Amendment 1 could help Florida’s property insurance market if passed, property appraiser says

There are three proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution that the Florida Legislature voted to place on the ballot this November.

The first is an effort to help homeowners fight the effects of rising sea levels and flooding.

It’s an issue that has recently come into the spotlight in the wake of Hurricane Ian.

Amendment 1 would give homeowners credit for resiliency projects for their homes.

Duval County Property Appraiser Jerry Holland told Local 10 News partner News4JAX if it is approved, it could eventually decrease insurance rates across the state.

Amendment 1: Except improvements to prevent flooding from tax assessment

Ballot question:

LIMITATION ON THE ASSESSMENT OF REAL PROPERTY USED FOR RESIDENTIAL PURPOSES. Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution, effective January 1, 2023, to authorize the Legislature, by general law, to prohibit the consideration of any change or improvement made to real property used for residential purposes to improve the home’s resistance to flood damage in determining the assessed value of such property for ad valorem taxation purposes.

If it goes into effect, Holland said that any home improvements made to help prevent flooding won’t increase your property taxes.

“Typically, if you do something to your home that adds value, then we would add that to the taxable value. What this does is does not add any of those improvements to the taxable value,” Holland said.

Holland said that could mean anything from building a sea wall to putting a home higher up on pilings.

“Why this is good is from a standpoint is not just for the homeowner who takes advantage of it, but if we can prevent the damages from flooding to the homes across the state, then it may help everyone’s insurance rates. And that’s what’s good for everyone, regardless if you’re going to take advantage of this particular allowance,” Holland said.

Holland said he thinks the only drawback is taxing districts would be missing out on that extra taxable value when home improvements are made. A 2021 Florida Senate staff analysis said the proposed constitutional amendment would reduce local government property-tax revenues by $5.8 million during the 2023-2024 fiscal year, with the amount growing to $25.1 million annually statewide.

The amendment has broad support.

Republican State Representative Linda Chaney, whose district is in Southwest Florida said, “Homeowners who are taking proactive measures to protect their property from flooding should not only be rewarded, but they should be incentivized.”

At least 60% of voters must vote for the amendment for it to pass.

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