Florida woman's rent goes from $1700 to $3500 a month, forcing her to move, but "affordable" apartments have vanished

Kristen Walters

A Florida woman just got a notice from her landlord that her rent would be going up more than 100% after living in her home for more than 22 years. Now she's scrambling to find an "affordable" apartment but finding few options.

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Sara Espinoza's story is one that is, unfortunately, becoming all too common amongst Florida's middle-class renters. It highlights a growing problem across the state -- the extinction of affordable housing options for those who rent by choice or necessity.

Espinoza told local reporters earlier this week that she received a notice from her landlord that the rent on the three-bedroom apartment that she has lived in for the past 22 years will be going up from $1700 to $3500 a month when her lease is up in early May.

Florida does not currently have any rent control laws on the books to prevent a rent increase like this, so landlords are free to charge whatever they want. The best a tenant can do is try to negotiate with the landlord. In Espinoza's case, her landlord was unwilling to budge on the new terms.

Like many middle-class renters who find themselves in this predicament, Espinoza has a "good" job earning a decent salary, excluding her from any kind of rental assistance benefits that low-income renters can get from the state.

But Espinoza doesn't earn enough to cover the rent increase. Like many Florida renters, her salary did not go up enough to keep pace with rising rent costs. So, now she is scrambling to find a rental she can afford before her current landlord evicts her. But affordable rentals are hard to come by these days.

Some renters are urging the state to step in and enact some sort of rent control measure to help curb the affordable housing crisis in Florida. However, others believe rent control is not the way to go because it artificially suppresses home values and deters developers from building new properties.

What do you think?

Should Florida landlords be allowed to double a tenant's rent?

Or should the state step in and enact some kind of rent control law to make apartments more affordable?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

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