SB 264: Florida Restricts Foreign Ownership of Real Property

July 17, 2023 Yosef Shwedel
Business & Real Estate Business Law

On July 1, 2023, SB 264, the Florida law restricting certain individuals and companies associated with China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, and Syria from owning real property in Florida, took effect.

The law indicates that foreign principals are prohibited from acquiring agricultural land and any interest in real property within ten miles of any military infrastructure. Foreign principals associated specifically with China are completely prohibited from purchasing or acquiring any interest in real property in Florida.

A “foreign principal” includes governments, governmental officials, political parties and their members, and any business entity organized or having a principal place of business in a “foreign country of concern.”

The exceptions to this law allow any natural persons from these foreign countries of concern, including China, to purchase residential property with the requirement that it needs to be more than five miles from any military installation.

What concerns does this law raise?

  • The Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC) was tasked with preparing a form affidavit to certify that purchasers are not “foreign principals.” This form has not been prepared.
  • The proposed registration system for restricted properties previously permitted has also not been implemented.

Violations of SB 264 can lead to civil and criminal liability for all involved in the transaction. So, what steps should be taken to avoid violation of this new law?

Many form affidavits have been created in the absence of FREC’s form. Industry professionals are suggested to use the affidavits in every transaction to try and comply with this new law. Additionally, foreign principals that acquired properties before July 1, 2023 have until December 31, 2023 to register their properties with the Department of Economic Opportunity.