Orange County Commissioners will appeal a court decision that blocked a rent stabilization ordinance that would limit rent increases at multi-unit apartments for one year. In the November elections, nearly 60% of county voters approved local rent stabilization.
Housing advocates with Central Florida Jobs with Justice, Florida Rising, Unite Here 737, Hope Community Center, Hablamos Espanol Florida in Orange County celebrated the overwhelming support of the ballot measure, but it didn’t make a difference due to the court ruling blocking the ordinance. Florida Realtors and the Florida Apartment Association were against the effort, saying it would hurt affordable housing and not help the local housing crisis in Orlando.
Many of the housing justice advocates attended the recent Orange County Commission meeting to hear firsthand whether the commission will appeal to the Florida Supreme Court the decision to not count rent stabilization votes.
“With over 382,306 votes, and 58.83% of voters agreeing that rent is too high in Orange County, and the Orange County Commission must fight for our votes, our voices and our basic right to housing,” said Cynthia Laurent, housing justice campaign manager with Florida Rising. “Due to repeated corporate interference, the community’s needs for safe, affordable and accessible housing have gone unaddressed. Housing justice is a right, and Orange County commissioners must keep this issue at the forefront by fighting in the courts for those who cannot fight for themselves.”
The Orange County Commission voted 5 to 2 to pursue the appeal. District 2 Commissioner Christine Moore and District 6 Commissioner Victoria P. Siplin voted against. Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, who was against putting the item on the ballot, now joined Commissioners Nicole Wilson, Mayra Uribe, Maribel Gomez Cordero, and Emily Bonilla in pushing for an appeal.
Mayor Demings was pushing a transportation sales tax initiative to fund road construction, SunRail and Lynx, but that ballot measure overwhelmingly failed.