The lack of affordable housing in South Florida is a genuine crisis. There’s no easy way to fix it, but Miami-Dade County commissioners took some action Tuesday as demonstrators rallied outside the county administration building.
They unanimously passed an ordinance requiring landlords to give tenants 60 days' notice if they raise rents more than 5%.
The demonstrators were asking for a transformational plan to tackle the issue.
“Leasing is extremely difficult, it’s expensive and landlords are now just randomly just raising rates,” said Duane Thwaitis, who came to the demonstration and the commission meeting.
The protesters got an incremental step rather than a cure, even though the mayor and every other elected leader acknowledge the struggle is real for tens of thousands of people.
“I am myself terrified of the problem that we have, the housing prices are too damn high and we’re losing workers, we’re losing families who can’t afford to live here,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
The ordinance also requires landlords to give tenants 60 days' notice of eviction, even if the tenant is on a month-by-month rental agreement.
The ordinance was the idea of Commissioner Eileen Higgins.
“The phone is literally ringing off the hook every day in our office with people who have had their rent increase to scandalous levels with literally weeks or days of notice,” Higgins said.
“This provides a little cushion, it’s totally shocking what’s going on,” said Levine Cava, standing next to Higgins in a news conference.
“There’s some folks are saying maybe this is not a solution, this is one of many solutions because if people’s rents are going up, they need time to plan, they need time to find an apartment,” added Sandra Denis, executive director of the Miami Workers Center.
Denis said the new, county-wide law will decrease homelessness. Levine Cava said the county will build 14,000 affordable housing units this year as it continues to fight the problem.