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Updated: 1 week 4 days ago

Real Estate Q&A: How Do We Correct the Size of Our Condo in Association’s Documents?

Mon, 08/30/2021 - 05:00

(TNS)—Q: In our condo, all the units have two bedrooms, but some are slightly larger and pay $40 more in monthly maintenance. Ours is one of the smaller units but is listed in the condo documents as a larger one. We have been paying the lesser amount, and the association has cashed the checks while telling us we need to pay the difference. Now they are threatening us with interest and late fees. What can we do? — Ron

A: For now, at least, you need to pay the amounts in your condominium’s declaration. By not paying the specified amount each month, you are subjecting yourself to late fees, interest and even possible legal action by your community.

When people short-pay their association, it will accept the payment and apply it to delinquent balances, charges and interest before the current month.

The check you write this month is being used for the older, outstanding charges, making your delinquency grow. This causes your debt to snowball, especially when your community’s attorneys are brought in to collect. You will have to pay their fees too.

I understand the instinct to stand up for yourself, but like most things, there is a right and wrong way to do it. You cannot withhold dues, even partially, because you disagree with something the association does.

Simply ignoring the rules, even if they are mistaken, and doing your own thing is bound to make matters worse.

I once saw someone lose their condo to foreclosure over what started as a disagreement over $6 of maintenance dues and spiraled out of control year after year.

You need to pay the amount in your condo documents while fixing the problem.

You will need to prove to your community that the condo docs are mistaken. You may need to hire a professional to measure and report on the actual size of your unit.

Once your community knows of the mistake, a vote by the majority of the unit owners can correct it.

When that happens, you should be entitled to a refund of the overpayments.

Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He practices real estate, business litigation and contract law from his office in Sunrise, Fla. He is the chairman of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is a co-host of the weekly radio show Legal News and Review. He frequently consults on general real estate matters and trends in Florida with various companies across the nation. Send him questions online at
www.sunsentinel.com/askpro or follow him on Twitter @GarySingerLaw.

©2021 South Florida Sun Sentinel
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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Real Estate Q&A: Can a Condo Community Post Speed Limit Signs?

Wed, 08/18/2021 - 05:04

(TNS)—Q: I live in a small condominium community. Several residents are complaining about speeding vehicles and delivery trucks. We are thinking of posting 15 mph speed limit signs, although the streets outside our community allow faster travel. Can we do this, and what else can we do to slow drivers down and prevent someone from getting hurt? — Margaret

A: Not only can you post speed limit signs, but you also should.

Your association, acting under the authority of its governing documents, may create community guidelines and take measures to enforce those rules.

Like any other association rule, a community traffic rule is enforced in similar ways, such as issuing violations and even small fines.

Unit owners can be held responsible for their guest’s violation of the rules. That said, fining your neighbors might not be the best way to get people to slow down.

Posting speed limit signs is a great start. People are more likely to follow the rules if they know what they are.

Signs are an excellent reminder to drivers to slow down. You can post other signs to curb speeding, such as “Children at Play” or “Slow Down.”

You can also install speed cushions at strategic places in the community. Speed cushion placement is more science than art, so consult with an experienced professional to determine the best locations.

Make sure to check with your local building department because there may be requirements for you to follow before installing these calming devices.

Some communities purchase electronic signs that display drivers’ speed, flashing it if they exceed the limit. This device, especially when used with the methods mentioned above, is very effective because it provides visual feedback.

Finally, you can install a speed monitoring camera to catch offenders. But this only makes sense if the board is willing to regularly monitor it and issue violations and fines to offenders. This may be overwhelming in a small community such as yours.

Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He practices real estate, business litigation and contract law from his office in Sunrise, Florida. He is the chairman of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is a co-host of the weekly radio show Legal News and Review. He frequently consults on general real estate matters and trends in Florida with various companies across the nation. Send him questions online at www.sunsentinel.com/askpro or follow him on Twitter @GarySingerLaw.

©2021 South Florida Sun Sentinel
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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Roof Leaks: Why You Cannot Ignore Them

Wed, 08/04/2021 - 05:01

Roof leaks are one of the leading causes of preventable property damage. A leaking roof is disruptive and costly, and can eventually cause mold, damage to interior finishes and even structural damage.

While it’s true that older roofs or those in disrepair are at greater risk for leaks, one of the most common causes of roof failure is faulty workmanship during installation. This is not always readily apparent because it often takes a few years for a poor installation to manifest itself as a leak. Using a licensed, qualified roofing contractor for any installations or repairs is always recommended.

Let’s look at some of the factors that affect how a roof handles water and what can cause leaks to form.

Pitched/Sloped Roofs: Pitched or sloped roofs are designed to shed water from one shingle to the next down to the roof edge, where the gutters and downspouts will carry the water away. Many people are surprised to learn that sloped roofs are not actually waterproof but instead rely on gravity and engineering to quickly move water off the home.

Flat Roofs: The most common type of flat roof is the built-up, or tar-and-gravel, roof. Flat roofs are designed to be waterproof and use a membrane such as roofing felt or specially engineered foam to seal the surface. These roofs have just enough slope to conduct water to a drain, which funnels water down and off the roof surface. It’s critical to keep drains on flat roof clear of debris so water won’t back up and damage the integrity of the roof.

What Causes Leaks? Most roof leaks can be traced to poorly installed or worn flashing. Flashing usually consists of pieces of metal that cover gaps between the roofing material and items that penetrate through the roof such as chimneys, skylights, dormers and roof/wall intersections. Wind and rain in just the wrong combination can cause a pitched roof to leak by compromising its water-shedding capabilities.

In cold climates, ice damming can cause a perfectly good roof surface to leak. Ice can block the flow of water to the edge of the roof or to the drain. The water can then back up under the shingles and leak into the house.

Leaks can have interior causes as well. Condensation in the attic due to leaking household air or heating and/or air conditioning ducts can cause damage to the roof decking and structural framing. In severe cases, it can cause water to drip back into the house. This can lead to mold and even structural damage if not corrected.

Proper installation and maintenance of roofs are key to preventing problems down the road. Homeowners should monitor their roof and attic, and contact a qualified roofing contractor at the first sign of any problems.

For more information, please visit pillartopost.com.

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Real Estate Q&A: What Can Homeowners Do When the HOA Board Isn’t Doing Its Job?

Mon, 08/02/2021 - 05:00

(TNS)—Q: Our association’s board of directors is not doing their job. Overgrown landscaping, boats and inoperable vehicles in driveways, and houses that need painting are among the many problems in our community. What can a homeowner do when their board and management company are ineffective? — Margaret

A: The board of directors of your community association must maintain the common areas and enforce the rules and regulations. This is not an easy task, and many associations hire a property manager to help.

Board members have their own lives, jobs and concerns. Even so, having volunteered to take a leadership role in their community, board members need to fulfill their responsibilities.

The first step in getting your neighborhood back in shape is to let the board know your concerns.

Gather other members who feel the same way and request a meeting with the board.
You can also sign up to air your grievances at the next board meeting. Cite specific examples and maintain a professional and helpful tone when you do.

If this does not work, and enough of your neighbors agree with you, you can have a recall vote. If this succeeds, you can remove some or all board members and replace them with volunteers willing to do the job.

Another possibility is running for the board yourself at the next election and improving the board’s performance from the inside.

If all else fails, you can sue your board to make them enforce the rules and properly maintain the grounds.

Litigation is expensive and time-consuming, and often the losing party pays the winner’s attorney fees, so this option should be taken only as a last resort.

Another option is to move to a community that more suits your standards. Your neighbors may be okay with the way things are run and not want things to change.
Finding the right community for you may be the best choice.

Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He practices real estate, business litigation and contract law from his office in Sunrise, Fla. He is the chairman of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is a co-host of the weekly radio show Legal News and Review. He frequently consults on general real estate matters and trends in Florida with various companies across the nation. Send him questions online at www.sunsentinel.com/askpro or follow him on Twitter @GarySingerLaw.

©2021 South Florida Sun Sentinel
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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Why Now Is the Time to Consolidate Your Mortgage and HELOC

Wed, 07/28/2021 - 05:03

(TNS)—Homeowners have another opportunity to take advantage of a mortgage rate fire sale these days as a variety of economic factors and the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s decision to eliminate the refinance fee are all coming together to push the mortgage market back down.

One strategy for benefiting from these conditions could be to refinance your mortgage and wrap any home equity debt you have—like a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit (HELOC)—into the new loan. Here’s why doing that could save you money in the long run.

Why Consider Consolidating 

Mortgage interest rates are generally lower than those on home equity products, and with mortgage rates poised to fall even further in the near term, it’s a great chance to scale back your higher-interest debt.

For now, Federal Reserve policy is meant to promote low interest rates, but most experts expect that to shift as the COVID recovery continues.

“When the Fed does start raising rates, the first rate to go up is the home equity rate,” said Melissa Cohn, executive mortgage banker at William Raveis Mortgage. “Your home equity loan has only one way to go: up.”

Home equity loans and lines of credit are more susceptible to fluctuations in the market, because those products tend to have adjustable rates, while primary mortgages more commonly have their interest fixed at a single rate over the life of the loan.

“We’re in the final innings of this extraordinary low-rate environment,” Cohn said, so borrowers with adjustable-rate loans have only a matter of time before their payments start going up. “Wouldn’t you want to refinance your whole loan to a mortgage where your rate is secure?”

How Does the Refi Fee Affect This Consolidation Strategy?

“It’s huge,” Cohn said. “You got the gold ring on top of it. Not only have bond yields dropped, but so has the cost of borrowing because we got rid of that fee.”

The refinance fee of 0.5% of the loan’s balance was levied on most mortgage overhauls since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. It applied to conforming loans held by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, with a principal balance of at least $125,000.

The end of the fee on Aug. 1 will make it easier for borrowers to consolidate their debt, especially if doing so would have put them on the wrong side of that $125,000 threshold. The fee was paid by lenders, and many of them chose to pass just some of the cost on to borrowers, so it’s not clear if anyone will see the full half-point in savings when they refi.

How to Consolidate Your Debt

The easiest way to consolidate your mortgage and home equity debt is to do a cash-out refinance of your primary mortgage, and use the extra funds to pay off the balance you’re carrying on your HELOC or loan.

If you have enough equity in your home, you may be able to keep the line of credit open, even after paying it off, according to Cohn.

“The benefit of a home equity loan is that it gives it access to your home equity at a moment’s notice,” she said. “You may not be required to close it out.”

For homeowners, a HELOC can be a great source of emergency cash if unexpected major expenses pop up, in addition to being a smart way to fund home improvement projects.

Keep in mind that if your lender does require you to close out your HELOC, which many probably will as part of a refinance, you’ll no longer have access to that equity unless you choose to open another line of credit later on.

Bottom Line

Mortgage rates are heading down again, and while the historic lows won’t last forever, the trend is giving borrowers renewed opportunities to benefit.

If you haven’t already refinanced, or if you’re carrying multiple mortgages on your home, now is a great time to crunch the numbers and consider pursuing a lower interest rate and consolidating some debt.

©2021 Bankrate.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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Should You Get Rid of PMI?

Mon, 07/26/2021 - 05:05

You were likely able to snag a house with a lower down payment than the traditional 20% required, but that may have left you with private mortgage insurance (PMI). This type of insurance is designed to protect your mortgage lender in case you default on the loan. Typically, a homeowner who must purchase PMI is required to keep it until reaching 20% equity.

As long as your mortgage doesn’t have a prepayment penalty, you will have the option to make extra payments on a regular basis or once in a while (for example, when you have funds from a bonus or a tax refund). Paying more than the required amount can help you reach 20% equity and eliminate PMI faster.

Should You Make Extra Mortgage Payments or Focus on Other Priorities?
Putting more money toward your mortgage can help you build equity faster and eliminate the monthly burden of PMI premiums. Before you put additional funds toward your home loan, however, make sure that you’re devoting enough financial resources to your other goals.

If you’re not saving as much as you would like for retirement, you may be better off putting extra funds into a 401(k) or an IRA so they can benefit from compound interest. You may also decide that it would be better to use extra money to save for your children’s college education.

If you have high credit card balances, you may be better off paying them down than working on eliminating PMI. The amount you could save in interest charges on credit cards may be far greater than the amount you could save in PMI.

You should have an emergency fund to cope with a job loss, an unexpected medical bill or some other type of financial hardship. Your emergency fund should have enough money to cover your essential living expenses for several months. If you don’t have a substantial emergency fund, make saving for the unexpected a top priority. Once you’ve built up a reserve to get you through hard times, you can shift your focus to building home equity and eliminating PMI.

Where Should You Put Your Extra Money?
Private mortgage insurance can be expensive, and it’s understandable to want to build home equity and eliminate that additional expense as soon as possible. If you’re currently putting enough money toward your other long-term goals and have little or no credit card debt and plenty of money in an emergency fund, go ahead and put extra money toward your mortgage so you can stop paying for PMI.

If you’re not on firm financial ground in other areas, address those issues first. Once you’re in better shape, you can focus on making extra mortgage payments and getting rid of PMI.

Agents, want more tips like these to share with your existing and prospective clients? Check out our automated social media marketing platform, ACESocial.

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3 Ways to Cool Down Your Home This Summer

Thu, 07/22/2021 - 05:03

We’re mid-way through summer and there’s already been several heat waves making their way across the country. If you struggle to keep your home cool in the warmer months, or your electricity bills are astronomical because you run the air conditioner all day, you may want to consider the following.

Keep Sunlight Out
Window coverings, such as thermal curtains or shades and blackout curtains, can reduce the amount of sunlight that enters your home and keep it cooler during the hottest parts of the day. Keep curtains or blinds closed during the day, especially on windows that face south and west. You can also use insulated window film to keep heat from pouring into the house.

If one part of your house tends to get a lot of sun and there is nothing to block the sunlight, you can plant trees or bushes. Another option is to install awnings outside the windows.

Seal Up the House to Control Airflow
The average home has lots of small cracks and leaks around windows, door frames, skylights and other locations that let hot outdoor air in. Your utility company can perform a home energy audit to find leaks and give you advice on how to fix them to keep your house cooler. Doing so may also make you eligible for a discount on your electricity bills.

Hot air flows to an area with cooler air. If your home is poorly insulated, the interior can get hot in the summer and your air conditioner will struggle to keep up. Adding more insulation could keep your house cooler in the summer and keep your utility bills down.

If you don’t use certain rooms often, close the doors to keep cooler air in the parts of your home that are occupied. Open windows at night to let a cool breeze into the house.

Use Air Conditioners, Fans and Thermostats Wisely
If you use one or more window air-conditioner units, make sure they are appropriate for the areas they are cooling. Using a unit that is the wrong size can waste energy and cost you more for electricity. ENERGY STAR air conditioners save energy and are inexpensive to run.

Ceiling fans, if used correctly, can make a room feel cooler. Set ceiling fans so the blades rotate counterclockwise to circulate cool air close to the ground throughout the rest of the room. Turning on the bathroom fan when you take a shower and the kitchen fan when you cook can draw hot air out of the house.

Use a programmable thermostat to set your air conditioner to a lower temperature when your family is not home. You can program it to cool off the house shortly before you return home so it will be comfortable while you’re there, while avoiding wasting money to cool it when unoccupied.

Agents, want more tips like these to share with your existing and prospective clients? Check out our automated social media marketing platform, ACESocial.

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Real Estate Q&A: Is Landlord Responsible if Renter’s Dog Bites Someone?

Tue, 07/20/2021 - 05:00

(TNS)—Q: We own a rental house and allow renters to bring their medium and small dogs. Who would be liable if a renter’s dog bites and injuries another visitor on our property, such as the landscaper or another guest on the property? — Anne

A: A landlord will usually not be liable if their tenant’s dog injures someone. However, there are exceptions to this general rule.

If you are aware your tenant has a dangerous animal and do not have it removed from the home, you could be held responsible if someone is injured. You could also be held liable if you are aware someone is breaking the lease and do not put a stop to it.

For example, you said your lease is for small and medium dogs, and you know that your tenant brought a large dog, and you do not do anything to enforce the restrictions. If this large dog bites someone, you could be on the hook.

If you help take care of the dog, such as taking him for a walk or feeding her when your tenant is at work, and the dog later attacks someone, you could be held liable.
This is another reason that every landlord should treat renting as a business and not become friends or get involved with their tenant’s life.

When renting to a tenant with a pet, screen the pet along with the prospective tenant. You should also require your tenant to get renters insurance that includes liability protection.

Finally, enforce the terms of your lease. Letting your tenant slide on the agreed rules can cause you to be held liable if something goes wrong.

Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He practices real estate, business litigation and contract law from his office in Sunrise, Florida. He is the chairman of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is a co-host of the weekly radio show Legal News and Review. He frequently consults on general real estate matters and trends in Florida with various companies across the nation. Send him questions online at www.sunsentinel.com/askpro or follow him on Twitter @GarySingerLaw.

©2021 South Florida Sun Sentinel
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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These Outdoor Features Will Help You Sell Fast

Mon, 07/19/2021 - 04:00

The interior of homes is often in the limelight when it comes to considering what adds value to a property. However, you shouldn’t discount the exterior of a home. Outdoor features can prove just as valuable, giving you a boost in price when it comes time to sell.

Having a backyard filled with amenities, from a well-thought-out irrigation system to a fully equipped kitchen right outside, has quickly become a necessity for sellers to feature.

Smart Irrigation System
Not only is this a great selling feature, but it is also environmentally friendly. With many of today’s buyers coming from the millennial generation, highlighting something that is tech-friendly and sustainable is important. There are many options to choose from, such as a system that can be controlled via bluetooth, as well as some that are solar powered. Highlight this feature in your listing, including the environmental and financial benefits that come along with it.

Pet- and Kid-Friendly Spaces
Another great selling feature when it comes to your outdoor space is having one or more areas dedicated to pets and children. If you have a dog, for example, and have built a dog house in your yard, consider leaving it on the property and adding it to your listing. The same goes for swing sets, playhouses and treehouses. If a buyer has young children, these can be attractive features that can help your listing and your home to stand out from the competition.

Outdoor Kitchen
Of course, not every backyard features a fully equipped kitchen, but if you have one, be sure to highlight it. More people are spending time at home and crave an outdoor living space that checks all of their boxes. Rather than a grill and a simple patio set, today’s buyers are looking for outdoor features for entertainment and relaxation. And what is more relaxing than having everything you need right at your fingertips? Consider adding a small fridge, counter and storage space, a bar cart and even a pizza oven!

Privacy
For many buyers, privacy is a top priority. Whether you have large hedges or a tall fence around your property, be sure to point this out in your listing. For homes in a neighborhood where neighbors are close in proximity, this is especially important. If you do not have a fence or another form of privacy around your property, serious buyers may request this as part of their negotiation, so consider adding this feature before you list your home to avoid major costs later on.

Before putting your home up for sale, consider adding a few of these outdoor features that today’s buyers crave. If you already have one or all of these features, be sure to highlight them in not only your listing images, but the description as well. Talk to your real estate agent about how to best showcase these outdoor add-ons to ensure that your home sells fast!

Agents, want more tips like these to share with your existing and prospective clients? Check out our automated social media marketing platform, ACESocial.

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Florida Among Worst States for Soaring Rents

Fri, 07/16/2021 - 04:00

(TNS)—For the second year in a row, a group studying the chasm between declining wages and soaring rents found that nowhere in the U.S. can a minimum-wage worker afford a two-bedroom apartment at the fair market rent.

In its signature Out of Reach report released this week, the National Low Income Housing Coalition determined that a full-time hourly worker would need to earn $24.90 an hour, more than three times the $7.25 federal minimum wage, in order to afford a $1,295-a-month rental home. That’s the average “fair market rent” in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“It keeps telling the same story,” said Anne Ray, manager of the data clearinghouse at the University of Florida’s Shimberg Center for Housing Studies. “Housing costs have really just come unhinged from wages for a lot of jobs like retail, hospitality, customer service, and in some early career teaching, pre-school and childcare.

“Somehow things are to the point where even though there’s that huge demand for relatively low-cost housing, the units aren’t getting produced.”

According to the report, Florida is one of the states where the gap between the minimum wage and what’s actually necessary to afford modest housing is widest.

The state minimum wage is $8.56, equivalent to $17,804 a year and, after Amendment 2 was passed last November, will increase to $10 in September. But to be able to afford a two-bedroom unit at the $1,290 fair market rent, you’d need to make $24.82 an hour, which amounts to $51,619 for a yearly salary.

Put another way, a minimum-wage worker would have to work 115 hours a week.

“This report affirms the sad truth, what we already know about Florida’s housing crisis: The average person is priced out of the market,” said Sen. Victor Torres, who was elected to the Legislature in 2012 and represents Osceola County and parts of Orange County. “When it comes to rents, they’re $1,300, $1,400, $1,500 a month depending on if you need a two-bedroom or a three-bedroom. It’s just not fair.”

Ray said it’s an issue that affects most of Orlando’s workforce, half of which makes below $17.59 an hour, according to data from NLIHC and the state that the Shimberg Center uses to analyze Central Florida’s rental market. Professions in tourism, including cashiers, retail workers, restaurant cooks and servers, make far less than the necessary wage that NLIHC calculated, and even other jobs such as firefighters, electricians, auto mechanics, hairdressers, social workers and constructions laborers largely do not make enough to afford reasonably priced housing on their own.

For someone in Florida working a full-time job making $17.59, the most they could afford to pay in rent without spending more than 30% of their income—how the feds and most housing experts define “affordable”—is $915 a month.

“For people who can work, one full-time job should be enough,” the NLIHC contested in its report.

But the affordable housing shortage doesn’t just affect working families. Florida’s seniors who are on fixed income also struggle.

In the Orlando metropolitan area, Ray said there are about 240,850 people who get Social Security retirement benefits. The average benefits are between $1,341 and $1,559 per month, meaning they’d have to find a two-bedroom rental for $402 to $468 a month in order to avoid spending more than 30% of their income on rent. Otherwise, a one-bedroom “fair market rent” apartment would eat up as much as 75% of their Social Security.

The result is a state with millions of households, of various ages and income levels, that spend a big portion of their pay on rent, making it more difficult to save, handle an unexpected expense or break into homeownership. The Shimberg Center has found that 1.4 million renter households spend at least 30% of their yearly income on rent, and of those, 938,957 pay even more.

During the pandemic, when droves of workers were suddenly laid off or furloughed, that had devastating effects. With no income and not much savings, paying rent simply became impossible, and despite eviction moratoriums and rental assistance programs set up to help, thousands of people were evicted while the coronavirus was spreading.

As the report points out, most new rental housing that gets built is for high-income renters to balance out high development costs and landlords can “virtually never, without state or federal subsidies” afford to rent out their units at a price that the lowest-income renters can afford.

That’s led to a shrinking supply of affordable homes—for renters and buyers.

In Florida, for instance, over the past 20 years nearly 200,000 rental units priced under $1,000 per month have disappeared as landlords increased rents, while at the same time about 1 million units priced above $1,000 were added, according to the Shimberg Center. The Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association has also seen the inventory of entry-level homes recede to record lows.

In 2019, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings convened a Housing For All task force made up of homebuilders, REALTORS® and leaders from the region’s theme parks, labor unions, charities and hospitals that devised a 10-year-plan to inject $160 million into housing projects and build 30,000 new places to live, but few would be for extremely low-income rents. About a third of the units that could be created would be for households that make between $26,000 and $83,000 a year, and two-thirds would be for those who make between $83,000 and $97,000.

The plan also called for loosening zoning codes and offering bonuses to entice developers to the most housing-hungry neighborhoods, and also established a $3.5 million loan fund for nonprofit builders and identified dozens of lots that the county will donate to nonprofits to be redeveloped as affordable houses.

Sen. Torres said he believes the state and local governments can do more, though, including enacting rules to force builders to set aside affordable units in market-rate developments. He also criticized the decision by Senate President Wilton Simpson and House Speaker Chris Sprowls this past session to permanently siphon half of the state’s affordable housing trust fund to spend on environmental projects.

The Florida REALTORS® Association, the largest trade association in Florida, has launched a campaign to get a constitutional amendment on the 2022 ballot to restore the fund.

“The Legislature is controlled for the past 20 years by Republicans (who) have their own version of how they want to use those funds,” Torres said, adding that this year lawmakers passed a $100 billion budget. “The money is there, it just depends on the will of the government.”

But aside from building to fix the shortage, the National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Biden administration is pushing for a massive expansion of housing programs for the poor, including universal rental assistance to increase the funding for housing vouchers programs, which allow people to rent from the private market while only paying a portion of the rent. The rest is offset by the housing voucher, which is administered by the local housing authority directly to the person’s landlord.

Right now, only 1 in 4 very low-income renters who are eligible for voucher programs receive one.

©2021
Orlando Sentinel
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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