Despite a Florida appeals court ruling the against ordinance, Orange County voters will still see a proposed rent control measure on their ballot this November.
The would-be regulation was narrowly approved as a ballot measure by the Orange County commission earlier this year. It proposes a rent cap based on the year’s most recent percentage changes in the Consumer Price Index, which measures the change in the cost of goods and services over time.
The Florida Fifth District Court of Appeals overturned a prior ruling from an Orange County judge allowing the ordinance to remain on the ballot. The appellate court’s Oct. 27 decision agreed with arguments made by Florida Realtors and the Florida Apartment Association and against the ordinance. Opponents of the ordinance fear it may slow new development in the area. The court said the ordinance was “unconstitutional” with a “misleading” ballot summary.
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings will file for a re-hearing, according to Orlando Business Journal. The Orange County Supervisor of Elections does not plan to reprint the ballots at this time, which still include the ordinance as a portion of the voting.
Labor unions and rent advocacy groups have expressed distaste in the way Florida Realtors has handled the ordinance’s removal, claiming that they sent out “deceptive” campaign mail to convince voters to say no to the ordinance. Florida Rising, a social justice group, is fighting in support of the ordinance, which is proposed at a time where rent is increasing for Orange County residents in a historically drastic way. Orlando’s current median rent is $1,427 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,683 for a two-bedroom unit, according to Apartment List.
Florida statutes currently do not allow rent caps unless the circumstances are considered to be an emergency. Some Orlando legislators have argued that the housing situation in Florida is just that. Even so, the control on rent can only last up to a year.