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Florida lawmakers propose bill requiring air conditioning in rental units to safeguard tenants

A South Florida lawmaker desires to re-establish a few of the rental rights lawmakers rescinded in the course of the 2023 legislative session and require landlords to supply air-con, except in single family homes and duplexes.

Rep. Jervonte Edmonds’, D-Palm Beach, HB 31 would limit increases to rent to every year with a ceiling of 30%.

The prohibitions can be waived if expenses akin to property taxes, repairs, and insurance adjustments were to exceed 30% of current rent.

Edmonds’ proposal revives a few of the local government regulations and spot requirements for rentals invalidated by HB 1417. Signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis on July 5, it preempted all landlord tenant regulations to state government.

Rep. Jervonte

The Back Story

Rent increases of 35% in Miami, 29% in Tampa, and double digits elsewhere in the course of the pandemic made housing less reasonably priced for a lot of working Floridians. Tenants and groups akin to Florida Rising, and the Miami Staff Center pushed for local rent control ordinances governing fees and evictions.

St. Petersburg passed notice requirements before rent or fees might be raised. An Orange County initiative capped increases at 5% above inflation. Others established a late-payment tier system to stop evictions.

Rep. Tiffany Esposito, R-Fort Myers, sponsored HB 1417 to switch this patchwork of regulations with the Florida Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, she said, to guard property owners and capitalism.

Florida State Representative Tiffany Esposito spoke about affordable housing on a panel with Florida Realtors lobbyist Murphy Kennedy at SWFL Inc.'s State of the Region event on September 7, 2023. Esposito also is the chief executive officer and president of SWFL Inc.

“Capitalism and the free market will solve our housing crisis if we get the federal government out of the way in which,” said Esposito during floor debate of a bill to take rent regulations out of the hands of city and county governments.

The measure was backed by the Florida Apartment Association, which represents the rental housing industry, and passed along mostly party lines. One Democrat in each the House and Senate crossed the aisle to vote with the Republican majority.

The bill voided local regulations of security deposits, applications fees, rental agreements, and eviction procedures for 1.5 million households in Florida’s seven largest counties, based on the Shimberg Center for Housing Studies on the University of Florida, as first reported by the In search of Rent newsletter.

The rights of renters and landlords and their responsibilities at the moment are outlined in Chapter 83 of the Florida Statutes.

The Proposal

Landlords currently can begin eviction proceedings with a three-day notice when rent is three days late. Edmonds desires to amend the statute to stop eviction when partial payment of rent is made inside three days of the due date and full payment is made inside 15 days of the partial payment.

Edmonds would also add air-con to the list of amenities that include garbage removal, running water, and warmth within the winter that landlords are currently required to supply tenants.

The bill has yet to be assigned to a committee. The 2024 session of the Florida Legislature will begin on January 9.

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