Housing crisis

As housing crisis deepens, Tampa protesters call for rent control | Tampa

Protesters gathered outside Tampa City Hall last Friday to demand rent control in Tampa as rents soar during an unbridled housing crisis.

Several members of the Tampa Tenants Union, as well as supporters of the Party for Socialism and Liberation and the Democratic Socialists of America, spoke about how the crisis is affecting tenants in Tampa.

The protests were held ahead of the city council’s upcoming “rent stabilization workshop” scheduled for this Thursday, February 24, at 9 a.m. The protesters were adamant that the city should embrace rent control and nothing less.

Rent control would limit the amount landlords can charge for rent, instead of having unlimited rental prices, which has contributed to skyrocketing rents in the area. Currently, the average tenant in Tampa Bay spends about 42% of their salary on rent.

The city argued that rent control would be difficult to get past because state law prevents municipalities from setting rent prices. But activists say there are loopholes, such as declaring a housing emergency. Several city council members have called the current rental situation a “crisis” as thousands of people have been evicted during the COVID-19 pandemic, but no housing emergency has yet been declared.

Just last week, St. Pete City Council circumvented rent control by refusing to declare a housing emergency; activists responded by demonstrating outside St. Pete’s City Hall.

Activists called on the community to come to City Hall on Thursday to make their voices and concerns heard.