 3. For elderly housing projects, develop tenant rent 178 standards that expand access to rental housing for natural 179 persons at least 62 years old or households in which the person 180 resides and that reduce the total rent if the person or 181 household: 182 a. Receives a recurring source of retirement income, such 183 as social security benefits or a fixed-income annuity, if the 184 person or household has consistently received the income for 185 more than 12 months. 186 b. Has consistently paid monthly rents in another housing 187 unit for at least 18 months that were at least 110 percent of 188 the elderly housing project monthly rents. 189 4. Require qualifying projects to provide written notice to 190 each natural person or household of an eligibility determination 191 within 3 business days after making the determination. 192 (h)1. If the property appraiser determines that a 193 qualifying project that was granted a tax reduction has failed 194 to offer rents as required in the recorded covenant and as set 195 forth in this subsection, the taxpayer shall be liable for the 196 payment of any back taxes, penalties, and interest, as well as 197 any other remedies authorized pursuant to s. 193.092. 198 2. If a property appraiser improperly grants a tax 199 reduction as a result of a clerical mistake or an omission, the 200 taxpayer improperly receiving the reduction shall not be 201 assessed back taxes, penalties, or interest, or liable for any 202 other remedies authorized under s. 193.092. 203 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2019.