Orange County commissioners vote to appeal ruling against rent-stabilization ordinance

Orange County Rent Control Ordinance is not dead … yet - Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Orange County Rent Control Ordinance is not dead … yet

Orange County commissioners, meeting Thursday, voted to appeal a ruling blocking a recently-passed rent control ordinance.

The Board of County Commissioners voted 5-2 in favor of the appeal, with Mayor Jerry Demings — previously not in favor of the measure — joining with the majority in voting "yes."

With this vote, the county's lawyers will file a brief appealing a Nov. 3 decision by an Orange County judge that granted a temporary injunction against the ordinance. This injunction has prevented the Supervisor of Elections from certifying the measure. The dispute will now go to the Florida Supreme Court.

The rent-control ordinance seeks to cap rents in Orange County for one year on just over 100,000 unites in the county.  The Florida Association of Realtors and Florida Apartment Association had earlier sued Orange County to block the rent control ordinance from even being on the ballot.

And yet, the ordinance  was already on printed ballots and a clear majority (59%) of Orange County residents voted in favor of it on Election Day, despite various landlord and realtor groups dumping truckloads of money into a campaign against it. Yet, the votes could not be certified because of the judge's ruling. 

The County Commission's vote today will continue the legal battles over the ordinance, despite long odds in the state Supreme Court.

The public comment portion of the meeting saw impassioned support for rent stabilization in the County.  "This is what the community wants," said Orange County resident Christopher Fern, "and the community wants you to keep fighting for it."

Orlando has seen some of the worst increases in housing costs in the country, even as the rest of the nation experiences a crisis in the cost of homes.

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