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'Spread the word': Collier County housing committee adjusts rental ordinance proposal

Posted at 4:26 PM, May 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-07 09:31:19-04

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. — The Collier County Affordable Housing Advisory Committee is attempting to echo what other areas are doing to curb the housing crisis. On Monday, they discussed a change to a proposed rental ordinance.

It was voted down by commissioners a week ago. The proposal required landlords to notify tenants two months in advance if the rent was going up more than five-percent. In a 3-2 vote, commissioners said no.

"It didn’t do, in my opinion, enough," said county commissioner Andy Solis.

In that same meeting, he suggested adding a line in the ordinance. Landlords would have to tell tenants there's a county rental assistance program available to help pay rent. Despite the suggestion, the proposal was not amended.

According to Committee Chairman Joe Trachtenberg, Commissioner Rick LoCastro called for an emergency committee meeting to discuss what can be done. Trachtenberg says LoCastro did not show up and has not returned our request asking why.

"So what we proposed to do today in the revision to the ordinance, is to add that sentence on," Trachtenberg said.

That sentence is what Solis suggested: telling people there's help out there through the county program. The problem is many people don't know about it. As of last week, only about 500 people applied.

"What we really want to do is spread the word," Trachtenberg said. "This has nothing to do with solving the affordable housing problem. This only helps people who are being kicked out of their apartments."

The message — there's $6 million in federal money available for people struggling to pay rent. If the money isn't used by September, it goes back to the government.

Trachtenberrg says he characterizes the ordinance as "common decency."

"The ball is very much in the commissioner’s court," he said.

The next step in this process is to bring the ordinance forward again at the next commissioner's meeting on May 24. If you're looking to apply for rental assistance, click here.

The City of Naples is attempting to do a similar ordinance, without the language regarding the rental relief. City Council will meet on May 18 and potentially approve the 60-day tenant notice ordinance.