Florida Advocates Criticize Bill Preempting Local Housing Ordinances

Florida’s House Bill 1417, which was recently passed in the state’s House of Representatives, has caused a stir among advocates for tenant rights. The legislation, if signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis, would prevent local governments from regulating landlord-tenant relationships. House lawmakers are touting the move as a means to achieve consistency across the state and creating a favorable marketplace for development and housing.

However, critics of the bill argue that it would undo much of the work that residents, particularly those in Orange County, have fought for in terms of rent stabilization and protections. The Senior Director of Strategy at Florida Rising, Sheena Rolle, said that the support offered by the newly opened Office of Tenant Services in Orange County would be banned if the bill is signed into law. Rolle further emphasized that the passing of this legislation is not a reflection of policymakers’ benevolence, but rather the result of a sustained democratic effort from people who believe in its importance.

To that effect, Florida Rising has sent letters to Governor Ron DeSantis, urging him to veto not only House Bill 1417 but also another piece of legislation, House Bill 133, once they land on his desk. House Bill 133 proposes that tenants be given the option to pay non-refundable fees in lieu of security deposits. Housing experts have called this scheme predatory, suggesting it would unfairly burden working-class Floridians.

Critics are concerned that the passage of bills like these does not prioritize residents’ needs and could be seen as a move that prioritizes the interests of businesses over people. Rolle argued that the legislation would essentially turn Florida into a cash cow for corporate landlords, urging instead for local municipalities to be more hands-on.

Olivia Osborne, an Orange County resident, echoed Rolle’s sentiments, saying that she prefers local government intervention, as people who live in the community are better placed to monitor and address the needs of their neighborhoods and cities. Critics of the bill believe that lawmakers are promoting legislation that does not support residents’ ability to flourish in the community they call home and that they have every right to form a government that works for them.

Florida Rising members emphasized that residents need to be better informed of how bills like these could affect them, as such issues often fly under the radar in the midst of more controversial matters. Advocates are urging Governor Ron DeSantis to take note of their concerns and to prioritize the interests of Floridians over corporate interests.

Related Articles

Back to top button