Orange County Commission Votes to Ask Rent Control Question on November Ballot | Orlando Area News | Orlando

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Photo courtesy of the City of Orlando

By a close 4-3 vote, the Orange County Commission voted to put a rent stabilization ordinance on the ballot in November.

The order limits rent increases in certain apartments by linking them to the consumer price index for a single year. The move is narrowly tailored to circumvent Florida’s statewide municipal rent control ban, which has led activists to decry how little the law does.

Still, the move was met with stiff resistance from council members, local landlords and Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings. Demings told the assembled crowd that he believed the rent stabilization order was the wrong way to go, pushing for more funding for housing assistance programs.

“I think what has really worked for our community is the fact that we’ve provided this rental assistance, that’s what has kept people in their homes and that’s what will keep people in their homes” , Demings said.

In an earlier meeting on the issue, rent control proponent and commissioner Emily Bonilla noted that the ordinance’s incredibly tailored language makes it far less covering than she initially hoped. The text of the ordinance would cover less than half of Orlando’s rental stock.

“The moment came when I saw this ordinance and additions that the council had not discussed and basically what I said was, ‘You work for the council and the people of Orange County. , not for developers,” Bonilla said.

Orlando has seen some of the highest rent increases in the country in recent years, and the average single adult in Orlando no longer earns enough money to cover their bills. It’s worth asking how long we can continue to funnel money to landlords as a band-aid solution to the unaffordable housing problem.

Orlando Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith had a solution: push the governor to declare a state of emergency over Florida’s housing affordability crisis. In a state of emergency, a year-on-year rent increase of more than 10% would be considered an illegal price increase.

As things stand, voters will have the chance to decide the issue on November 8. It would enter into force the same month, if adopted.

Aurora J. William