AREAA, housing groups sue Florida over SB 264 law

by John Yellig

The Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) and several other organizations recently sued the state of Florida over SB 264, a 2023 law that severely restricts people from China and six other countries from buying real estate in the state. 

SB 264 was signed into law by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and amounts to an almost complete prohibition against residents of China from purchasing property in the state on national security grounds. People from Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela and Syria, meanwhile, are prohibited from buying real property within 10 miles of critical infrastructure facilities or military institutions — a restriction that covers 98.5% of all residential land in Florida, Asian Americans Advancing Justice said. 

The fair-housing discrimination suit seeks to have the law thrown out. It was filed in federal court in Miami on May 6Previously, in February, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit prohibited enforcement of the law for two of four plaintiffs but otherwise left it in effect pending further review. 

Co-plaintiffs joining AREAA in the suit include the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), Housing Opportunities Project for Excellence Inc. and the Fair Housing Center of the Greater Palm Beaches. 

“This is a momentous day for AREAA and our 19,000 members, as it is the first time we have filed suit to protect the rights of the AANHPI [Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders] community,” AREAA President Jamie Tian said in an announcement. “SB 264 must be defeated. Florida legislators and Governor DeSantis have wrongly targeted Chinese and other select groups of immigrants. They have opened the door for greater discrimination while creating increased barriers of homeownership entry for prospective AANHPI homebuyers and sellers. 

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