NAIOP Florida Chapters Celebrate Signing of Bill

Executing a commercial lease in Florida can now be streamlined and digitized to meet the post-COVID age. The Florida chapter of NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, in partnership with Florida Realtors, Florida Apartment Association and the Florida Bar’s Real Property Probate and Trust Law Section, announces the enactment of a milestone bill removing witness requirements from commercial and residential leases.

Just signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis, Florida House Bill (HB 469) went into effect on July 1.

“The witness requirement is a cumbersome and unnecessary holdover from the pre-digital era,” said NAIOP Florida President Darcie Lunsford, executive vice president of Butters Realty & Management. “This is particularly crucial in the post-COVID environment, where we are looking for ways to limit interpersonal contact while still trying to conduct business, keep our economy going and our buildings full.”

State law already allows for electronic signing of contracts, but the witness requirement for leases had to be addressed to remove the last hurdle to electronic execution of leases in Florida, one of seven states that still had the requirement. The law passed unanimously by both chambers.

“This is a huge win for our industry during an extremely challenging time,” Lunsford added. “The commercial real estate industry continues to grow and is important to the economic viability of our state.”

The 1,000-member NAIOP Florida is a coalition between the state’s five regional chapters in South Florida, Central Florida, Tampa Bay, Northeast Florida and Northwest Florida, and works to advance responsible commercial real estate development in the state and advocates for effective public policy.

“This achievement is a terrific example of NAIOP’s efforts to achieve legislative victories on behalf of commercial property owners and developers,” added NAIOP South Florida Chapter President Stephanie Rodriguez.  “During this unique time, it is critical that we work together, in partnership with other groups, to update our State’s policies and elevate the impact our industry has on state and local economies. This is a great win for our members.”