Advocacy Update: St. Pete Tenant Bill of Rights
Earlier this month, St. Pete City Council Member Amy Foster introduced a Tenant Bill of Rights Ordinance. Among other things, this Ordinance sought to require all housing providers in the City of St. Pete to accept Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers as lawful income. This Ordinance came up for a vote on Thursday, September 19, and the City Council voted 5-2 to return it back to Committee for further review and public input.
In the lead up to the City Council meeting, BAAA members were able to meet with 6 of the 8 City Council Members to share our concerns with the ordinance, and BAAA sent a letter to all City Council Members further outlining these concerns. During the Council Meeting, several BAAA members spoke out against this measure. Our members were joined by members of the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM) and the Pinellas Realtors Association, and together our associations were able to mount an overwhelming public response against this ordinance. You can view a recording of the City Council meeting here, and the public comments on the ordinance start at 06:30:01.
While the outcome of the City Council Meeting was positive, our engagement on the issue is far from over. We will be following up with the City Council and other stakeholders to identify best practices the St. Pete Housing Authority could adopt that would make the Housing Choice Voucher program easier for landlords to use. If you have experienced actions, process, and/or policies used by Housing Authorities that are positive and could be considered a best practice, we need to hear from you. Please contact Government Affairs Director Eric Garduno at GAD@baaahq.org to share this information.