Orange County temporarily ends rental assistance program

ORLANDO, Fla. — As rent continues to increase in the Orlando area, the Orange County Emergency Rental Assistance is ending, at least for now.

County officials said they plan to bring a second part of the program back this fall. But that doesn’t help people who say they are on the brink of losing their homes now.


What You Need To Know

  • The rent index rose 0.8% over the month, which is the largest monthly increase since April 1986
  • An Orlando real estate expert said corporate investors are partly why we’re seeing both housing and rental rates increase
  • A public hearing is set for July 26 where residents can weigh in on Orange County’s rent stabilization ordinance

Eric Gosnay is used to rent increases — usually it’s $100 to $200, but now he is seeing a $400 increase per month, something he says is no longer workable.

University of Central Florida senior, Eric Gosnay, is a lifelong Central Florida resident. He grew up in St. Cloud, now lives in Avalon Park, a place he’s called home for four years.

But like most of Central Florida, he’s feeling the spike in rent.

“We always get our rent increase,” he said. “I expect that, but it’s usually pretty gradual.”

Now the Florida local is living a different story.

“The last round we got it was a significant jump,” said Gosnay.

Four years ago, his 1-bedroom was a little over $1,000 a month —now it’s more than $1,400.

If he renews his lease again, the rent will jump to nearly $1,800.

“Sure, we’re probably one of the more expensive areas to live in, at least it’s gonna be higher, but it’s not proportional anymore,” said Gosnay.

Looking around, experts say the same thing is happening in the rest of the region. In fact, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rent index rose 0.8% over the month, which is the largest monthly increase since April 1986.

John Chin has been in real estate for decades. Now he trains other Central Florida agents to expand their knowledge on everything investment-related.

He said corporate investors are partly why the area is seeing both housing and rental rates increase.

“For the first time since 2008 they started seeing single-family homes as an asset class they can get that yield from, especially with their cost of money, because they don’t pay the rates of what you and I pay,” said Chin .

But Chin said local and government aid won’t solve the housing crisis — he says it will take changes in the private sector to make an actual difference.

“It’s going to take people who are in the trenches — property managers, real estate agents, investors — to offer solutions that are more friendly for entry-level tenets and buyers,” he said.

For Gosnay, he would like to see Orange County approve some type of rental control to minimize this issue.

“Keep increases reasonable,” he sad. “Have some sort of cap how high you can jump in X amount of time.”

A public hearing is set for July 26 where residents can weigh in on Orange County’s proposed rent stabilization ordinance, which would prohibit landlords from a implementing a 5% rent increase without 60 days’ notice.

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