February 21, 2022

As housing crisis worsens, Tampa protesters call for rent control

PHOTO BY DAVE DECKER
Photo by Dave Decker
Protesters gathered outside of Tampa City Hall last Friday to demand rent control in Tampa as rents skyrocket during an unbridled housing crisis.

Several members of the Tampa Tenants Union, along with supporters from the Party for Socialism and Liberation and the Democratic Socialists of America spoke about how the crisis is affecting renters in Tampa.

The protests occurred in anticipation of city council’s upcoming “rent stabilization workshop” scheduled for this Thursday, Feb. 24, at 9 a.m. The protesters were adamant that the city should pass rent control and nothing less.

Rent control would limit the amount that landlords can charge for rent, as opposed to having limitless rent prices, which has contributed to the skyrocketing rentals in the area. Currently, the average Tampa Bay renter spends about 42% of their salary on rent.
The city has argued that rent control would be difficult to traverse, because state law preempts municipalities from fixing prices on rents. But activists say there are loopholes, such as declaring a housing state of emergency. Several city council members have called the current rental situation a “crisis” as thousands have been evicted during the COVID-19 pandemic, but no housing emergency has yet been declared.

Just last week, St. Pete City Council skirted rent control by declining to declare a housing state of emergency; activists responded by protesting outside St. Pete City Hall.

The activists called on the community to show up to city hall on Thursday to have their voices and concerns heard.
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Outside Tampa City Hall, protesters demand 'rent control now'
Photo by Dave Decker
Outside Tampa City Hall, protesters demand 'rent control now'
Photo by Dave Decker
Outside Tampa City Hall, protesters demand 'rent control now'
Photo by Dave Decker
Outside Tampa City Hall, protesters demand 'rent control now'
Photo by Dave Decker
Outside Tampa City Hall, protesters demand 'rent control now'
Photo by Dave Decker

Join the Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Press Club

At a time when local-based reporting is critical, support from our readers is essential to our future.