Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava held a ceremonial bill signing Wednesday for the "Tenant's Bill of Rights," which will add more legal protections for renters in the county.
The ordinance, which was approved unanimously by county commissioners last week, formalizes the creation of a new Office of Housing Advocacy.
Tenants will now be able to avoid eviction if they use rent money to pay for repairs landlords have been neglecting. Landlords must also provide the new bill of rights to tenants and details on Florida law banning landlords from shutting off utilities for non-payment of rent. Landlords will also need to notify their tenants if the building changes owners and warn them if the building is unsafe.
"If you are living in a substandard unit, if you need to make necessary repairs this will guarantee that you have the ability to make those repairs, document them and reduce your rent accordingly," Levine Cava said at the ceremony.
The ordinance does not lower rents or prevent rent increases.
Real estate groups opposed the measure, believing it could be used by tenants to cheat out on paying rent. They also opposed an item in the law banning landlords from asking about a tenant’s prior evictions. Landlord groups worry that could jeopardize the safety of other residents.
The move comes amid rising rents in South Florida coupled with inflation and increased costs for gas, groceries and other items.
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