As we previously alluded to, Florida is making is easier to move commercial real estate and land transactions during the pandemic. In June, the Florida State Legislature voted overwhelmingly to eliminate the “lease witness requirement.” Prior to the passing of Florida House Bill 469 (HB 469), either a residential or commercial real estate deal needed to include a signature from an in-person witness.
Now that requirement has been eliminated, partly due to the coronavirus, and partly because of the move to digital signatures that made in-person requirements outdated.
The in-person witness also added hundreds of hours of delays in finalizing real estate transactions in Florida, according to real estate experts. In some cases up to six signatures needed to be on legal documents for transactions to be completed.
The elimination of the lease witness requirement helps Florida real estate agents move fully towards electronic signatures. Before the passing of this legislation, Florida was one of just seven states that had a lease witness requirement on the books. Nearly all real estate agents believe the elimination of the law will help streamline transactions, while also helping with social distancing in the post-COVID world.
HB 469 was introduced on Oct. 28, 2019, and co-sponsored by Reps. Juan Alfonso Fernandez-Barquin and Wyman Duggan. The bill gained momentum in the state since the pandemic in March. The law passed both the Florida House and Senate with unanimous votes, 117-0 and 40-0, respectively. The law was signed by Governor Ron DeSantis on June 27th.
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