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New Florida affordable housing bill bans cities from passing rent controls

The bill provides incentives for developers, enticing them to build in Florida
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Posted at 4:44 PM, Mar 29, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-29 19:57:47-04

NAPLES, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed an affordable housing bill aimed at enticing developers to build in Florida. However, critics say the bill won't help in the short term, and it'll hurt renters.

The bill creates tax exemptions for developments that set aside at least 70 units for affordable housing and would speed up permits and development orders for affordable housing projects.

"There's really now good financial incentives to increase the supply of housing," said Gov. Ron DeSantis.

However, some don't see it that way and want legislators to focus on what they believe is the biggest issue at hand.

"The unstable rents, that is one of the biggest crises we face," said Elizabeth Radi, who's part of the Collier County Tenants Union.

The governor signed the bill in Naples, the district Sen. Kathleen Passidomo represents, who also sponsored the bill.

New Florida affordable housing bill bans cities from passing rent controls

"It was a problem then and it's a problem today," she said.

Other state leaders, including Florida House Speaker Paul Renner, shared different views of the state's response.

"In Florida, we don't wait around to fix problems. We fix them immediately," Renner said.

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Here are a few key points in the bill:

  • Out of $711 million in housing projects, $259 million will go to an apartment incentive loan for workforce housing developers.
  • The bill requires cities and counties to approve certain multi-family developments. If it's in an area already zoned for businesses or mixed-use, and it'll have at least 40 affordable housing units, it has to be approved.
  • The bill prevents municipalities from enacting rent controls

Radi says the bill doesn't benefit everyone.
"I think it's going to hurt the actual tenants," she said. "Sometimes you can get an increase, double your amount for your rent, and there's no explanation for it."

Radi says though it could help in the long run, we won't feel the impact for the next five to 10 years.

"Places aren't built overnight," she said. "Developers don't just come in and put 10,000 affordable housing units in overnight. That's not going to happen."

The bill is set to take effect in July.