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Tampa City Council to consider Gainesville's rental housing ordinance

Councilors are looking for ideas that can be implemented immediately to help those struggling to find affordable housing.

TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa City Council is asking you for answers Thursday on how to help with affordable housing.

Dozens of people with the group, Florida Rising, spoke about their firsthand accounts of rising rent costs. 

"My social security and rent don't compute to the three times that you need to qualify for any place else," Barbara Van Airsdale, a Tampa resident said. "I've owned my own homes my whole life. I'm renting again. And I'm at the mercy of landlords that don't care."

After listening to hours of comments, the council voted to take a note from Gainesville's book. The city of Gainesville has a Rental Housing Ordinance that has been in effect since September of 2020. 

It requires landlords to pay an annual fee of $122. The ordinance requires landlords to meet living standards, provide property maintenance and pass inspections. The ordinance reads, in part, that its goal is "to eliminate substandard residential rental units by creating a permit and inspection program that requires all regulated residential rental units within the city to meet minimum property maintenance and energy efficiency standards."

The city administrator on economic development will provide a report on how this program could be implemented in Tampa and if modifications would be needed to be made. 

"It's a registry that every landlord has to pay a certain amount of money into a fund every year," City Councilor Lynn Hurtak said. "And that funds make sure landlords are doing what they're supposed to be doing."

The motion for a report on Gainesville's ordinance passed unanimously. 

Councilors also voted unanimously on a motion asking staff to report back on creating a tenant advocacy program. 

Both reports will be presented to council on June 16. 

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