Rent Control Measures Could Be Brewing in Florida

Rent control talk and actions continue to persist in many states across the country, including Florida, California, Minnesota, New York and Nevada.

Various measures have been either enacted, rejected or placed on November ballots, according to a report this week from the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC).

Apartment operators such as Camden recently stated in The Wall Street Journal that “it will not build in a rent-control market,” according to Ric Campo, its chief executive.

Sean Rawson, co-founder, California-based Waterford Property Company, tells GlobeSt.com, “From a public policy perspective, rent control is an extremely short-sighted way to provide housing affordability. As an affordable housing investor and developer, Waterford is a big proponent of income-restricted affordable housing, but adopting rent control unfairly burdens private investors and discourages future investment in communities while pricing long-term rental benefits.

“In my opinion, the long-term negative effects far outweigh any short-term political benefits for elected leaders.”

In Florida, Taking Two Years for Building Permits

These governments continue to point to housing shortages and greater demand. In Lake Worth, Fla., it recently declared a housing state of emergency, which was seen as a first step toward seeking to implement rent control.

Meanwhile, governments continue efforts to delay housing construction through regulation. A recent study by NMHC and the National Association of Home Builders found that regulations at all levels of government account for an average of 40% of multifamily development costs.

Florida, in turn, has some of its developers waiting as long as two years to receive building permits, according to the Florida Apartment Association.

A State-by-State Status Review

In Florida, Orange County’s County commissioners approved a resolution sending rent control to the ballot. If approved by voters, the resolution would cap rent increases in Orange County at 9.8 percent for one year.

Tampa and Saint Petersburg city councils both rejected proposals to put rent control on their November ballots.

In Nevada, the powerful Culinary Workers Union Local 226, vowed to continue pushing for enactment “and we expect a fight at the state level in 2023,” NMHC said.

In New York, the city of Kingston became the first upstate city to enact rent control. Kingston is located 90 miles north of New York City.

The policy extends to buildings with six or more units built prior to 1974, which covers about 1,200 units, according to local reporting.

In California, Richmond, just north of Oakland, the city council voted in favor of placing a rent control referendum on the November ballot.

“If passed, rent increases would be capped at 3 percent of a tenant’s existing rent or at 60 percent of the Consumer Price Index, whichever is lower,” NMHC reported.

Pasadena also will have a rent control referendum in November.

In Minnesota, St. Paul is considering changes to its rent control law established last year. A proposal introduced by a member of the city council would provide a 20-year exemption for new construction. Some federally subsidized housing also would be exempt from the law, NMHC reported.

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