ORLANDO, Fla. — Renters in Florida could soon feel the same pains of the state’s property insurance crisis. 

What You Need To Know

  • Rising insurance costs could force rent to rise too

  • Property owners throughout Florida have reported seeing their policy premiums more than double

  • If costs for landlords go up, then inevitably rent will have to, as well

  • In terms of the rental market, recent legislative action and development growth are helping

Property owners throughout Florida have reported seeing their policy premiums more than double, such as the case of Mike Van Den Abbeel of Winter Park. 

“It was a bit of a shock when we did receive it,” Van Den Abbeel told Spectrum News last month. “Obviously something is broken in the insurance market.”

An Osceola County homeowner recently told Spectrum News their policy premium went from $4,000 (2021) to $8,000 (2022) to now more than $17,000, despite no prior claims.

The impacts are far and wide — from single-family homes to duplexes to apartment complexes.

“Property insurance cost is one of our biggest challenges right now,” said Alex Zweydoff, director of business development for Allegiant Management Group in Kissimmee.

Zweydoff said its simple economics.

If costs for landlords go up, then inevitably rent will have to, as well.

“We have one client who received a $9,000 insurance bill…and rent is about $2,300 to $2,400 a month,” Zweydoff said. “That alone, with a $6,000 tax bill, you’re looking at six months of rent. Put that into perspective, six months of rent is going to insurance and taxes and not including the mortgage, maintenance, or anything else along those lines when we put it into perspective for owners. They’re not out here making all of this money. They’re just here trying to support their families.”

Amanda White with Florida Apartment Association said apartment owners are seeing rising insurance rates statewide, some seeing premiums more than double.

“Property insurance nationally for multifamily housing providers has actually gone up 26%, and numbers in Florida are much worse,” White said.

It’s a challenge that property owners of all kinds are trying to deal with, as not all situations are the same.

In terms of the rental market, recent legislative action and development growth are helping, White said.

“We’ve seen tremendous population growth here in Central Florida, especially Orlando, so the supply is really the key, and Orlando has delivered over 11,000 units just this last year,” White said. “That’s already bringing rent down, and rent growth is down right now 1.6% in the Orlando market.”

Lawmakers held a pair of special legislative sessions last year (May and December 2022) to stabilize the insurance crisis.

Among the reforms, the measures passed by lawmakers:

  • Prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage simply because a roof’s age is less than 15 years old
  • Prohibits insurance companies from refusing to issue or renew a homeowners insurance policy solely because of the roof age when a roof is 15 years old or older if an inspection of the roof indicates that the roof has five years or more of useful life
  • Installed structural and financial inspection standards for buildings and condo associations
  • Expanded oversight authority to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation
  • Exempted certain Citizens policy types from being required to have flood insurance
  • Established the "My Safe Florida Home" Program
  • Limit policyholders’ abilities to sue insurance companies

While lawmakers said on the heels of the sessions that time is needed for the fixes to take effect, they added it was necessary to ensure insurance companies are lured back to the state, creating more competition and better rates for property owners.

In an Op/Ed published in the Orlando Sentinel in July, Florida House Speaker Paul Renner said lawmakers took “bold action” with measures that are now showing “…significant signs the market is improving.”

Florida Insurance Commissioner Michael Yaworsky recently echoed the effects of the legislative changes during a virtual town hall with Democratic state lawmakers.

The cost share of the crisis shows few are immune to the impacts of Florida’s property insurance crisis.

Zweydoff predicts it may take time for some landlords to pass the rising cost of insurance on to renters. But he cautioned that insurance is not the only rising cost on property owners, adding that property taxes, condo/homeowners association fees and other costs are also going up, and all of those costs influence the rate of rent.