The Florida House Judiciary Committee today will hear HB 133, legislation to allow landlords to charge tenants perpetual junk fees in lieu of paying a security deposit.
While similar legislation passed the Florida House last year but died in the Senate in the face of passionate opposition from a coalition of renters, tenant lawyers, and affordable housing advocates, the bill has been fast-tracked this session with today being the last chance for the public to make their voices heard during the committee process.
Under this bill, renters would be charged a new limitless and perpetual fee as part of their lease instead ofa refundable security deposit. There is no cap on the amount of the fee, the period of time for which it could be charged, or guarantees that failure to pay the fee will not result in eviction. Additionally, tenants would be offered no protection against potential litigation from the company used by the landlord for damages, a process known as a subrogation claim.
As House Democrats prepare to fight on behalf of tenants, Judiciary Committee members Representative LaVon Bracy Davis (D- Orlando) and Representative Yvonne Hinson (D- Gainesville) offer the following statements:
“Tenants in my district are asking me how they deal with an overly expensive process when applying for housing that seems full of surprise fees and hidden costs,” said Representative LaVon Bracy Davis. “The last thing we should be doing is allowing corporate landlords to charge another fee, this time with no cap on cost or when it ends, while we are in the midst of a housing affordability crisis. As rents continue to skyrocket across Central Florida, I will work with anyone who can bring me a real plan to help get folks into housing but this plan simply does not increase that access for the people who are most in need of help.”
“Throughout Florida, workers, seniors on fixed incomes, and students are struggling hard enough topay the rent as it is and saddling them with another fee is just adding insult to injury,” stated Representative Yvonne Hinson. “Adding another pointless fee to people already strapped for cash in our state’s affordability crisis is unacceptable. We should be fighting to lower costs for tenants, working to protect them from predatory practices like perpetual fees, and advancing real solutions rather than passing what out-of-state corporations think is best for our residents.”