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Osceola County delays decision on tenant bill of rights

Osceola County commissioners met for a workshop meeting on Monday.
Joe Byrnes
Osceola County commissioners met for a workshop meeting on Monday.

Osceola County commissioners agreed Monday put off for several months any decision on a tenant bill of rights.

Commissioner Brandon Arrington is behind the effort to bring a tenant bill of rights to the county.

The proposal includes a notice of rights, bans discrimination based on source of income, and requires written notices for late fees and a 60-day notice for rent increases over 5%.

"We've really looked at some of the more basic, legally defensible principles that other communities have and are trying to implement those here," Arrington said after the workshop meeting.

And after Hurricane Ian caught many Osceola County renters by surprise, landlords would have to disclose prior flooding.

Two of the five commissioners -- Ricky Booth and Cheryl Grieb -- voiced concerns or opposition to the bill of rights ordinance.

Arrington put it off until the third quarter, saying groups in support of the tenant bill of rights have asked for more time to provide input.

Cynthia Laurent of Florida Rising said her group, which advocates for economic and racial justice, would like to hold a town hall. She points to the many Osceola renters who work in the tourism industry.

She said, "Not only is it hard for them to find housing but when they do find housing that's within their affordability oftentimes they deal with issues with landlords, including habitability, so we just want to make sure that there's a balance and there are protections for those renters here."

Laurent hopes for a more robust set of protections for renters.

Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.
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