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Marathon Homebuilding and Repair 50% Rule to be Amended

Owners of Marathon real estate have good news potentially coming their way. The Marathon City Council has unanimously approved a new ordinance to amend the current 50% rule directing current homeowners. Under the current iteration of the law, homeowners are required to demolish and rebuild their homes if any cumulative repairs or improvements amount to more than 50% of the current home market value over a span of a three year period. That means that any work done to the house, whether it be a planned renovation, addition, reconstruction, or repair work (including repairs done following a major storm or hurricane) done over a course of three years cannot exceed 50% of the fair market value of the home. If it does, the Marathon home would have to be torn down and rebuilt.

The primary reason for this law was to encourage the building of stronger, stilted homes that are up to current building code standards, to replace older ground level homes. While it did accomplish this end, it also has caused other unforeseen consequences. Many who purchased homes for sale in Marathon, or current homeowners were often hesitant to perform certain renovations. They feared that if a major hurricane came through in the following 3 years, which is always a great possibility, they might exceed their 50% of market value and be forced to demolish their homes. Other consequences were homeowners being forced to delay rebuilding efforts after storms due to having performed major work or additions within the past 3 years. Many were forced to make concessions in order to avoid having to level their properties.

On October 12, 2021 the city council voted to amend the previous ordinance time span of 3 years. They unanimously voted to reduce the 50% rule to a one year time frame. The ordinance now moves on for final approval. If it is approved, as expected, the clock for repairs or renovation will reset every year. This means that homeowners will be able to plan much easier for things like home rehabbing without the threat of 3 more hurricane seasons looming. City council members believe this will result in fewer rebuilds necessary, and voted unanimously for the new ordinance to “protect” Marathon residents.

Ordinance 2021-24 now moves on to a second community hearing for final approval and enactment. This is scheduled to take place at the Marathon City Council meeting on November 9.


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Key Largo, Florida 33070

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