DeSantis Signs Bill to Let Landlords Charge Unlimited, Non-Refundable Fees

The invoice is aimed toward making “Florida right into a money cow” for company landlords, one housing advocate mentioned.

Far proper Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has signed an industry-backed invoice that can permit Florida landlords to cost renters a month-to-month nonrefundable charge in lieu of a deposit that opponents of the invoice say is predatory and meant to use renters.

The invoice, H.B. 133, locations no cap on the charge — which critics have in contrast to junk fees — that means that landlords might cost as a lot as they select.

Although tenants technically have the choice between the charge and a deposit, some Democrats within the Florida legislature have identified that, for many people who can’t afford an upfront deposit, which is usually required with the primary month’s lease, it might not really feel like a alternative. On the identical time, nevertheless, deposits are sometimes refundable on the finish of a lease, whereas renters would not be able to recoup the charge.

On the identical time, renters would stay on the hook for paying for repairs to the property on prime of the month-to-month charge.

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The invoice intently resembles a invoice drafted by company lobbyists, including lobbyists for LeaseLock, a California firm backing similar legislation in different states. It was handed by the state legislature in April, with Republicans and a few Democrats in help.

The Florida legislature has additionally handed a lot of different anti-renter payments this session. One invoice, signed by DeSantis in March, bans native governments from implementing lease management initiatives and provides tax breaks to builders who put aside reasonably priced housing items in developments.

One other invoice, H.B. 1417, would forbid native governments from implementing protections for renters that go beyond state law. This invoice has not but been signed by DeSantis.

Housing rights and progressive teams have raised considerations about H.B. 1417 and H.B. 133, saying that they’d solely worsen the state’s housing crisis and provides energy and cash to company landlords, straight out of the general public’s pockets.

A number of advocacy teams, together with representatives from labor unions just like the Florida AFL-CIO or teams just like the Florida ACLU, sent letters to DeSantis final month urging him to veto each payments. H.B. 1417 “is ripe for abuse” by firms from exterior of Florida and is supposed to kill renters’ efforts to prepare options round housing, the teams wrote. “It’s excessive, pointless, and harmful,” they added.

Of their letter about H.B. 133, the teams wrote that charging charges isn’t an answer to serving to renters who can’t afford to pay an upfront deposit, and can solely place them additional into monetary insecurity. They recommend that, on the very least, the charge be paid right into a deposit that might be returned on the finish of the lease.

“What it very a lot seems like is company greed. It seems like turning the state of Florida right into a money cow for firms, for company landlords,” Sheena Rolle, senior director of technique for letter signatory Florida Rising, told Click Orlando.

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