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In the Midst of a Housing Emergency, Judge Permits Rent Stabilization Measure to Go on the Ballot

Joint Statement from Central Florida Jobs with Justice, Florida Rising, Hablamos Español Florida, 1199 SEIU and UNITE HERE 737

ORLANDO, Fla. – Today, an Orange County judge sided with Florida families in allowing a rent stabilization measure to proceed to the Nov. ballot. Advocates celebrated the decision understanding that all people deserve access to safe, affordable housing, and that housing is an inherent right. Given that the judge rejected the maneuvers of the state’s landlord lobbyists, the Florida Apartment Association and Florida Realtors, Orange County voters will now have a democratic process for considering a one-year rent stabilization measure sent to the ballot by the Orange County Commission in Aug. 2022. 

“In the richest country in the world, no one should fear being unhoused,” said Bishop David Maldonado from Hablamos Español. “But far too many families struggle to afford a home given price increases and a housing lobby more committed to profits than people. We’ve said all along that the ‘rent was too damn high,’ and it’s time for the people to do something about it.”

The judge blocked the injunction by lobbyists, the Florida Apartment Association and Florida Realtors, and instead cleared the way for voters to decide, in a democratic process, the fate of the rent stabilization measure. 

“The judge’s decision, which came on International Democracy Day, will clear the path for Floridians to participate in our nation’s democracy, while protecting the fundamental right to fair housing in our community,” said Coy Jones, Florida Political Director of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, the state’s largest union of healthcare workers. “This latest development was made possible via years of organizing by grassroots groups who know that corporations want to pick our elected officials, prevent our votes from being counted and preempt impacted persons from being heard in court. But organized communities are rising up and saying, ‘not on my watch.’”

“It’s unacceptable that this hearing would proceed without reasonable notice to the public, but democracy won out anyway” said Sheena Rolle, Senior Director of Strategy for Florida Rising. “We’re thrilled that the judge determined that voters should have an opportunity to determine whether rent stabilization will be on the Nov. 2022 ballot. The judge paved the way to challenge landlords who prioritize their profits over the lives of Orange County residents. Voters’ ability to participate in our nation’s democracy should not be up for debate.”