Tampa City Council shoots down tenant’s bill of rights, income anti-discrimination in split vote amid housing crisis
Image via AP.

housing eviction
The ordinance had passed its first reading 6-1.

The Tampa City Council reversed course Thursday and shot down a proposal to include a tenant’s bill of rights and income anti-discrimination language in the city’s housing laws.

The Council voted 4-2 to stop the measure. Council members Joe Citro, John Dingfelder, Bill Carlson and Charlie Miranda voted no, with Luis Viera absent. An initial reading of the ordinance was passed last month with near unanimous support. Only Miranda dissented then, with Dingfelder a near no vote as well.

Dingfelder said he put a lot of thought into the ordinance and couldn’t support it. Dingfelder had been concerned implementation of the ordinance could overburden city departments that would have to enforce it. He also worried the anti-discrimination aspect of the ordinance would force unwitting landlords into the Section 8 program.

“I think even if we adopt it and we say that that’s the case, it’s a fiction,” Dingfelder said. “And I don’t like to operate in a fictional world.”

Miranda, the lone no vote during the last meeting, said he would’ve liked to support the measure but believes the government needs to distance itself from connection to market rates in any items.

“I wish I could vote yes,” Miranda said. “But I can’t control the price of eggs, the price of milk. Presidents get blamed and sometimes lose a presidency because they give the bad (impression) that they control the price of gasoline. They do not. No matter if you’re Republican, Democrat or independent, you can’t control the price of gasoline.”

The ordinance would’ve mandated that landlords provide tenants with a “notice of rights” related to housing. It would also have mandated landlords accept Section 8 vouchers and other government assistance as part of a prospective tenant’s income.

The ordinance mirrored one already passed into law for unincorporated areas of Hillsborough County. And as affordable housing inventory remains low and rental prices in Tampa rise to among the highest rates in the country, housing advocates are concerned Tampa is leaving its residents with little protection. Council Chair Orlando Gudes even described Tampa’s housing situation as an “emergency crisis.”

“I’m alarmed at the extent of concern Councilman Dingfelder has for the well-being of landlords, while (he’s) seemingly able to brush aside the struggles that tenants are going through,” said Sam Ronen of Florida for Change.

“I certainly don’t appreciate Councilman Miranda’s humor on the matter. In a housing crisis, good enough isn’t good enough. I have trouble believing that anyone struggling in Tampa right now, reading headlines about our record-setting rent prices and inflation can stomach their council members brushing the crisis off as not enough of a concern to merit serious structural changes in Tampa. The people deserve better.”

Daniel Figueroa IV

Bronx, NY —> St. Pete, Fla. Just your friendly, neighborhood journo junkie with a penchant for motorcycles and Star Wars. Daniel has spent the last decade covering Tampa Bay and Florida for the Ledger of Lakeland, Tampa Bay Times, and WMNF. You can reach Daniel Figueroa IV at [email protected]


One comment

  • N. Piroit

    February 6, 2022 at 7:49 am

    My rent went up $500 overnight and legislators are JOKING about this???
    Be taking a HARD look at definitely voting them OUT.

Comments are closed.


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