In Orange County, FL the CCDF-Orange Prospective Executive Director is looking into the Rent Control Stabilization Ordinance. Commissioner Emily Bonilla championed the Rent Control Ordinance. The verbiage used calls for a rent cap of the average annual consumer price index. It would NOT apply to any dwellings with 4 or less units, short-term rentals, units described as luxury per the state, and approximately 230k of the 300k units in Orange County. The cap would last for one year and would have to be approved by Orange County voters first.
An independent study costing the county $60k found that a rent cap solution does not qualify for an emergency declaration. It also deduced that it would be the least effective solution to help the county and its citizens. There is also the fact that the commissioners didn’t consider the laws that would need to be adhered to before implementing this proposal. There is approximately a 10-50% increases in property insurance, property taxes, maintenance, capital replacement costs, and wages that property owners still must pay and account for. The proposal would force owners to eliminate services and ultimately decrease the quality of all they currently provide. It would also discourage the need for further development of more housing stock to the county. The suspicion that many citizens have, is that this is possibly a political stunt to secure the votes for the commissioners’ election or is a long game tactic to destabilize businesses and ultimately the community of Orange County. Residents are concentrating on current cost not realizing if land developers/ owners/ apartment owners, and commercial business owners have costs they incur as well as taxes. Those cost go up and the populous incurs those cost as well. If businesses can’t pay those costs the result is the residents will lose their housing.
Questions from the citizens of Orange County:
- Who will ultimately benefit from the rent cap?
- Why did Commissioners Uribe, Bonilla, Wilson, and Gomez Cordero vote for Rent Control?
Florida legislation allows local governments to institute rent control measures when there is a housing crisis sufficient to create a menace to the public, rent control is initially only allowed for a period of one year. Such an ordinance must be approved by a public vote of the county, municipality, or governing entity issuing the measure and will automatically expire within one year. The expiring ordinance may not be extended but may be replaced by a new ordinance that meets all the required elements of the original ordinance. Any legal challenge to the rent control measure, places the burden of proof on the municipality seeking to control the rent. The governing body must be able to prove that the controls are necessary and proper to eliminate an existing housing emergency so dire that it constitutes a serious menace to the public. There is currently a lawsuit filed against the Ordinance. A judge ruled to deny the temporary restraining order filed. A subsequent appeal has been filed with the appellate court and we are waiting on the results of that. We will keep you informed, but in the meantime, we challenge you to get involved in your local government. Show up at board meetings, review agenda items and things being voted on, use your voice in public comment. There are elected leaders who are making decisions on your behalf, daily! The only way to ensure they are making decisions that benefit the people, is if the people get involved, and give oversight.