Orange County commissioner to propose rent stabilization measure on Tuesday

ORANGE COUNTY, Florida. – Some families in Orlando are asking how they’re going to pay the rent.

The average cost of rent in the Orlando metro area is up 30% from the same time last year, according to rent.com.

And in some areas it is even higher.

Orange County Commissioner Emily Bonilla said at a press conference on Thursday that she wants Orange County to implement temporary rent control measures, but that is being pushed back even before it is not presented.

“If I have to stay another month or more, I will literally go broke,” said Orange County resident Madeline Clark.

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Clark said her rent just went up 24% and she couldn’t afford it.

Bonilla said his constituents shared similar stories and were unsure what to do.

“They feel hopeless,” Bonilla said. “They don’t know what they’re going to do once the leases end. They feel like they’re going to end up homeless.

On Tuesday, Bonilla will present a rent stabilization proposal to Orange County commissioners.

His plan calls for a cap on rent increases of 5% or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower. For example, if someone pays $1,000 a month for rent, the rent cannot increase by more than $50.

This cap would only last for one year and would have to be approved by Orange County voters.

In an internal memo from Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, obtained by News 6, he asked county attorneys if Bonilla’s proposal was legal.

Their answer is that it must be studied. For that reason, a vote on Bonilla’s proposal likely won’t take place until May or June.

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And the decline also comes from the rental sector.

Here is a statement the Florida Apartment Association sent to News 6:

“Limited housing supply, record inflation and escalating property insurance premiums are just a few of the factors driving up the cost of housing in the state of Florida.

Local governments should avoid falling prey to failed policies such as rent control. Instead, Orange County leaders should focus on identifying real solutions, including removing barriers to housing construction. Rent control would exacerbate the housing shortage in Orange County by spurring new investment in housing construction and business elsewhere. Policymakers should look no further than St. Paul, where multifamily building permits are down 80% since the city enacted a rent control policy.

For years, the apartment industry has expressed concern about the limited supply of rental housing in Florida and offered effective solutions to address the challenge. The Florida Apartment Association and the Apartment Association of Greater Orlando remain committed to continuing to work with the county and our state and local government partners on meaningful and effective solutions moving forward.

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“I bet you anything all the lobbyists will be out there saying you’re going to hurt us if you do this. They weren’t hurt,” Bonilla said.

Governor Ron DeSantis spokeswoman Christina Pushaw told News 6 that “those who are quick to insist on a state of emergency are those who believe the government can and should solve all problems with the heaviest of hands.”

Orlando State Rep. Travaris McCurdy said he was tired of waiting for action.

“Obviously our executive leadership in Tallahassee is more concerned with battling a mouse than helping people get a house,” McCurdy said. “And that’s a problem.”

And Orange County isn’t alone in considering a rent stabilization proposal, as Miami-Dade County commissioners are also considering declaring a state of housing emergency.

The two meetings in Orange and Miami-Dade counties will take place on Tuesday.

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