Florida Senate - 2017                                     SB 742
       By Senator Latvala
       16-00345-17                                            2017742__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to housing discrimination; amending s.
    3         760.07, F.S.; removing housing discrimination as a
    4         cause of action for certain relief and damages
    5         stemming from violations of the Florida Civil Rights
    6         Act of 1992; amending s. 760.22, F.S.; defining the
    7         terms “gender identity” and “sexual orientation”;
    8         amending ss. 760.23, 760.24, 760.25, 760.26, and
    9         760.29, F.S.; prohibiting discrimination based on
   10         sexual orientation and gender identity; amending s.
   11         760.34, F.S.; removing certain conditions for an
   12         aggrieved person to commence a civil action for a
   13         discriminatory housing practice under the Fair Housing
   14         Act; providing steps that an aggrieved person is not
   15         required to take before commencing a civil action;
   16         making technical changes; amending s. 760.35, F.S.;
   17         authorizing, rather than requiring, an aggrieved
   18         person to commence a civil action; specifying
   19         circumstances under which an aggrieved person is
   20         authorized to commence, and prohibited from
   21         commencing, a civil action; amending s. 419.001, F.S.;
   22         conforming a cross-reference; providing an effective
   23         date.
   25  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   27         Section 1. Section 760.07, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   28  read:
   29         760.07 Remedies for unlawful discrimination.—Any violation
   30  of any Florida statute making unlawful discrimination because of
   31  race, color, religion, gender, pregnancy, national origin, age,
   32  handicap, or marital status in the areas of education,
   33  employment, housing, or public accommodations gives rise to a
   34  cause of action for all relief and damages described in s.
   35  760.11(5), unless greater damages are expressly provided for. If
   36  the statute prohibiting unlawful discrimination provides an
   37  administrative remedy, the action for equitable relief and
   38  damages provided for in this section may be initiated only after
   39  the plaintiff has exhausted his or her administrative remedy.
   40  The term “public accommodations” does not include lodge halls or
   41  other similar facilities of private organizations which are made
   42  available for public use occasionally or periodically. The right
   43  to trial by jury is preserved in any case in which the plaintiff
   44  is seeking actual or punitive damages.
   45         Section 2. Present subsections (7), (8), (9), and (10) of
   46  section 760.22, Florida Statues, are redesignated as subsections
   47  (8), (9), (11), and (12), respectively, and new subsections (7)
   48  and (10) are added to that section, to read:
   49         760.22 Definitions.—As used in ss. 760.20-760.37, the term:
   50         (7) “Gender identity” means gender-related identity,
   51  appearance, or behavior, regardless of whether such gender
   52  related identity, appearance, or behavior is different from that
   53  traditionally associated with the individual’s physiology or
   54  assigned sex at birth, and which can be shown by the individual
   55  providing evidence, including, but not limited to:
   56         (a)Medical history, care, or treatment of the gender
   57  related identity, appearance, or behavior;
   58         (b) Consistent and uniform assertion of the gender-related
   59  identity; or
   60         (c) Other evidence that the gender-related identity is a
   61  sincerely held part of the individual’s core identity and is not
   62  being asserted for any improper purpose.
   63         (10) “Sexual orientation” means an individual’s
   64  heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality.
   65         Section 3. Subsections (1) through (5) of section 760.23,
   66  Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
   67         760.23 Discrimination in the sale or rental of housing and
   68  other prohibited practices.—
   69         (1) It is unlawful to refuse to sell or rent after the
   70  making of a bona fide offer, to refuse to negotiate for the sale
   71  or rental of, or otherwise to make unavailable or deny a
   72  dwelling to any person because of race, color, national origin,
   73  sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, handicap, familial
   74  status, or religion.
   75         (2) It is unlawful to discriminate against any person in
   76  the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a
   77  dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities in
   78  connection therewith, because of race, color, national origin,
   79  sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, handicap, familial
   80  status, or religion.
   81         (3) It is unlawful to make, print, or publish, or cause to
   82  be made, printed, or published, any notice, statement, or
   83  advertisement with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling
   84  that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination
   85  based on race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation,
   86  gender identity, handicap, familial status, or religion or an
   87  intention to make any such preference, limitation, or
   88  discrimination.
   89         (4) It is unlawful to represent to any person because of
   90  race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender
   91  identity, handicap, familial status, or religion that any
   92  dwelling is not available for inspection, sale, or rental when
   93  such dwelling is in fact so available.
   94         (5) It is unlawful, for profit, to induce or attempt to
   95  induce any person to sell or rent any dwelling by a
   96  representation regarding the entry or prospective entry into the
   97  neighborhood of a person or persons of a particular race, color,
   98  national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity,
   99  handicap, familial status, or religion.
  100         Section 4. Section 760.24, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  101  read:
  102         760.24 Discrimination in the provision of brokerage
  103  services.—It is unlawful to deny any person access to, or
  104  membership or participation in, any multiple-listing service,
  105  real estate brokers’ organization, or other service,
  106  organization, or facility relating to the business of selling or
  107  renting dwellings, or to discriminate against him or her in the
  108  terms or conditions of such access, membership, or
  109  participation, on account of race, color, national origin, sex,
  110  sexual orientation, gender identity, handicap, familial status,
  111  or religion.
  112         Section 5. Subsection (1) and paragraph (a) of subsection
  113  (2) of section 760.25, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
  114         760.25 Discrimination in the financing of housing or in
  115  residential real estate transactions.—
  116         (1) It is unlawful for any bank, building and loan
  117  association, insurance company, or other corporation,
  118  association, firm, or enterprise the business of which consists
  119  in whole or in part of the making of commercial real estate
  120  loans to deny a loan or other financial assistance to a person
  121  applying for the loan for the purpose of purchasing,
  122  constructing, improving, repairing, or maintaining a dwelling,
  123  or to discriminate against him or her in the fixing of the
  124  amount, interest rate, duration, or other term or condition of
  125  such loan or other financial assistance, because of the race,
  126  color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender
  127  identity, handicap, familial status, or religion of such person
  128  or of any person associated with him or her in connection with
  129  such loan or other financial assistance or the purposes of such
  130  loan or other financial assistance, or because of the race,
  131  color, national origin, sex, handicap, familial status, or
  132  religion of the present or prospective owners, lessees, tenants,
  133  or occupants of the dwelling or dwellings in relation to which
  134  such loan or other financial assistance is to be made or given.
  135         (2)(a) It is unlawful for any person or entity whose
  136  business includes engaging in residential real estate
  137  transactions to discriminate against any person in making
  138  available such a transaction, or in the terms or conditions of
  139  such a transaction, because of race, color, national origin,
  140  sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, handicap, familial
  141  status, or religion.
  142         Section 6. Section 760.26, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  143  read:
  144         760.26 Prohibited discrimination in land use decisions and
  145  in permitting of development.—It is unlawful to discriminate in
  146  land use decisions or in the permitting of development based on
  147  race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender
  148  identity, handicap disability, familial status, religion, or,
  149  except as otherwise provided by law, the source of financing of
  150  a development or proposed development.
  151         Section 7. Paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of section
  152  760.29, Florida Statutes, is republished, and paragraph (a) of
  153  subsection (5) of that section is amended, to read:
  154         760.29 Exemptions.—
  155         (1)(a) Nothing in ss. 760.23 and 760.25 applies to:
  156         1. Any single-family house sold or rented by its owner,
  157  provided such private individual owner does not own more than
  158  three single-family houses at any one time. In the case of the
  159  sale of a single-family house by a private individual owner who
  160  does not reside in such house at the time of the sale or who was
  161  not the most recent resident of the house prior to the sale, the
  162  exemption granted by this paragraph applies only with respect to
  163  one sale within any 24-month period. In addition, the bona fide
  164  private individual owner shall not own any interest in, nor
  165  shall there be owned or reserved on his or her behalf, under any
  166  express or voluntary agreement, title to, or any right to all or
  167  a portion of the proceeds from the sale or rental of, more than
  168  three single-family houses at any one time. The sale or rental
  169  of any single-family house shall be excepted from the
  170  application of ss. 760.20-760.37 only if the house is sold or
  171  rented:
  172         a. Without the use in any manner of the sales or rental
  173  facilities or the sales or rental services of any real estate
  174  licensee or such facilities or services of any person in the
  175  business of selling or renting dwellings, or of any employee or
  176  agent of any such licensee or person; and
  177         b. Without the publication, posting, or mailing, after
  178  notice, of any advertisement or written notice in violation of
  179  s. 760.23(3).
  181  Nothing in this provision prohibits the use of attorneys, escrow
  182  agents, abstractors, title companies, and other such
  183  professional assistance as is necessary to perfect or transfer
  184  the title.
  185         2. Rooms or units in dwellings containing living quarters
  186  occupied or intended to be occupied by no more than four
  187  families living independently of each other, if the owner
  188  actually maintains and occupies one of such living quarters as
  189  his or her residence.
  190         (5) Nothing in ss. 760.20-760.37:
  191         (a) Prohibits a person engaged in the business of
  192  furnishing appraisals of real property from taking into
  193  consideration factors other than race, color, national origin,
  194  sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, handicap, familial
  195  status, or religion.
  196         Section 8. Subsections (2) and (4) of section 760.34,
  197  Florida Statutes, are amended, and subsections (5) and (6) are
  198  republished, to read:
  199         760.34 Enforcement.—
  200         (2) Any person who files a complaint under subsection (1)
  201  must do so be filed within 1 year after the alleged
  202  discriminatory housing practice occurred. The complaint must be
  203  in writing and shall state the facts upon which the allegations
  204  of a discriminatory housing practice are based. A complaint may
  205  be reasonably and fairly amended at any time. A respondent may
  206  file an answer to the complaint against him or her and, with the
  207  leave of the commission, which shall be granted whenever it
  208  would be reasonable and fair to do so, may amend his or her
  209  answer at any time. Both the complaint and the answer shall be
  210  verified.
  211         (4) If, within 180 days after a complaint is filed with the
  212  commission or within 180 days after expiration of any period of
  213  reference under subsection (3), the commission has been unable
  214  to obtain voluntary compliance with ss. 760.20-760.37, The
  215  person aggrieved person may commence a civil action in any
  216  appropriate court against the respondent named in the complaint
  217  or petition for an administrative determination pursuant to s.
  218  760.35 to enforce the rights granted or protected by ss. 760.20
  219  760.37. The aggrieved person is not required to petition for an
  220  administrative hearing or to exhaust administrative remedies
  221  before commencing a civil action. If, as a result of its
  222  investigation under subsection (1), the commission finds there
  223  is reasonable cause to believe that a discriminatory housing
  224  practice has occurred, at the request of the person aggrieved,
  225  the Attorney General may bring an action in the name of the
  226  state on behalf of the aggrieved person to enforce the
  227  provisions of ss. 760.20-760.37.
  228         (5) In any proceeding brought pursuant to this section or
  229  s. 760.35, the burden of proof is on the complainant.
  230         (6) Whenever an action filed in court pursuant to this
  231  section or s. 760.35 comes to trial, the commission shall
  232  immediately terminate all efforts to obtain voluntary
  233  compliance.
  234         Section 9. Section 760.35, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  235  read:
  236         760.35 Civil actions and relief; administrative
  237  procedures.—
  238         (1) An aggrieved person may commence a civil action shall
  239  be commenced no later than 2 years after an alleged
  240  discriminatory housing practice has occurred. However, the court
  241  shall continue a civil case brought pursuant to this section or
  242  s. 760.34 from time to time before bringing it to trial if the
  243  court believes that the conciliation efforts of the commission
  244  or local agency are likely to result in satisfactory settlement
  245  of the discriminatory housing practice complained of in the
  246  complaint made to the commission or to the local agency and
  247  which practice forms the basis for the action in court. Any
  248  sale, encumbrance, or rental consummated prior to the issuance
  249  of any court order issued under the authority of ss. 760.20
  250  760.37 and involving a bona fide purchaser, encumbrancer, or
  251  tenant without actual notice of the existence of the filing of a
  252  complaint or civil action under the provisions of ss. 760.20
  253  760.37 shall not be affected.
  254         (2) An aggrieved person may commence a civil action under
  255  this section regardless of whether a complaint has been filed
  256  under s. 760.34(1) and regardless of the status of any such
  257  complaint. If the commission has obtained a conciliation
  258  agreement with the consent of an aggrieved person under s.
  259  760.36, the aggrieved person may not file any action under this
  260  section regarding the alleged discriminatory housing practice
  261  that forms the basis for the complaint except for the purpose of
  262  enforcing the terms of such an agreement.
  263         (3) An aggrieved person may not commence a civil action
  264  under this section regarding an alleged discriminatory housing
  265  practice if an administrative law judge has commenced a hearing
  266  on the record on the allegation.
  267         (4)(2) If the court finds that a discriminatory housing
  268  practice has occurred, it shall issue an order prohibiting the
  269  practice and providing affirmative relief from the effects of
  270  the practice, including injunctive and other equitable relief,
  271  actual and punitive damages, and reasonable attorney attorney’s
  272  fees and costs.
  273         (5)(a)(3)(a) If the commission is unable to obtain
  274  voluntary compliance with ss. 760.20-760.37 or has reasonable
  275  cause to believe that a discriminatory practice has occurred:
  276         1. The commission may institute an administrative
  277  proceeding under chapter 120; or
  278         2. The person aggrieved may request administrative relief
  279  under chapter 120 within 30 days after receiving notice that the
  280  commission has concluded its investigation under s. 760.34.
  281         (b) Administrative hearings shall be conducted pursuant to
  282  ss. 120.569 and 120.57(1). The respondent must be served written
  283  notice by certified mail. If the administrative law judge finds
  284  that a discriminatory housing practice has occurred or is about
  285  to occur, he or she shall issue a recommended order to the
  286  commission prohibiting the practice and recommending affirmative
  287  relief from the effects of the practice, including quantifiable
  288  damages and reasonable attorney attorney’s fees and costs. The
  289  commission may adopt, reject, or modify a recommended order only
  290  as provided under s. 120.57(1). Judgment for the amount of
  291  damages and costs assessed pursuant to a final order by the
  292  commission may be entered in any court having jurisdiction
  293  thereof and may be enforced as any other judgment.
  294         (c) The district courts of appeal may, upon the filing of
  295  appropriate notices of appeal, review final orders of the
  296  commission pursuant to s. 120.68. Costs or fees may not be
  297  assessed against the commission in any appeal from a final order
  298  issued by the commission under this subsection. Unless
  299  specifically ordered by the court, the commencement of an appeal
  300  does not suspend or stay an order of the commission.
  301         (d) This subsection does not prevent any other legal or
  302  administrative action provided by law.
  303         Section 10. Paragraph (e) of subsection (1) of section
  304  419.001, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  305         419.001 Site selection of community residential homes.—
  306         (1) For the purposes of this section, the term:
  307         (e) “Resident” means any of the following: a frail elder as
  308  defined in s. 429.65; a person who has a handicap as defined in
  309  s. 760.22(8)(a) s. 760.22(7)(a); a person who has a
  310  developmental disability as defined in s. 393.063; a
  311  nondangerous person who has a mental illness as defined in s.
  312  394.455; or a child who is found to be dependent as defined in
  313  s. 39.01 or s. 984.03, or a child in need of services as defined
  314  in s. 984.03 or s. 985.03.
  315         Section 11. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.