Orange County commissioners to discuss rent control

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Rent in Orange County is just too high. That’s why one commissioner said it’s time to bring in rent control.


The idea will come up during the county commission meeting on Tuesday.

It would ultimately be up to voters to decide if rent control is put in place in Orange County.

But first, county commissioners must decide whether there is a housing emergency to begin with.

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In Florida, rent control is illegal unless leaders declare a housing emergency.

Orange County Commissioner Emily Bonilla said it’s time to make that happen.

“If my mortgage had gone up by $400 I would be in a pickle,” Bonilla said.

Bonilla is leading a group that wants to put a cap on how much a landlord can increase rent.

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If she has her way, rent control would cap increases at 5% for a year for landlords who own more than four units, a fraction of the 30% of rents rose in 2021.

Bonilla’s team published an 18-page report on the rising rent costs and discovered that the average service worker doesn’t make enough to live on their own.

Opposition is already growing from landlords who call it a bandage that won’t survive a court challenge.

“The law is on the side of the landlord in this situation. I really think they should look at other alternatives like low-income housing,” Central Florida Real Estate Attorney Mark Lippman said.

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Also, state law prevents rent control on so-called luxury housing.

According to the law, that’s any buildings with an average unit price of $1,200 or more, which includes most units these days.

Supporters of the plan point to the differences between luxury downtown apartments and a complex of overpriced buildings, and because the law was written in the 70s, they say no apartments built after that should be included.

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Q Mccray

Q McCray, WFTV.com

Q McCray is an award-winning general assignment reporter.