Tampa community demands a rent control ordinance
Tampa, FL – On Thursday, February 24, over 100 people mobilized to attend a Tampa city council meeting on rent stabilization. Over 50 community members spoke in support of the council declaring a housing state of emergency, which is legally required to pass a rent control ordinance in the state of Florida.
Despite the meeting turnout, the city council did not declare a housing state of emergency or pass a rent control ordinance. Council members claimed rent control would harm working people in Tampa despite the overwhelming testimony disproving this idea. The city of Tampa fears the cost of litigation from a rent control ordinance but ignored public testimony on how the housing crisis is harming communities economically.
In a concession to the community, the city council later passed an ordinance requiring landlords to provide six months' notice before raising rent. Another reason city council members argued against rent control was that the ordinance would only help a small number of Tampa renters. As an alternative, Tampa City Council is providing an additional $1 million in funding to a housing aid program, which is estimated to help 50 to 75 people.
Tampa's rent has increased by 30% during the pandemic, the largest increase in the country. Community members spoke of their experiences of rent increasing by hundreds of dollars and how many will become homeless. Many communities struggling during this crisis cannot rely on a housing program that many are ineligible for or wait months for a housing study to suggest non-rent control solutions.
A 65-year-old retiree and East Tampa native said, “I’m interested in seeing justice in general, for all people. Having affordable housing is a major step to seeing that happen and I’m willing to fight for it.” The people of Tampa will not wait to end the housing crisis. Organizers will continue to demand affordable housing for all.