(1) As used in this section, the term “discriminatory restriction” means a provision in a title transaction recorded in this state which restricts the ownership, occupancy, or use of any real property in this state by any natural person on the basis of a characteristic that has been held, or is held after September 4, 2020, by the United States Supreme Court or the Florida Supreme Court to be protected against discrimination under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution or under s. 2, Art. I of the State Constitution, including race, color, national origin, religion, gender, or physical disability.(2) A discriminatory restriction is not enforceable in this state, and all discriminatory restrictions contained in any title transaction recorded in this state are unlawful, are unenforceable, and are declared null and void. Any discriminatory restriction contained in a previously recorded title transaction is extinguished and severed from the recorded title transaction, and the remainder of the title transaction remains enforceable and effective. The recording of any notice preserving or protecting interests or rights pursuant to s. 712.06 does not reimpose or preserve any discriminatory restriction that is extinguished under this section.(3) Upon request of a parcel owner, a discriminatory restriction appearing in a covenant or restriction affecting the parcel may be removed from the covenant or restriction by an amendment approved by a majority vote of the board of directors of the respective property owners’ association or an owners’ association in which all owners may voluntarily join, notwithstanding any other requirements for approval of an amendment of the covenant or restriction. Unless the amendment also changes other provisions of the covenant or restriction, the recording of an amendment removing a discriminatory restriction does not constitute a title transaction occurring after the root of title for purposes of s. 712.03(4).History.—ss. 1, 2, ch. 2020-164.
(1) An aggrieved person may commence a civil action no later than 2 years after an alleged discriminatory housing practice has occurred. However, the court shall continue a civil case brought under this section or s. 760.34 before bringing it to trial if the court believes that the conciliation efforts of the commission or local agency are likely to result in satisfactory settlement of the discriminatory housing practice complained of in the complaint made to the commission or to the local agency and which practice forms the basis for the action in court. Any sale, encumbrance, or rental consummated before the issuance of any court order issued under the authority of ss. 760.20-760.37 and involving a bona fide purchaser, encumbrancer, or tenant without actual notice of the existence of the filing of a complaint or civil action under ss. 760.20-760.37 is not affected.
(2) An aggrieved person may commence a civil action under this section regardless of whether a complaint has been filed under s. 760.34(1) and regardless of the status of any such complaint. If the commission has obtained a conciliation agreement with the consent of an aggrieved person under s. 760.36, the aggrieved person may not file any action under this section regarding the alleged discriminatory housing practice that forms the basis for the complaint except for the purpose of enforcing the terms of the conciliation agreement.
(3) An aggrieved person may not commence a civil action under this section regarding an alleged discriminatory housing practice if an administrative law judge has commenced a hearing on the record on the allegation.
(4) If the court finds that a discriminatory housing practice has occurred, it shall issue an order prohibiting the practice and providing affirmative relief from the effects of the practice, including injunctive and other equitable relief, actual and punitive damages, and reasonable attorney fees and costs.
(5)(a) If the commission is unable to obtain voluntary compliance with ss. 760.20-760.37 or has reasonable cause to believe that a discriminatory practice has occurred:
1. The commission may institute an administrative proceeding under chapter 120; or
2. The aggrieved person may request administrative relief under chapter 120 within 30 days after receiving notice that the commission has concluded its investigation under s. 760.34.
(b) Administrative hearings shall be conducted under ss. 120.569 and 120.57(1). The respondent must be served written notice by certified mail. If the administrative law judge finds that a discriminatory housing practice has occurred or is about to occur, he or she shall issue a recommended order to the commission prohibiting the practice and recommending affirmative relief from the effects of the practice, including quantifiable damages and reasonable attorney fees and costs. The commission may adopt, reject, or modify a recommended order only as provided under s. 120.57(1). Judgment for the amount of damages and costs assessed pursuant to a final order by the commission may be entered in any court having jurisdiction thereof and may be enforced as any other judgment.
(c) The district courts of appeal may, upon the filing of appropriate notices of appeal, review final orders of the commission under s. 120.68. Costs or fees may not be assessed against the commission in any appeal from a final order issued by the commission under this subsection. Unless specifically ordered by the court, the commencement of an appeal does not suspend or stay an order of the commission.
(d) This subsection does not prevent any other legal or administrative action provided by law.
History.—s. 11, ch. 83-221; s. 8, ch. 89-321; s. 303, ch. 96-410; s. 1794, ch. 97-102; s. 5, ch. 2020-164.