Collier County Officials Will Vote on Measures To Relieve Housing Crisis – Restrictions for Landlords Increasing Rents?

Toby Hazlewood

Helping renters avoid homelessness?

The housing crisis currently facing Florida is well-publicized, and politicians across the state are being asked to step up to help those in need. Nikki Fried - Democratic challenger for the gubernatorial election has gone on record to state that "Floridians can't afford Florida anymore".

According to a recent report from apartmentlist.com the last 12 months have seen rent increases of 66% in Miami, 41% in Fort Lauderdale and nearly 30% in Tampa and Orlando.

While Fried has stated that if she were voted in as governor, her first move would be to declare a state of emergency regarding the housing situation, political leaders in various of Florida's counties are taking action now.

Landlords to be restricted in making sudden large rent increases

In Collier County, officials are set to vote on affordable housing measures on Tuesday May 10 and most significant amongst proposals is to implement a requirement for landlords to give their tenants 60 days notice of rent increases of over 5%.

The proposal is the same as has already been implemented in Miami-Dade County and which is also under consideration in Hillsborough County too.

Protection for seniors and those on fixed incomes

The thinking is that implementing a 60-day notice period for renters of large increases, gives them at least a little notice to figure out how to pay or to find somewhere else to live within their budget.

Commenting on the proposals and how sudden rent increases can affect those on fixed incomes, John Harney, a Collier County official who serves on the county Affordable Housing Committee had this to say:

"Fixed incomes — you're 70 years old, 75 years old, 80 years old and suddenly a landlord comes to you and says, 'Hey, another $500 a month.' You can't afford it. This isn't an age where people can just roll with it. This is a major life crisis for them."

In November last year, it was reported that Florida's homeless population now includes more seniors than ever before. It mirrors trends seen in other states such as California, where seniors on fixed incomes are struggling to meet the rising cost of living.

Whether the proposals will be effective in giving renters the time needed to find another property remains to be seen.

Pressure on household budgets is increasing

There are many signs that support Nikki Fried's claim that Floridians can't afford to live in the state any longer. Food banks in the state are seeing record levels of demand for their help, while thrift shops are also seeing heightened demand from shoppers for secondhand clothes and people wanting to sell clothes to make cash.

While Governor Ron DeSantis has recently announced a number of sales-tax holidays and exemptions to help Floridians with the cost of living increases, it seems positive that individual counties are also exploring ways to help their citizens. Time will tell if these measures are effective however.

Do you think a 60-day notice period would be long enough to find a new place to rent if you were given notice of a $500 per month rent increase? Do you think that tougher measures are needed? Let me know in the comments section below.

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