Rising Rents and Shrinking Inventory Causing Housing Crisis

Renters in Tampa Bay are finding it difficult to find an affordable place to live

Working-class families are finding it difficult to afford rentals in the Tampa Bay area due to a lack of inventory and increasing prices. Many tenants are stunned by the notices they are receiving from their landlords stating their rent is going up by a couple of hundred dollars. Many are concerned as their jobs refuse to cover the increase.

The head of Florida's Housing Coalition calls the shortage of affordable rentals an epidemic and places much of the blame on the state lawmakers who took more than $2 billion out of the state's housing trust fund. The fund was created in the early 90s and provides assistance for first-time home buyers and funds the construction of affordably priced developments. 

The coalition conducted a study that shows soaring costs and the shrinking supply of affordable units left close to two million Florida households struggling to pay the rent or mortgage.  Senator Ed Hooper has fought for over a decade to stop the annual pillaging of the housing trust fund and succeeded with Senate Bill 2512.

The final document of the bill states that the Legislature is prevented from sweeping that money into general revenue and the fund is expected to generate over $400 million a year. These funds will be coming from every home sale and will be taxed whenever the property transfers ownership. 

Tampa Bay is now racing to complete more than 2,000 price-fixed apartments that are expected to be completed over the next several years in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. To qualify for affordable housing rentals, tenants are expected to make less than 80% of the area's median income, which for a family of 4 would mean a cap of $60,000 a year. 

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