What Does Florida’s “Live Local Act” Mean for Developers?

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Shannon Lynn
June 30, 2023
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The Live Local Act was signed into law on March 29th, 2023 by the Governor of Florida and a lot of its provisions will kick in on the first day of July 2023. 

It’s set to introduce some pretty big changes around affordable housing, so it’s worth paying attention to if you’re not already. 

In this blog, we’ll look at what the Live Local Act is – and how it will impact you as a developer. 

What is the Live Local Act? 

The Live Local Act is designed to provide more affordable housing in areas where people work. There is set to be over $700 million of investment in housing programs across the state of Florida. 

In Florida, affordable housing is generally defined as housing where costs (including monthly rent, taxes, insurance and utilities) do not exceed 30% of the average median income (AMI) for extremely low-income households

Although the Live Local Act was widely supported in the Legislature, it’s not without its controversies. 

There are some who see it as not going far enough – viewing it as more of a long-term play where the removal of rent control measures could damage tenants in the short term. 

Then, there are others who worry that it undermines past strategy and plan-making if zoning laws can be overruled by the Act.

Despite the controversies, however, the Live Local Act has some strong incentives for developers.


How will the Live Local Act Impact property developers? 

The Live Local Act is set to be largely beneficial for property developers operating in Florida. Especially those who have experience delivering affordable housing. 

Below, we break down three key elements that are likely to positively impact developers. 

Exceptions to zoning laws

The Act allows for multi-family and mixed-use developments (if 65% of total square footage is residential) to be built in commercial, industrial or mixed-use zones. There are of course stipulations, such as 40% or more of all units need to be affordable and remain so for at least 30 years.

However, this opens up a lot more options for you as a developer. Especially if you’re operating in cities, like Miami, where land is constrained and you’re restricted by the limited multi-family zoning areas. 


Tax exemptions

The Live Local Act also includes tax exemptions on the affordable housing proportion of a development. And increases the number of “tax credits available through the Community Contribution Tax Credit Program”. 

Plus, there will be a new tax donation program created to use towards housing programs.

Open up funding options 

Government funding through their State Apartment Incentive Loan (SAIL) program is providing low-interest loans for developers who meet the specified use criteria. 

There’s also a secondary incentive via the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) program of $252 million to encourage partnerships between developers and local government to create new homes. 


How LandTech can help

The Live Local Act is likely to open up new opportunities for you as a developer. But you need the right tech and data to be able to act on them quickly and get ahead of your competition. 

LandTech equips you with all the tools you need to make the most of the changes coming into place, including:  

  • Demographics – easily see where affordable housing is most needed based on income and employment data (on a state, county, and Census Tract level). You’re also able to check at a glance if any prospective sites happen to be in an Opportunity Zone. 
  • Zoning – identify commercial, industrial or mixed-use zones where you can use the Live Local Act to build residential developments (with the stipulated proportion of affordable housing units). 
  • Building permits  – check what’s been approved and where. Simply click on a site, or browse an area, to see building permit details, such as category, Permit ID, status, and a link to the Permit document. 

Combine this with our hazards and comparables data to enrich your due diligence process and manage your workflow with our Sites Pipeline tool. 

Ready to identify new opportunities?

Our friendly team will show you how LandTech can be leveraged to source sites in areas you may not previously have been able to operate in.

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