Rent stabilization to Orange County residents unlikely to happen after court decision

An appeals court has ruled that the Orange County rent control measure shouldn't appear on this year's ballot, but activists are saying the fight isn't over.

"What the appelate court said was that they were remanding it to a lower court and allowing the issuance of an injunction, which was sought by the realtor's association," said Attorney Albert Yonfa.

Yonfa said for now, some Orange County commissioners' hopes of bringing rent stabilization to desperate county residents aren't going to happen.

"The ordinance, as it stands, is dead in the water," said Yonfa.

The measure is still on the ballot sheet for Orange County voters. Election supervisor Bill Cowles said voters should still mark their choices at the polls because there may be future legal developments in the pipeline, and if courts rule in favor of the county then the will of the voters will be known. 

"The message to voters is just keep voting and we will follow whatever guidelines the courts give us going forward," said Cowles.

The Florida Apartment Association is on the side of the landlords against the ordinance. They said they're, "Grateful that the 5th District Court of Appeals ruled to remove this dangerous and illegal measure from consideration on the ballot. Moving forward, we remain committed to working alongside state and local policymakers on real solutions that bolster the supply of housing and address the needs of a growing population."

Florida Representative Anna Eskamani supports the measure and said this isn't the end of the battle. 

"These systems are failing us. Tenants don't have consumer rights in Florida and there are efforts in the legislature to change that, but counties should be able to craft unique policy to meet the needs of their communities. This is just another example of corporate preemption," said Rep. Eskamani.

When Orange County voters head to the polls, they should voice their choice on the ballots.