Tampa, FL

Renters in Tampa are concerned about housing discrimination.


The Tenants Bill of Rights is intended to safeguard those who rely on Section 8 vouchers by prohibiting permissible income discrimination.

Housing Crisis in Tampa.Photo byDaniel

TAMPA, Florida: Renters in Tampa allege housing discrimination persists despite the city council approving a Tenants Bill of Rights earlier this year." We just want to live like everyone else," said Kenneth Lofton, who is seeking a place to reside. "But it's difficult...you know? All you have to do is keep going."

Lofton has been seeking a new place to live after his landlord decided to stop accepting the housing vouchers he needs to pay for rent." They left a sign on my door indicating they're no longer taking Section 8," he explained. "As a result, I had to leave the premises."

This is a frequent scenario, according to Kenneth and advocates with the nonprofit Florida Rising."Isn't the Tenant Bill of Rights meant to protect them from that?" Florida Rising's Robin Lockett questioned Tampa City Council members on Thursday. "How does that get enforced?"

Lockett informed council members that the rule is virtually "worthless," citing the Tenants Bill of Rights, which forbids legitimate income discrimination against persons receiving Section 8 vouchers." It's motivated by complaints," said Nicole Davis, the city's administrator of Development and Economic Opportunity. "As a result, individuals must submit a complaint, and code enforcement is dispatched... The maximum fine we may levy on the landlord is $450."

City officials say they have received complaints about certain landlords and will attempt to spread the word further, but they add that there isn't much further they can do as a municipal government."The Tenant Bill of Rights is honestly the best that a local government can accomplish," Davis remarked. "We don't have the authorization or the capacity to do anything more."

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