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St. Petersburg City Council Votes Against Rent Control Cap

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - St. Petersburg residents won't see rent control any time soon.

This comes after the St. Petersburg City Council voted against the measure on Thursday. Now local organizations are demanding change.

Residents say prices are getting so high that they are having to move out of their homes and into hotels, but landlords argue the rising rent prices are necessary to keep up with inflation.

"I was living the dream. Paying my bills and thinking i was going to have a stable place for my grand kids," said Valerie Brannon, a St. Petersburg resident.

But that all changed for Brannon a few months ago.

"My rent went up to $2,400 dollars. I was paying $1,566. So we had to leave at the end of June after my lease ran out," said Brannon.

She's now living in a hotel with her three grandchildren until she can find a better living situation.

"I have a family of five and it's unreachable right now," said Brannon.

Apartments are just too expensive for her and she's having to make difficult decisions to save money.

"Right now my grandkids are eating microwavable stuff and cold cut and that's not good for kids," said Brannon.

Brannon and several other residents camped in tents outside of the St. Petersburg City Council building this week, demanding a rental cap.

"It seems like every week I meet someone who's had something horrible happen to them," said Nick Carey with Faith in Florida.

But after five hours of public comment on Thursday, city council members voted five to three against putting a rent control measure on the November ballot.

Former president of the Bay Area Apartment Association, Robert Griffiths, explains rent control isn't the solution.

"Rent control will stop growth in the city. If the investors aren't coming to the city, you're not going to have apartments, if you don't have more apartments for people to come here and everybody wants to come here, then what are you going to do," said Griffiths.

"The st. Petersburg area chamber of commerce supports the need for additional work force and affordable housing through various rental assistance programs," said Christie Bruner with the St. Petersburg Area Chamber Of Commerce

But Carey says his organization won't stop fighting.

"It might include more actions like sleeping outside indefinitely, it might include getting more people part of the movement," said Carey.

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