By Pat Raia
A proposed measure would allow County authorities to investigate complaints against landlords who allegedly retaliate against tenants after they file housing code violation reports.
According to some housing advocates, some landlords raise rents, decline to renew leases or issue eviction notices to tenants who complain about housing code violations to County authorities.
Currently, tenants must civilly sue landlords that they accuse of retaliatory conduct.
Introduced on Dec. 17 by State Sen. Dennis Baxley, SB 290 would allow County legislative and governing bodies to establish boards to investigate allegations of landlord retaliation against tenants who file complaints about code violations. The measure would also authorize those boards to fine landlords when those allegations are proven to be legitimate.
Legal Services of Mid-Florida, whose Spring Hill office serves Hernando County, declined to comment on the bill.
“Unfortunately we cannot comment on proposed legislation.” said Director of Communications, Michelle Wargo.
SB290 will be considered when the State's new Legislative session begins in March.
If passed the measure would become effective on July 1, 2021.