In Florida, enacting rent control isn’t easy. Landlords in Florida can’t raise rent during the term of the lease. My tenants sign a lease for a year, and the rent is laid out in the lease. That is the amount they pay for that year. When the lease is up, we can negotiate for another year, but that deal is separate from the year before.
To restrict the new lease, Florida statute 125.0103 is pretty explicit. There are a number of steps that have to be followed.
- The city has to declare a housing emergency. Such governing body makes and recites in such measure its findings establishing the existence in fact of a housing emergency so grave as to constitute a serious menace to the general public and that such controls are necessary and proper to eliminate such grave housing emergency.
- The city puts rent control on the ballot.
- The measure must be approved by a majority of the voters in that city.
- The rent control doesn’t apply to seasonal rentals or to “luxury rentals.” A luxury rental is defined as a rental that would have cost more than $250 in 1977. There is nothing in there about adjusting that amount for inflation, but even if a court does so, according to the US inflation calculator, that would today be a rent of $1,222. There are virtually no rentals for that amount.
- The rent control is only in effect for one year.
- To go for another year, the entire process has to be repeated.
Even so, Orange County decided to go for it back in April. In August, the county moved to include it in the next election. Yesterday, a judge approved the measure to be on the ballot in November. The judge ruled that the landlords who sued could not prove that they would suffer harm merely because the measure is on the ballot because the measure may not pass.
I imagine that it will pass. There are a lot more grifters than there are landlords, especially in blue Orange county. I couldn’t find the wording of the proposed rent control ordnance. I imagine that there will be court cases to decide the amounts, which rentals it will apply to, and more. This case will be an important one to watch, as it will have a HUGE effect on not just the Florida rental market, but the Florida residential real estate market as a whole.