Senator Gary Farmer (D-Lighthouse Point) and Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith (D-Orlando) today sent a joint letter to Governor Ron DeSantis demanding that he declare a state of emergency in Florida on housing affordability. Once this state of emergency has been declared, they are asking that the Governor direct Attorney General Ashley Moody to use her power to enact statutory price gouging consumer protections for Floridians subjected to unconscionable rent increases of more than 10% of the average rate in the last twelve months.
This letter was co-signed by two dozen Democratic legislators in the Senate and House. A full list of signatories and a copy of the letter can be found attached.
“While Governor DeSantis wages culture wars to advance his own political ambitions, everyday Floridians are struggling just to keep a roof over their heads,” said Senator Gary Farmer. “When rents are rising by more than 20% in communities across our state and families face losing their housing during the holiday season, it is clear that we have reached a crisis point that the Governor cannot continue to ignore. We are calling on Governor DeSantis to declare a state of emergency in order to crack down on landlords who are taking advantage of the pandemic to engage in price gouging and to ensure we are putting the freedom of our working families to have an affordable place to live first.”
“People in our community are hurting due to unconscionable rent hikes they can’t afford, but Governor DeSantis is too busy fighting ‘wokeness’ and running for president to address the real issues facing Floridians,” said Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith. “The simple fact is that more and more Floridians can’t afford Florida and it’s past time we recognize that access to affordable housing is an emergency that must be addressed. I am proud to stand with my Democratic colleagues and community advocates throughout the state who are demanding that this Governor give renters the consumer protections they deserve from predatory landlords and corporate rental companies who are using the pandemic to price gouge and take advantage of Floridians.”
“This is a critical first step. Right now people in my city are facing an unprecedented housing crisis after Tallahassee cut fifty percent of the state budget for housing assistance, and the Governor blames eviction protections for rent hikes? What kind of sense does that make?” askedCricket Logan, a wastewater mechanic and union member with the City of St. Petersburg. “We need our elected leaders to listen to our priorities.”
“The housing affordability crisis has taken many years to get into, and we cannot just sit around and wait many more years to get out of it,” said Austin Valle, Chapter Lead of Orlando YIMBY. “Every day, the burden of excessive rent is robbing Floridians of the financial stability they need to pay down debt, start businesses, form families, plan for the future, and live comfortable lives in our great state. The current situation is nothing short of a state of emergency.”