Greater Orlando Government Affairs
AAGO has a long history of effective local government advocacy on a variety of issues that impact rental housing. AAGO staff and Legislative Committee members closely monitor the actions of the municipal governments in the region to identify any local policy proposal that may help or challenge our industry. Since local governments often move more quickly in comparison to federal or state legislative bodies, it is critical that the industry responds as quickly as possible to local government actions.
Results are best achieved through cultivating relationships long before we ever need to call upon our local elected leaders for assistance in supporting our industry. Below contains information regarding current local happenings, as well as, a sampling of issues that have arisen over the past few years.
Recent Local Affairs
City of Clermont: Moratorium on Multi-Family Development
Two-way Emergency Communication Systems
Osceola County Alternative School Impact Fee for Zero-Bedroom Housing Units
Seminole County Landlord Registration and Inspection Ordinance
Unlicensed Maintenance Activity
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) and local code enforcement on occasion enforce the Florida state law that requires permits to be pulled for many standard maintenance functions such as HVAC replacement, water heater replacement, etc. These inspections can be triggered by a complaint, randomly, or as a matter of routine. Most often violations or “unlicensed maintenance activity” result in civil citations, cease and desist orders, or fees. However, in certain circumstances, criminal charges can be levied by DBPR or law enforcement for particularly egregious violations (especially incidents with a negative environmental impact). Although this is a state law, the local government is the enforcement agency.
Landlord Registration/Inspection Programs
Many local governments around the state have been instituting landlord registration or permitting programs. In several cases, the impetus for the registration program is the prevalence of reluctant, absentee landlords in the single-family market who have rented their homes because they were unable to sell it after the recent recession. Unfortunately, we have seen local governments drastically overreach and create permitting programs with an inspection component that is onerous and redundant. For example, some cities have attempted to require individual inspections for health and life safety, despite being done by other government agencies, for an exorbitant fee per unit. Florida state law prohibits local governments from regulating the rental housing industry through a statewide preemption.
Orlando City Energy Project and Green Works Initiative
The City of Orlando is one of 10 municipalities / metropolitan areas across the country participating in the City Energy Project (CEP). The CEP is funded by a nonprofit that focuses on achieving better energy efficiency for large commercial and public buildings, paying special attention to electricity usage, heating and cooling costs. In an effort to achieve this goal, the project funds a staff member at the city level who works to implement a policy plan to reduce the city’s overall energy consumption. This plan typically includes mandatory energy benchmarking (also known as energy usage reporting) and in some extreme cases mandatory retrofitting. Mandatory retrofitting involves making energy-efficient improvements to the property such as installing new windows, switching to LED light bulbs, or installing new appliances with lower energy consumption rates.
Under the benchmarking model, energy usage reporting is conducted on an annual basis using the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star Portfolio Manager System. Here in Orlando, the City Energy Project is part of Orlando’s Green Works program, which aspires to make Orlando a leader in energy efficiency for new and existing real estate. AAGO is working with the City to ensure the interests of the multifamily industry are taken into consideration as the City Energy Project and the Green Works initiative takes shape in Orlando.