Cocoa considering ordinance to give renters more notice before raising rent

Cocoa City Council on Tuesday unanimously agreed to move forward with an ordinance requiring landlords to give more advanced notice to residents when they want to increase their rent.

"Rather than us have a blind eye to the situation, I ask council that we all step up and attempt to do something," said Cocoa Deputy Mayor Lavander Hearn. Hearn asked Cocoa City Council to step up and do something, anything to fight rising rents. 

Cocoa is considering adopting something similar to the ordinance Tampa is developing. It would require landlords to give renters 60 days' notice if they plan to increase their rents by more than 5% and 30 days' notice for month-to-month renters.

"Personally, I want to say that I find the measure reasonable. It appears reasonable to me," said one resident at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

"I think what they’re talking about it right on." 

Hearn proposed having a discussion about this issue because he says one of his friends’ rent increased by $500 a month, and they were only given two weeks' notice before it went into effect.

"Tp to tell someone that we’re going to raise your rent by $500 in two weeks, the truth of the matter is nobody is prepared for that, and you’re literally inviting someone right into the streets," said Scott Billue, who runs the homeless outreach Matthew’s Hope.

Some raised concerns landlords may feel attacked. "The enforcement is very important because you’re going to have a lot of property owners marching in here. They do not feel that the code enforcement is fair and reasonable and easy to understand." 

That’s why City Council plans to workshop the ordinance and hold public meetings on it before passing it and moving forward. "I think it’s something that we need to do. We should be leading the way in Brevard County right now," said Hearn.

The process of properly workshopping and writing the ordinance will likely take a couple of months.