FLORIDA — Lawmakers have introduced a harmful bill that would roll back local housing protections that residents have fought hard to win. The introduction of HB 1417 will eliminate Florida’s Tenant Bills of Rights and would prohibit local laws protecting tenants from predatory landlords; excessive fines; fees; requiring higher deposits causing discriminatory housing; and 60-day notice of changes to rent. Because local governments would not have the power to respond to the needs of local communities, the proposed bill would cause increasing homelessness and potentially place vulnerable populations in unsafe living environments. In response to this proposed legislation, community activists and organizers serving historically marginalized groups across the state shared the following statements: “HB 1417 would take power away from communities by making it illegal for cities and counties to hold bad landlords accountable,” says Cythia Laurent, Housing Organizer for Florida Rising. “It is another direct attack on democracy and the countless hours that community members spent voicing their extremely vulnerable housing experiences to their elected officials. This bill destroys the hope of communities who finally began to believe in the political process again and will create greater apathy and distaste for politics.”

Patricia Fleurinord, Criminal Systems Reform Campaigner states:” Returning Citizens are already discriminated against on every angle, and passing this Bill will make it even harder for Returning Citizens to find housing because it removes local protections that have benefited our community. Without housing it makes it so much harder to maintain employment, healthcare, and so many other necessities that will allow us to be productive members in a society that we have the right to live in.”

“Florida’s housing emergency is forcing people into displacement. They are moving into older, low-income rental units that are already in disarray, and that bad landlords do not upkeep properly,” explains MacKenzie Marcelin, Climate Justice Manager. “By taking away the local government’s ability to regulate bad landlords, we would be leaving marginalized communities in more vulnerable rental units and dealing with leaking roofs, mold, and other toxic issues. Especially as hurricanes and natural disasters increase we risk leaving the already vulnerable communities even more.”

Fla.’s Republican leadership continues to show that they have no interest in the future of the diverse population that once made Fla. a desirable place to live. Florida Rising will continue speaking on behalf of all marginalized communities and holding local and state representatives accountable while in office. Join Florida Rising every Wednesday on Wake-Up Wednesdays! in-person or online as we sound the alarm on Governor Desantis and his racists practices. Visit www.floridarising.org for more information.