WKMG-TV’s new show, “Getting Better with Kirstin O’Connor”, is back with an all-new episode centered around rising rent prices here in Central Florida.
“My guests this week are two News 6 staffers, producer Erika Briguglio and investigative reporter Erik Sandoval,” said host Kirstin O’Connor.
“Erik has recently done a series of reports on the escalating costs of renting in our area and Erica has some tips on what to do when faced with a huge rent increase,” O’Connor added.
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Briguglio recently found herself unexpectedly in the middle of her own personal rent crisis. As the producer of “Getting Better with Kirstin O’Connor”, she didn’t think she’d ever end up being a guest on the show.
“We get back from our wedding weekend and we get a notice from our apartment complex telling us our rent was going to go up over $500 a month,” Briguglio told O’Connor. “That is not a gradual increase you expect,” Briguglio added, “it is an astronomical increase.”
Briguglio — and her husband, News 6 meteorologist Jonathan Kegges — aren’t alone as many other Central Floridians are also facing dramatic jumps in rent fueled by a confluence of circumstances:
Inflation as the country emerges from a two-year pandemic.
A huge influx of out-of-state residents moving to Florida, which is a direct result of the emergence of remote work and/or an attempt an escape from overcrowded cities.
A lack of affordable homes for first-time buyers as starter homes are being snapped-up for top dollar by rental companies.
And the fact the state has no rent-control measures and a state law blocks municipalities from enacting local guidelines telling landlords how much they can or can’t increase a tenant’s rent from year-to-year.
That last point doesn’t sit well with renters. Many Central Floridians find themselves facing huge rent increases of 20% to 40% over what they currently pay.
Renthub, a company that specializes in collecting and analyzing data on housing, said across the state, rent is up an average of 30% far outpacing the 14% average increase across the nation.
Central Florida leaders recognize the rent problem, but because of state law, there is very little they can do. In 2020, Orange County Commissioners considered declaring a “rent emergency” and freezing rents for a year but the County’s attorney advised them against it.
State Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando, and State Sen. Victor Torres, D-Kissimmee, each filed identical bills this past legislative session to give elected officials the right to enact rent-control on a local level, but both HB 6017 and SB 580 died in committee.
What’s the alternative to paying high rents?
Buying a home of course. But with home prices also dramatically on the rise buying is out of reach for many people. One recent News 6 story by Boomtown reporter Amanda Castro, pointed out that your home probably made more money than you did last year.
One alternative is turning to the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America. Aside from helping renters avoid eviction and preventing foreclosures for homeowners, NACA helps home buyers achieve the American dream by, in some cases, being able to pay the down payment on a home, pay the closing costs for the sale and help those buyers find low-interest rates.
You can find out more about NACA and what Erika Briguglio said is the best advice for responding to a major rent increase from your landlord by watching “Getting Better with Kirstin O’Connor” on the new News 6+ app, ClickOrlando.com or YouTube.com.
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