ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Some Orlando families are asking how they are going to pay for rent.
The average cost of rent in the Orlando metro area is up 30% compared to the same time last year, according to rent.com.
And in some areas, it is up even more.
Orange County Commissioner Emily Bonilla said in a press conference Thursday that she wants Orange County to implement temporary rent control measures, but it is getting pushback before it is even presented.
“If I have to stay another month or longer, I’m literally going broke,” Orange County resident Madeline Clark said.
Clark said her rent just jumped 24%, and she cannot afford it.
Bonilla said her constituents are sharing similar stories and that they don’t know what to do.
“They’re feeling hopeless,” Bonilla said. “They don’t know what they’re going to do when the leases are up. They feel they’re going to end up homeless.”
On Tuesday, Bonilla will present a rent stabilization proposal to Orange County commissioners.
Her plan calls for a rent hike cap of 5% or the rate of inflation, whichever is less. For example, if someone pays $1,000 a month for rent, the rent could not go up more than $50.
That cap would only last for one year, and it 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 the county’s attorneys if Bonilla’s proposal is legal.
Their response is that it needs to be investigated. Because of that, a vote on Bonilla’s proposal will likely not happen until May or June.
And the pushback also comes from the rental industry.
Here is a statement the Florida Apartment Association sent to News 6:
“The limited housing supply, record-high inflation, and escalating property insurance premiums are just a few of the factors driving up the cost of housing across the state of Florida.
Local governments should avoid falling prey to failed policies such as rent control. Orange County leaders should instead focus on identifying real solutions, including removing barriers to housing construction. Rent control would exacerbate Orange County’s housing shortage by driving 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 regarding Florida’s limited rental housing supply 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 partners in state and local government on meaningful and effective solutions going forward.”
“I bet you anything all the lobbyists are gonna be there saying that you’re gonna hurt us if you do this. They haven’t been hurting,” Bonilla said.
Gov. Ron DeSantis’ spokeswoman Christina Pushaw told News 6 that “those who are quick to insist on a state of emergency are those who believe that the government can and should solve every problem with the heaviest hand.”
Orlando State Representative Travaris McCurdy said he is tired of waiting for action.
“Clearly our executive leadership in Tallahassee is more concerned with fighting a mouse rather than helping people get a house,” McCurdy said. “And that’s a problem.”
And Orange County is not alone in considering a rent stabilization proposal, as commissioners in Miami-Dade County are also considering declaring a housing state of emergency.
Both meetings in Orange and Miami-Dade counties will take place on Tuesday.