The housing crisis in Miami is impacting residents in every sector of business and every neighborhood in our County. The information below is provided to help the community identify resources and understand what is happening with local and state legislative proposals.
Legal Concerns – Tenant & Landlord Disputes
If you are experiencing an eviction or other legal matter, do not hesitate to apply for legal assistance from Legal Services of Greater Miami. In Miami, 90% of landlords are represented by an attorney and only 2% of tenants are represented during an eviction. You can apply online or call (305) 576-0080 for assistance.
If you have other concerns with your housing, including needed repairs, mold, possible eviction and Section 8 questions, Legal Services of Greater Miami has many resources that can help you understand your rights and responsibilities as a tenant. Once you’re on the LSGM website, scroll down the page for a list of Tenants Rights resources.
Adults over 60 can access pro-bono legal assistance through the Department of Elder Affairs Elder Law Risk Detector. This resource is intended to be utilized by advocates or case managers to assist older adults in getting resources.
Even if you’re not facing a legal issue, the cost of housing in Miami keeps rising and there are local and state resources available. Axis Helps has been tasked with keeping all the resources up to date and organized for our community.
Housing Expenses – depending on your circumstance, eviction mitigation or an increase in rent, you may qualify for financial assistance from your City, County, or the State.
Food Expenses – the cost of food has gone up dramatically and families may not know they can qualify for assistance. In 2019 about 1.5 million ALICE children were struggling financially but did not participate in the SNAP program.
Emergency Grants and Cash Assistance – one-time or ongoing assistance from various sources, from the Federal government to community foundations to grants from individuals.
What’s being done?
Miami-Dade County now requires a 60-day notice for rent increases above 5%. While this does not help curb the impact of the cost of housing in the community, it gives families more time to determine their options.
Some communities across the country have rent control so, why can’t Miami institute the same policy? Since 1969 Miami Beach has been attempting to institute rent control measures, particularly addressing the concerns of older low-income residents. At every turn, their efforts were reversed in court and the legislature instituted preemption measures limiting the ability of a local governments state wide to address rising rents. While there is a path to temporarily halt massive rent increases, the steps are burdensome and costly. Local governments around the state, including Miami-Dade County, are taking the legal steps necessary:
- Declare a Housing State of Emergency – requires a study of the issue to be delivered to the Board of County Commissioners in 180 days, then
- Board of County Commissioners must approve a referendum to be placed on the ballot during the next election, and
- If approved, the referendum would be in place for only one year – requiring an annual repeat of the process.
Some argue that rent control, without a time limit, can lead to deterioration of properties if landlords don’t have the funds to address infrastructure issues. Florida legislators have proposed amendments to the law, but they have never been heard in Committee.
Miami Tenants Rights
The Miami Worker’s Center has worked diligently over the past year to encourage adoption of a Miami Tenant Bill of Rights – parts of this have already been adopted at the County level, including the Office of the Tenant Advocate that was funded in the FY22 County Budget. The Miami-Dade Public Housing and Community Services Committee considered the BOR at a meeting on 4/14/2022.
The impact of an eviction on your credit and background checks prior to renting a new home can significantly impact your financial stability for years after an eviction. As a result of the increase in evictions due to the financial impacts of COVID, legislation has been introduced for the past two years attempting to allow evicted tenants to seal the record of one eviction. United Way Miami, and other United Ways statewide have advocated for this legislation and other proposals mitigating the impact of evictions and will continue to support them in the 2023 session, which begins in March 2023.
What can I do?
Your voice is critical to ensuring elected officials are educated on the experiences their constituents are facing every day. If you are interested in sharing your story to support any of the changes proposed, please reach out to Beth Berglin, Director of Public Policy at firstname.lastname@example.org
To communicate directly with your elected officials, use these websites to identify who represents you: