How to Make Tampa Bay Rentals Affordable

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The rent is too high

Could St. Petersburg really stop rent increases for a year? | Dec 17

In the greater Tampa Bay area, rents have increased 24 percent over the past year, bringing many of their homes to the streets. Working-class families simply cannot afford this massive jump in prices. This rapid rent increase can be explained very clearly: Maintaining / increasing profit margins. In the past year, many landlords had to deal with some small safeguards for tenants in the form of eviction moratoriums and money from the federal government for rent repayment. With these protections lifted, we’re seeing rents higher than ever. A rental freeze is the least we can do to stop the bleeding of the working class. It would be even better to cap the rent at 30 percent of the tenant’s income. However, these are short term solutions to the problem. We need to ensure that housing is a human right for everyone in the Tampa Bay area. Our local governments have the ability and the resources to do so.

Jack Wallace, St. Petersburg

How to Force Inspections

Why wait 40 years to inspect buildings? | Editorial staff, December 27th

In Florida condominium construction, rebar – basically an iron bar – is used to reinforce concrete and, over time, cracks open up so moisture / water can come into contact with the support bars while the concrete slowly breaks down. In wood structures, mold and rot from moisture in Florida create health and integrity problems. Inspections are usually delegated to a condo board by the management company. However, inspections can be suspended if the board gets stuck. Often times, when a building has a high percentage of tenants, the owners of the units are out of sight and out of mind, and spending dollars on unsexy things like inspections isn’t important. In my opinion, 30 years of inspections in the Florida area is a joke, 15 years is better, and 10 years is best. When enforcing this, insurance companies can request evidence of certified inspections or insurance coverage is waived. As simple as that.

Darryl David, St. Petersburg

Count every vote

Make elections safe | Letter, December 26th

In response to the letter from the President of the Conservative Public Interest Legal Foundation, I would say that one legitimate vote denied is one too many.

Kenneth Keys, Tampa

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