Florida Representative Jervonte Edmonds (D) is seeking to impose rent control measures through a bill he filed in the Florida House of Representatives this week.
HB 31 would cap rent raises to 30 percent of the current amount charged and limit inferior raises to once a year.
In other words, landlords would be prohibited from increasing rent by more than 30 percent of what they already charge, and raises that do not surpass the 30 percent threshold would only be permitted once a year.
Edmonds’ bill provides two exceptions.
First, rent increases would be allowed if the rent is being increased when establishing the initial rent for a new tenant’s contract. Second, raising rent to cover costs due to repairs, fees, insurance adjustments, or property taxes that exceed 30 percent of the current rent would also be permitted.
Rent control is a proposal that, as inflation skyrockets, politicians are increasingly calling for to appease an increasingly frustrated constituency.
Over the past year, for example, all food prices on average have gone up 6.7%, electricity has gone up 5.9%, flour has gone up 17.1%, and baby food has gone up 10.1%.
In response to rising cost of living due to the current economic state, cities, such as the city of Boston, have been installing a series of rent control measures.
However, Florida statutes explicitly bar individual cities or counties from imposing rent control measures.
Statute 166.043 specifically reads that “a municipality, county, or other entity of local government may not adopt or maintain in effect any law, ordinance, rule, or other measure that would have the effect of imposing controls on rents.”
Rent control is argued by many to be a short-term solution with long-lasting negative consequences. The Wall Street Journal reported this past January that “93% of economists agree rent control reduces the quantity and quality of housing available.”
However, whether beneficial or not, Edmons’ proposal surpasses Florida statutes, as it presents a State-level legislative initiative transcending local and country prohibitions. As such, if passed by the legislature, the bill would effectively prevent landlords from raising rent prices.