ORLANDO, Fla. – After a few roadblocks and no solutions, Orange County commissioners are hoping for a different outcome during Thursday’s special work session on rent control.
They’re set to discuss a plan proposed by Commissioner Emily Bonilla that calls for a rent hike cap of 5% (or the rate of inflation) over a 1-year period. If commissioners move forward, the plan would go on the ballot in November to be decided on by Orange County voters.
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But Bonilla’s proposal won’t be the only thing commissioners are discussing.
“We will be discussing not only rent control, but also programs to provide assistance to renters who are struggling,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings. “We want to have a balanced conversation to make sure that we are considering the needs of the property owners as well as the renters.”
Commissioner Emily Bonilla said she plans to present a draft ordinance at that meeting with research that she believes supports why the county’s rent situation is a housing emergency. It includes data that says rent increased by 25% in 2021 and by 29% as of March of this year. Read the draft ordinance below.
“If you look at the evictions, the number of children and families living on the streets, the rent increases, we have seen an extraordinary jump in those numbers,” said Commissioner Bonilla. “This rent cap will provide an immediate solution to the problem.”
An independent study that cost the county $60,000 found that the rent situation does not qualify for declaring an emergency and that a rent cap alone is among the least effective.
Many landlords like Matt Zaccarino say rent control is not the answer.
“The demand continues to increase, while the supply becomes constricted,” said Zaccarino.
May Beck said she was forced to move back home with her parents because her rent was rising too much.
“I was paying about $1,250. And it was going to go up to about $1,550 and that was just out of my range. I couldn’t do it,” said Beck with Orlando Tenant Power.
Thursday’s work session will not incorporate any public comment.
Orange County leaders sent this statement to News 6 Wednesday: “Commissioners and Staff will deliberate how the County wishes to move forward with potential Rent Stabilization measures. This is a continuation of the June 7, 2022 BCC discussion. Commissioners will determine what their next steps will be.”