OPINION: Rent control should be applied in Tampa

Tampa officials need to keep landlords from raising rent more than 5% per year to ensure people can afford to live in the city. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE

Rent prices are still growing in Tampa. As of March 4, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Tampa is $1,699, already 6% more than rent in 2022, according to Zumper

Tampa needs to implement a rent ceiling to stop rent from raising more than 5% per year to help those who are struggling to afford rent in the city. This measure can help students and future workers in the city find a place to live at an affordable price.

Tampa has developed rapidly in the past several years. Population and economic growth in the city have reached unprecedented levels, according to a May 30 report by The City of Tampa. This growth has caused rent in the area to skyrocket.

Some USF students, like sophomore Mauricio Caisan, have noticed these rent increases. 

“I lived here in Tampa for 5 years now. I rent my apartment in Tampa. Over the years, I have seen how the price of my apartment has increased,” he said in a Feb. 26 interview with The Oracle. 

Rent in Tampa has increased nearly 30% from 2021 to 2022, according to the Florida Housing Finance Corporation. This makes it one of the fastest rising places for rent in the country. 

In some large cities, like Phoenix and Oklahoma City, rent prices have actually declined more than 6% over the last year, according to a Feb. 10 article by Redfin. 

The median rent for apartments of all sizes in Tampa was $1,917 in October 2022, according to RentCafe. If the trend continues, many Tampa residents will struggle to afford a place to live, including several USF students.

In response to this problem, the city of Tampa should put a rent ceiling in place that would keep landlords from increasing rent more than 5% per year. This would help keep rent affordable and hopefully allow residents to keep up with rent growth. 

This 5% rent cap was actually proposed last year by Tampa city councilman Orlando Gudes, according to a 2022 article by Fox 13. Unfortunately, the city council struck it down, claiming they were afraid it would do more harm than good to the renters. 

However, a study on rent control in San Francisco, New York and Cambridge showed that it can help keep rent affordable for tenants if correctly implemented, according to a January 2019 article by Urban Institute.

Some say rent control decreases maintenance and repairs, discourages new development and reduces willingness to build new housing, according to a January 2019 article by Dollars & Sense.

The measure must establish a fair price to help people afford an apartment. Meanwhile, the price limit should not reduce the income of landlords so much to encourage them to produce a good service. If the policy is approached in this way, the negative aspects of a rent cap can be avoided as much as possible.

A price ceiling should be implemented in Tampa to prevent rent from increasing more than 5% annually. This measure would benefit workers, families and USF students struggling to afford a place to live.