City of Gainesville halts rental property inspections after landlords object based on new State law


GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The City of Gainesville is no longer inspecting rental properties after landlords objected to the inspections based on a new Florida law.

The Gainesville City Commission passed “Renters’ Rights” ordinances in September 2020 that focused on making rental properties more energy-efficient and required the properties to be inspected every four years; the ordinances took effect on October 2021 and apply to rental properties with four units or less.

A group of landlords represented by Attorney Jeff Childers sued the City in December 2022, claiming that the ordinance was unconstitutional; Childers filed an amended complaint on July 13 based on House Bill 1417, which was signed by Governor DeSantis on June 29 and took effect on July 1. The bill preempts regulation of most rental property matters to the State and thus, the plaintiffs assert, voids the City’s Renters’ Rights ordinances.

Childers advised landlords who receive inspection notices from the City to respond with a letter that cites the new law and demands that the City halt the inspection process immediately. After sending such a letter, one of the plaintiffs received an email from the City this morning, stating that “any and all City of Gainesville Rental Inspections are CANCELLED/POST-PONED until further notice. This directive has been initiated from the City of Gainesville Attorney and City Manager. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this places on the owner, property management company and tenant of the property.”

When Childers followed up, he received an email saying that the “City Attorney’s Office is reviewing the ordinance for compliance with State Statute.”

In a written statement provided to Alachua Chronicle, Childers said, “We are pleased that the Governor and the Legislature recognized the problem of runaway local regulation of private property and passed a bill pre-empting all local landlord regulations. This amended law deleted one of the worst ideas the City of Gainesville ever had. It probably voids the County’s similar landlord regulations, but that’s a fight for another day. It remains to be seen whether the City will do the right thing and rescind its landlord ordinances; otherwise, our lawsuit will continue.”

  • Don’t get your hopes up, they’re sure to look for another way to fund their fiscal incompetence.

    At least for now the landlords can’t blame it on city policies for high rents.

  • Halting inspections allows places like SUN BAY APARTMENTS to get away with being slumlords and allowing people to live among mold, filth and roaches. Many places in this city are not up to code and inspectors should be able to do their jobs and protect those that live in trash.

  • Oh….give me an (affordable?) home where the section 8’s don’t roam and the liberals don’t try to control.

  • I understand what government is trying to do but they are acting on emotions rather than pragmatism.
    There’s an ecosystem in the rental market and mom/pop landlords play an important role.
    Depending on where you are in your struggles will determine your rental options.
    A segment of the rental market should be preserved for those who can only afford sub-par.

    Many of us can look back on periods in our lives when we were thankful for that sub-par place because it was all we could afford.

    Because it was sub-par it inspired us to try harder so we could hurry up and get into something better. Getting comfortable or becoming a lifer was not an option.

    Government should be encouraging tenant self actualization rather than trying to kill off the sub-par market by forcing landlords to have to raise rents.

    Government should only get involved when landlords are deliberately preventing tenants from moving. You don’t need an ordinance for that, a simple hotline will work.

  • More staff time wasted writing politically targeted new codes, only for the state or courts to press delete. No wonder staff are quitting, err “jobs being lost” 🤡👹🤬🍦🍦🍦D

  • Isn’t it interesting that when the local Democrat politicians of city, county and school board, don’t like a state law that they refuse to obey it? The citizens have to sue their own public servants (elected representatives) to force them to obey the law. Maybe the state could pass a law that held criminal punishment for willful disobedience of a state law.

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