Rent Increases of Over 30% Are Threatening Citizens of South Florida With Homelessness

Toby Hazlewood

Increases blamed on those moving to Florida

Escalating levels of homelessness have been a known problem in Florida for years now.

But recent reports suggest that rent increases in South Florida are out of control - going up by an average of 36% year-on-year. Faced with such increases, low-income renters in places like Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach are faced with the very real threat of homelessness.

These increases are a combined effect of the large numbers of people deserting places like New York and moving to Florida, together with landlords who are keen to capitalize on opportunities to make more money from their property.

The net-effect is that more and more of those who have struggled to make financial ends meet, are now faced with the threat of homelessness.

Floods of people moving to Florida

Data from July 2021 reveals just how many people are seeking a new life in Florida - in that month alone, the Miami metropolitan area saw a net increase of 7,160 people, compared to just 2,216 in June 2020. The majority of those people originated from New York.

The draw of living in Florida is clear to those who live here - but it's also apparent to those who've lived in places where taxes are more punitive and the weather isn't so favorable. The pandemic helped many to realize that they can live and work where they like, and so they're choosing to relocate. This is problematic for those who were already living in cities like Miami before rents started to go up so astronomically.

Protests against rent rises

Earlier this month, tenants in Hialeah held a protest at their landlord's office against proposed rent increases of $650 per month. The sentiment of their objections - that housing is a human right - is entirely reasonable.

But in a free-market economy prices tend to rise to whatever someone is willing to pay. That doesn't help Floridians whose incomes won't stretch to such increases. And in that scenario, the only option that many tragically face is homelessness, even those who are in work.

What happens next?

Florida state law currently prevents government from implementing rent control measures. Meanwhile local officials in Tampa and St Petersburg are seeking to implement a cap on rent increases as part of declaring a housing emergency.

Whether similar measures are pursued in Miami, remains to be seen.

What do you think about such drastic rent increases in South Florida? Has your rent been put up to an unreasonable level? Do you think it's greed on the part of landlords or the fault of those moving to Florida, or something else entirely? Let me know in the comments section below.

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