Legislature locks out bills to cap rent increases, require AC in apartments
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 11/8/23-Sen. Rosalind Osgood, D-Tamarac, during session, Wednesday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

‘We need to find a happy medium.’

Twin bills aimed at giving renters a leg up in an increasingly landlord-friendly environment got locked out of the legislative process this year.

As written, the measures (SB 64, HB 31) would have restricted rent hikes to once a year and capped the annual increase at 30% of the existing rate.

The bills would also have added air conditioning units to the list of things landlords must provide to tenants.

No such obligation currently exists in state statutes despite past efforts to mandate the “no-brainer” provision; however, there is a requirement that landlords provide renters with heat during winter.

Tamarac Sen. Rosalind Osgood and Palm Beach Rep. Jervonte “Tae” Edmonds, both Democrats, sponsored the bills, which went unheard in both chambers of the Legislature.

Osgood told Florida Politics last year that the changes the legislation proposed were “reasonable” and that lawmakers need to look at “housing as a human right.”

“As legislators, we need to find a happy medium,” she said. “If property owners continue to raise prices of rent and people can’t afford it, it’s going to create more homelessness.”

The limits the bills propose would not apply to single-family homes, duplexes or in cases where no tenant from when the landlord established the initial rent remains in lawful possession of the unit. Rent may be increased by more than 30%, however, if the landlord’s expenses due to repairs, fees, insurance adjustments or property taxes exceed 30% of the current rent.

Tenants would be able to delay their eviction by 15 days if they pay an unspecified portion of their past-due rent. After that grace period, the landlord could terminate the rental agreement or bring a cause of action for possession of the unit.

Landlords today can begin evictions after a three-day notice when rent is three days late.

Rents rose in the Sunshine State before the pandemic, but they’ve soared since. A Florida TaxWatch study found rental prices shot up by 36% between January 2020 and December 2022. In 2021 alone, the average rate statewide grew 29% from $1,266 to $1,635 monthly. In Miami-Dade, the county with the highest cost of living, the average rent swelled from about $1,700 in March 2020 to more than $2,400 in July 2023 — a 41% increase.

Florida law does not impose limits on how much a landlord can increase rent or the frequency at which they can do so. Through last year, the state also mostly prohibited local governments from imposing price controls on lawful businesses that are not under government contract. That included mandated rent controls.

Numerous Democratic attempts to nix or circumvent the ban have failed. In 2022, Kissimmee Sen. Vic Torres and Orlando Rep. Anna Eskamani filed twin bills (SB 580HB 6017) to delete the prohibitive statute. Miami Gardens Sen. Shevrin Jones and former Rep. Travaris McCurdy of Orlando carried related measures (SB 1620HB 1587) that would have created additional protections for tenants from rent increases and evictions.

During the 2023 Session, Jones and Miami Rep. Ashley Gantt also filed bills (SB 1698, HB 1261) to bar landlords of senior communities from raising rents beyond 12% in a five-year period. All the bills died unheard.

That’s not to say the Legislature hasn’t passed some revisions to state rent rules. Republicans pushed through one measure (HB 1417), sponsored Sens. Jay Trumbull and Reps. Tiffany Esposito and Lawrence McClure, extending the state government’s preemption on local oversight of tenant screenings, security deposits and rental agreement fees, among other things.

The bill affected approximately 1.5 million households in Florida’s seven largest counties — more than half the total number of renting households statewide, according to the Shimberg Center for Housing Studies at the University of Florida.

The Legislature last year also eliminated the one remaining exception to the state’s proscription on local rent ordinance, which cities and counties were allowed to impose when “necessary and proper” to eliminate a “housing emergency.”

That carve-out disappeared in February through the Live Local Act, a package sponsored by Sen. Alexis Calatayud and Reps. Demi Busatta Cabrera and Vicki Lopez that gave real estate developers broad incentives to build more affordable housing units.

The measure, which lawmakers of both parties supported and Gov. Ron DeSantis signed in March, included a ban on rent controls that effectively gutted several local tenant bills of rights, including those in OrangeMiami-Dade and Broward counties.

A Florida TaxWatch analysis of residential rates found Sunshine State rent dipped slightly in the past year.

This month, lawmakers approved an update to the Live Local Act that, among other things, included more tax breaks and incentives for developers, clearer details for how some projects should rise, additional preemptions on local development controls and exceptions for Monroe County.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • Earl Pitts "Sage Political Expert Emeritas" American

    March 11, 2024 at 6:25 pm

    Good evening Sage Patriots,
    Thank you Sage Patriots,
    Earl Pitts “Sage Economist” American

    • Another incompetent lawyer at work; you all lose always

      March 11, 2024 at 9:38 pm

      Gas is $1,39 less than last March.

      BIDENOMICS Works

  • Another incompetent lawyer at work; you all lose always

    March 11, 2024 at 9:37 pm

    GAY GAY 🌈🏳️‍🌈🌈🏳️‍🌈🌈🏳️‍🌈🌈🏳️‍🌈🌈🏳️‍🌈🌈
    Students and teachers will be able to speak freely about sexual orientation and gender identity in Florida classrooms, provided it’s not part of instruction, under a settlement reached Monday between Florida education officials and civil rights attorneys who had challenged a state law which critics dubbed “don’t say gay”.

    The settlement clarifies what is allowed in Florida classrooms following passage two years ago of the law prohibiting instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in early grades. Opponents said the law had created confusion about whether teachers could identity themselves LGBTQ+ or if they even could have rainbow stickers in classrooms.

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn