Our Positions

Position Statements

The Pinellas REALTOR® Organization and Central Pasco REALTOR® Organization (PRO/CPRO) periodically provides position statements stating the association’s opinion on issues pertaining to the real estate industry and the housing sector in Pinellas and Pasco Counties. The information contained within this document serves as a guide for lobbying and issue advocacy activities.

A credit line citing PRO/CPRO as the copyright holder must be included when reprinting or reproducing PRO/CPRO position statements.

All policy statements are approved by the Board of Directors and remain consistent with the organization’s objectives to:

  • Unite those engaged in the recognized branches of the real estate profession for the purpose of exerting a beneficial influence upon the profession and related interests.
  • Promote and maintain high standards of conduct in the real estate profession as expressed in the Code of Ethics  of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.
  • Provide a unified medium for real estate owners and those engaged in the real estate profession whereby their interests may be safeguarded and advanced.
  • Further the interests of home ownership and other real property ownership. To unite those engaged in the real estate profession in this community with the FLORIDA REALTORS® and the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® thereby furthering their own objectives throughout the state and nation, and obtaining the benefit and privileges of membership therein.
  • Designate, for the benefit of the public, those individuals authorized to use the term “REALTOR® ” or “REALTORS® ” as licensed, prescribed and controlled by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® .

Affordable housing

In order to ensure that all citizens, especially our area’s workforce, have access to housing, REALTOR® Organization and Central Pasco REALTOR® Organization (PRO/CPRO) recognizes the need for the production and rehabilitation of quality, safe, and affordable housing. We will continue to work with our partners in local government and state government to ensure all monies collected by government for affordable housing should be used for affordable housing initiatives.

In the interest of keeping homeownership affordable, while ensuring that redevelopment in our nearly “built-out” county is encouraged, PRO/CPRO is concerned about and will continue to monitor any proposed new or increased impact fees, particularly those levied on residential construction.

The PRO/CPRO considers affordable housing essential to the continued growth and progress of our communities. However, PRO/CPRO is opposed to any program that mandates the inclusion of affordable housing in developments. PRO/CPRO believes that mandatory inclusionary zoning puts an undue burden on developers and has the potential to stifle new development in Pinellas and Pasco Counties. It could also jeopardize our counties’ economic future. We believe that the current voluntary program that offers incentives for the inclusion of affordable housing is the most equitable, effective, and efficient method for providing affordable housing in Pinellas and Pasco Counties.

A Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program is an incentive-based financing program that enables property owners to improve the energy efficiency of a property. In Florida, the program can be used for hurricane wind mitigation as well as seawall repair. Unfortunately, PACE loans have an adverse effect on mortgage availability and long-term homeownership affordability. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) does not allow Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Federal Home Loan Banks to purchase mortgages encumbered by PACE liens. Today, approximately 75% of residential properties utilize Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or Federal Home Loan Banks to finance residential mortgages either directly or indirectly. In a community that has a high number of senior citizens, first time homebuyers, veterans, and those in search of workforce housing, it does not seem prudent to engage in a program that could deny 75% of the market to a property.
In the interest of maintaining homeownership affordability, PRO/CPRO opposes increases in property tax rates. Property owners are subject to a variety of burdensome taxes and fees, and the costs associated with homeownership (particularly insurance) continue to increase. Instead of increasing property tax rates for generating revenues for various projects, services and initiatives, PRO/CPRO encourages local governments to fully explore, utilize and exhaust all other potential options available for generating revenues.

The importance of a stable, affordable, widely accessible property insurance market is key to a thriving housing market and resilient community. We focus on issues at the local level that could lower the cost of property insurance such as encouraging increased participation by municipalities in FEMA’s Community Rating System, increased building standards that create long term savings for property owners, and investment in infrastructure that protects communities from major storm events.

Economic development

Real estate makes up 15%-18% of our nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) in a given year. History has shown our economy is influenced by real estate, and the real estate industry is affected by the economy. REALTOR® Organization and Central Pasco REALTOR® Organization (PRO/CPRO) works with community partners on major issues that influence the general health of the local economy, and the vibrance of the real estate industry.

PRO/CPRO is concerned about the potential displacement effect on property taxes if Internet sales result in a significant decrease in state sales tax collections or revenues, as is projected. Florida, which has no state income tax and is heavily dependent upon sales tax revenues, may lose a projected $1.3-billion annually as a result of sales taxes from Internet sales not being collected. PRO/CPRO is concerned that this trend could result in an increased burden on property taxes.

PRO/CPRO supports efforts to keep the Tampa Bay Rays in Tampa Bay.

PRO/CPRO considers an adequate transportation system to be of the utmost importance. PRO/CPRO supports efforts to bring multimodal transit options to the region. PRO/CPRO believes that a robust bus system, adequate roadway infrastructure, and fixed guide way transportation are critical components to the Tampa Bay area’s long range planning efforts.

Property rights

Recognizing that protecting private property rights is the cornerstone of the real estate industry, Pinellas REALTOR® Organization and Central Pasco REALTOR® Organization (PRO/CPRO) supports initiatives that are designed to protect these rights. PRO/CPRO is committed to supporting the ongoing efforts of both the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) and Florida Realtors® (FR) that protect private property rights. PRO will oppose any effort to weaken Fifth Amendment rights, and will support legislation and regulatory efforts to expand these rights, which are inherent to all Americans.

PRO/CPRO will continue to monitor issues pertaining to land use codes and efforts designed to amend such codes throughout Pinellas and Pasco County. Any measure deemed counterproductive to the real estate industry and/or private property rights will be opposed by PRO/CPRO.
Point-of-Sale Inspection (POSI) programs pertaining to real estate can be ordinances enforced, taxes imposed, and/or assessments on property at the time it’s sold. The goal of most POS programs is to meet wide-scale infrastructure needs. Common POS programs are inspection and possible replacement of sidewalks, lateral sewer pipes, and other common infrastructure. Unfortunately, the programs add costs for sellers and buyers, deficiencies could be considered ‘material defect’, and they could complicate or delay sale of properties. Furthermore, they rarely, if ever, accomplish the goal for which they were intended. PRO/CPRO opposes any efforts to attach a point-of-sale inspection provisions to real estate transactions.
In the interest of protecting private property rights, PRO/CPRO is opposed to governmental efforts to place restrictions on or prohibit short-term rental agreements. PRO/CPRO believes that such rental agreements should be governed by the appropriate condominium or homeowners association, not a governmental entity.
PRO/CPRO will continue to closely monitor issues pertaining to local sign ordinances, specifically those that govern real estate signage. PRO/CPRO is committed to continuing to work with local governments on ensuring that sign ordinances effectively facilitate – and not deter — real estate business in Pinellas County.
PRO/CPRO supported the Barrier Islands Governmental Council’s efforts to: 1) maintain the Coastal Construction Control Line in its current location, and 2). Maintain local government jurisdiction or oversight over the construction/building permitting process as it concerns the CCCL. PRO/CPRO shall continue to monitor developments concerning this issue, which could impact property values and property rights of owners throughout the county’s beach communities – particularly those located along the intracoastal waterway.

There is economic and community value to preserving residential and commercial properties, but said value should rarely outweigh the rights of property owners. Broad historic districts and third-party designations can limit property values, increase property insurance costs, restrict available housing, and limit the rights endowed upon property owners by the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment.

Quality of life

Tampa Bay has many attributes that make it known as an attractive place to live, work, and play. Pinellas REALTOR® Organization and Central Pasco REALTOR® Organization (PRO/CPRO) is proud to work with community partners to protect the exceptional reputation cultivated over time, and work to improve it.

Issues concerning education and school zoning are of great interest and concern to REALTORS® and their clients, especially those with children. We continue to support increased funding of our school system which includes higher teacher pay, funding for the arts, and renewed focus on teaching work force skills. We will continue to monitor how tax dollars are spent to ensure as much funding as possible goes directly into the classroom.
PRO/CPRO supports the expansion of protected classes in housing to include LGBTQ persons. While this topic is gaining traction at the Federal and State government levels, we urge local governments to act in their stead and provide this common sense protection from discrimination to members of our community. At the same time, PRO/CPRO opposes “lawful source of income” as a protected class. Many sources of income are considered lawful but could be concerning to a property owner qualifying a tenant. Examples of lawful income that often do not qualify range from employment or sales bonuses to winnings from gambling. Forced acceptance of sources of income is an undue burden that could force property owner to rent to tenants that otherwise should now qualify.

Miscellaneous

Pinellas REALTOR® Organization and Central Pasco REALTOR® Organization (PRO/CPRO) opposes municipal ordinances that would restrict the efforts of PRO/CPRO and Florida REALTORS® to exercise their first amendment rights as it pertains to campaign communication by Political Action Committees (PAC).

REALTORS®, other real estate related professionals, and the financial services industry are considered essential. In times of pandemics, storms, and other societal impacts it is the prerogative of governments to take steps to protect the people and property of the community. Should the government feel the need to limit businesses from operating then they should exempt real estate professionals and other members of the financial services industry from any restrictions. Real estate is important as it facilitates the transaction of shelter and other property necessary to a safe and healthy community. Often these transactions are the difference between a family having a home or not, which can be especially dangerous in uncertain times. Furthermore, the real estate industry has developed technology, tools, and processes that limit or eliminate the risk and exposure of individuals in involved in a real estate transaction.