ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — In St. Petersburg, city leaders will remain responsible for holding landlords accountable, as opposed to county leaders.
On Thursday, St. Petersburg City Council voted unanimously to keep its Tenants Bill of Rights. The latter would have been to adopt the Pinellas County Bill of Rights, which passed back in August and arguably helps protect renters a little further.
The St. Pete Tenants Union expressed disappointment in the city council's decision to not strengthen their version of the Tenants Bill of Rights to better match protections offered in the county's version.
"I'm disappointed because we brought to them last week some changes that we needed to see. So we're certainly disappointed we did get a concession," St. Petersburg Tenants Union organizer William Kilgore told 10 Tampa Bay.
Speaking to City Council on Thursday, Kilgore said he would continue to pressure for added protections.
"We're going to keep educating people; we're going to keep the pressure on," Kilgore said. "We want to see these other things move forward and get it matched to the county here. We want to see it and we're going to make sure it happens."
On Thursday, St. Pete City Council also voted to amend its Tenants Bill of Rights to further prevent income discrimination.
Previously, renters had to verify their income is three times their rent in order to be approved, including those who receive rental assistance and are only responsible for a portion of it.
Now, renters only have to show proof of income for the rental amount they're responsible for.
"These voucher holders, these are some of the most marginalized members of the community," Kilgore said. "These people deserve, you know, fair, equal treatment, not being discriminated against."
For now, it appears St. Petersburg is the only municipality in Pinellas County to opt out of the county's tenants' bill of rights.
The Pinellas County Tenants Bill of Rights orders landlords to give 60 days' notice when raising rent by more than 5 percent in an annual lease renewal.
To see more about the Pinellas County Tenants Bill of Rights, click here.
For more on St. Petersburg's Tenants Bill of Rights, click here.