Market Updates

Chinese Residents, Real Estate Firm Sue Florida Over Ban on Property Ownership

The ACLU, American Civil Liberties Union entrance to its DC office.
The ACLU, American Civil Liberties Union entrance to its DC office. File photo: DC Stock Photography, Shutter Stock, licensed.

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Following a new law in the state that restricts foreign investment in real estate from a list of specific countries, a group of Chinese citizens is suing Florida officials due to the law’s wording that nearly prohibits all purchases of land on the part of Chinese nationals, alleging that the law violates the Fair Housing Act. 

Senate Bill 264, signed into law on May 8 by Governor Ron DeSantis, prohibits residents of Cuba, Venezuela, Syria, China, North Korea, Russia, and Iran from purchasing real estate within 20 miles of “critical infrastructure” including airports, military installations, seaports, chemical manufacturing facilities, electrical power plants, water treatment plants and gas plants, and more, reports say. 

Anyone who knowingly sells real estate to people or entities from those countries would be subject to punitive measures on the part of the state of Florida. The law especially singles out residents of China, who are almost completely restricted from purchasing any property or homes anywhere within the state. 

The law, which DeSantis said was instituted in order “counteract the malign influence of the Chinese Communist Party in the state of Florida,” takes effect July 1, 2023.  

Florida-based real estate brokerage Multi-Choice Realty, as well as several Chinese residents currently living in Florida – Yifan Shen, Zhiming Xu, Xinxi Wang, Yongxin Liu – filed a lawsuit in federal court on Monday over the law, which they call “discriminatory” and “unconstitutional.”  

The American Civil Liberties Union is representing the plaintiffs, and named as defendants in the lawsuit are Florida’s Agricultural Commissioner Wilton Simpson, Economic Opportunity Florida Secretary Meredith Ivey and Florida Real Estate Commission Chair Patricia Fitzgerald. 

The lawsuit claims that Florida officials are stigmatizing Chinese and Chinese-American individuals by imposing “especially draconian restrictions” upon them. Multi-Choice Realty also alleges that they could lose a significant amount of business new to the law, reports say. 

“The law casts a cloud of suspicion over anyone of Chinese descent who seeks to buy property in Florida,” the lawsuit says. 

Florida Gulf Residential specializes in the areas of SarasotaSiesta KeyBradentonLakewood RanchLongboat KeyVenicePalmer RanchOspreyAnna Maria Island and other Gulf Coast communities. Feel free to give us a call at (941) 304-1975 so we can answer any questions you may have.



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