Breaking News
More () »

Tampa City Council considering asking voters to declare housing emergency in November

Local leaders inched closer Thursday to putting a measure on the ballot.

TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa leaders expressed support Thursday for asking the public whether a housing emergency should be declared in the city.

Councilmembers voted 6-1 to ask city attorneys to draft an ordinance that would add a ballot measure for voters to consider in November. If a housing emergency were declared, Tampa City Council would plan to discuss rent control options.

The first reading will be held in August.

Tampa City Councilman Orlando Gudes first proposed the ordinance. He said people are hurting and need the city's help.

"When I go to a Popeyes like yesterday, the whole crew at Popeyes was talking about their apartment complex that...has just raised their rent. And these people are gonna be out," Gudes said.

Tampa City Councilman Bill Carlson (District 4) was the lone vote against drafting the ordinance. He expressed fears that landlords might double or triple rent before a rent control measure took effect, which could displace thousands of the same people the city hopes to help. 

"I don't believe we should pass something that will make the problem worse and hurt people when we should be passing initiatives to help people," Carlson said during Thursday's meeting.

Rather than using Tampa as a guinea pig, Carlson said city leaders should push for lawmakers in Tallahassee to examine ways to lower rent at the state level.

Supporters of declaring a localized housing emergency say Tampa was already experiencing a housing crisis prior to the pandemic, which only exacerbated it. According to the council, 10,000 eviction notices were filed in Hillsborough County alone between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022.

City leaders in support of local rent control point to rent stabilization measures in California, where some places have limited annual rent hikes to 5-10 percent. In Tampa, supporters would like to see yearly rent increases limited to about 5 percent.

Before You Leave, Check This Out