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Some Rental Solutions Unworkable

Studies find rent control is a short-term solution that creates long-term problems. Florida Realtors has filed a lawsuit against Orange County to block a proposal.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida needs more rental units in many cities. A number of factors created the problem, including a large influx of new residents during the pandemic, rising construction supply costs and a building industry that has been under-producing since a slowdown during the Great Recession. But high demand and low supply have pushed rental costs higher.

On Aug. 9, Orange County, in a split decision, narrowly passed a proposed ballot referendum that, if approved, would enact a local rent-control ordinance. Florida Realtors, along with the Florida Apartment Association, filed suit against Orange County to block this proposal from appearing on the November ballot.

Florida Realtors CEO Margy Grant says, “Florida Realtors has long advocated for affordable housing. Studies show that rent control has unintended consequences that can make matters worse. A better solution would be to pursue public-private partnerships that result in more affordable housing units.”

According to the Brookings Institution, “While rent control appears to help current tenants in the short run, in the long run it decreases affordability, fuels gentrification, and creates negative spillovers on the surrounding neighborhood.”

The benefit is short-term for a few but aggravates the supply-demand problem over time.

Amanda White, government affairs director for the Florida Apartment Association (FAA), issued this statement on behalf of the association:

“Last week, despite feedback from experts and professionals in the rental housing industry, the Orange County Commission voted to move a fundamentally flawed rent control measure to the General Election ballot. In response to this violation of state law, FAA filed a swift legal challenge alongside the Florida Realtors to prevent Orange County’s rent control measure from advancing to the November ballot.

“Throughout several workshops, FAA and even the county’s own hired experts pointed out the realities of Florida law and the fact that Orange County’s proposal failed to meet the high bar established under statute.”

Florida Realtors’ leaders say the state association will continue to be a strong advocate for housing solutions that will increase supply to offset high increases in rental rates.

© 2022 Florida Realtors®