Pinellas plans webinar, education campaign for Tenants Bill of Rights

Rose Burke

Ordinance goes into effect Oct. 3 to address income discrimination, notice of rent increases 

  • Following County Commission approval in August, the countywide Tenants Bill of Rights goes into effect Oct. 3
  • The new ordinance requires landlords to share tenant rights information, give advanced written notice of rent increases and late fees, and adds protections from discrimination based on income source (e.g. housing vouchers)
  • Webinar for landlords scheduled for Sept. 21, 2022; preregister on Zoom

With the countywide Tenants Bill of Rights set to take effect on Oct. 3, 2022, Pinellas County is launching an educational campaign to ensure landlords and tenants are well-informed about their responsibilities and rights under the new ordinance.

Detailed information about the Tenants Bill of Rights, including the approved ordinance language, is now available online at rent.pinellas.gov/tenants-rights.

Additionally, the County is hosting a webinar for landlords and others who want more information about the ordinance via Zoom on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022, at 1 p.m. Participants can register online here:

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_WtT9LEDjQTCZUpehaaPpnQ

The webinar will be available in English with live Spanish interpretation and will include a brief presentation by County staff followed by answers to frequently asked questions.

Participants can also submit questions before the webinar for consideration by Friday, Sept. 16, 2022, via email.

The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners voted in August to expand protections for vulnerable renters across the county with the passage Tenants Bill of Rights ordinance.

The ordinance will apply countywide in all municipalities except for those that adopt their own provision inconsistent with the County or formally opt out. The City of St. Petersburg is the only municipality that already has a similar ordinance in effect.

The purpose of the ordinance is to work with local landlords to inform tenants of their rights, provide advance notice of rent increases and late fees, and prevent discrimination based on a renter’s source of income.

The Tenants Bill of Rights specifically adds the following protections for tenants:

  • Requires landlords to provide all tenants with a notice of rights under Florida law and Pinellas County code
  • Expands current County code to prohibit landlords from discriminating against rental applicants based on their source of income
  • Requires landlords to give tenants advanced written notice of late fees and rent increases exceeding 5 percent 

The new provisions will be enforced by Pinellas County Code Enforcement and Consumer Protection with a $500 fine for each offense.

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