Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 220904
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File Number: 220904 File Type: Ordinance Status: Amended
Version: 0 Reference: Control: Board of County Commissioners
File Name: TENANTS BILLS OF RIGHTS Introduced: 4/19/2022
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action:
Agenda Date: 5/3/2022 Agenda Item Number: 7D
Notes: SEE 221055 FOR FINAL VERSION AS ADOPTED; 4-6 WEEKS REQUIRED Title: ORDINANCE CREATING THE MIAMI-DADE COUNTY TENANT’S BILL OF RIGHTS; CREATING CHAPTER 17, ARTICLE XIII OF THE CODE OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA; PROVIDING INTENT, PURPOSE AND DEFINITIONS; CREATING OFFICE OF HOUSING ADVOCACY; ESTABLISHING UNLAWFUL PRACTICES; PROVIDING FOR A TENANT’S NOTICE OF RIGHTS; PROVIDING FOR A TENANT INFORMATION HELPLINE AND WEBSITE; ESTABLISHING ENFORCEMENT PROCEDURES; REQUIRING ANNUAL REPORTS; PROVIDING SEVERABILITY, INCLUSION IN THE CODE, AND AN EFFECTIVE DATE [SEE ORIGINAL ITEM UNDER FILE NO. 220263]
Indexes: BILL OF RIGHTS
  TENANTS
Sponsors: Jean Monestime, Co-Prime Sponsor
  Raquel A. Regalado, Co-Prime Sponsor
  Oliver G. Gilbert, III, Co-Sponsor
  Danielle Cohen Higgins, Co-Sponsor
  Eileen Higgins, Co-Sponsor
  Kionne L. McGhee, Co-Sponsor
Sunset Provision: No Effective Date: Expiration Date:
Registered Lobbyist: None Listed


Legislative History

Acting Body Date Agenda Item Action Sent To Due Date Returned Pass/Fail

Board of County Commissioners 5/3/2022 7D Amended
REPORT: See Agenda Item 7D Amended, Legislative File No. 221055 for the amended version.

County Attorney 4/19/2022 Assigned Terrence A. Smith 4/20/2022

Public Housing and Community Services Committee 4/14/2022 1G1 Amended Forwarded to BCC with a favorable recommendation with committee amendments following public hearing P
REPORT: Assistant County Attorney (ACA) Terrence Smith read the title of the foregoing proposed ordinance into the record. Chairman Monestime opened the floor for the public to be heard, and the following individuals spoke in support of Item 1G1: 1.) Ms. Laura Xiolán, Miami Workers Center, 240 NW 17th St, Miami, Florida 2.) Ms. Kimberly Blandon, 5882 West 25th Ct, Miami, Florida 3.) Ms. Amelia León, 1596 SW 112th Ave, Miami, Florida 4.) Ms. Nadirah Sabír, Miami Workers Center, 1780 S Glades Dr., Miami, Florida 5.) Ms. Melanie Ramirez, 1951 NW 7th Ave, Miami, Florida 6.) Ms. Sabrina Velvarde, Miami Homes For All, 1951 NW 7th Ave, Miami, Florida 7.) Ms. Ivory Johnson-Parker, Miami Workers Center, 1855 NW 74th Street, Miami, Florida 8.) Ms. Adriane Knight, 676 SW 2nd St, Miami, Florida 9.) Ms. Keisha Guyton, 17431 NW 42nd Ave, Miami, Florida 10.) Ms. Taylor Neverman, 2903 NE 163rd St, North Miami Beach, Florida 11.) Ms. Ivelyn Sanchez, Miami Workers Center, 819 Meridian Avenue APT 7, Miami, Florida 12.) Ms. Villeverta Etienne, 915 NE 122nd St, North Miami, Florida 13.) Ms. Berbeth Foster, Miami Workers Center/Community Justice Project, 3000 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, Florida 14.) Ms. Rachel Rubi, Miami Workers Center, 1501 W 42nd St Apt 105, Hialeah, Florida 15.) Ms. Ekmana Elaneu, Miami Workers Center, 14895 NE 18 Ave, Miami, Florida 16.) Ms. Denise Ghartey, Miami Workers Center/Community Justice Project, 3000 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, Florida 17.) Ms. Tayana Gibbs, Miami Workers Center, 1951 NW 79th St Miami, Florida 18.) Dr. Subhashree Nayak, Holtz Children’s Hospital, 1818 SW 1st Ave, Miami, Florida 19.) Mr. Alberto Milo Jr., Related Urban Development Group, LLC, 2850 Tigertail Ave, Miami, Florida 20.) Mr. Mark Merwitzer, Transit Alliance Miami, 14730 SW 25th Ave, Miami, Florida 21.) Ms. Juana Marin, 2101 NW 93rd Terrace, Miami, Florida 22.) Ms. Trenise Bryant, Miami Workers Center, 720 NW 55th St, Miami, Florida 23.) Mr. Oliver Telusno, Community Justice Project, 3000 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, Florida 24.) Ms. Norma Uriostegu, Miami Workers Center, 12071 SW 1st St, Miami, Florida 25.) Ms. Andrea Rodriguez, Miami Workers Center, 514 Santander Ave Miami, Florida 26.) Ms. Yanelis Valdes, 58 NE 14th St, Miami, Florida 27.) Mr. Sebastian Caicedo, Florida Rising, 1700 NE 105th St, Miami, Florida 28.) Mr. Camilo Meija, 3482 Frow Ave, Miami, Florida 29.) Mr. Duane Thwaites, 6916 NE 3rd Ave, Miami, Florida 30.) Ms. Janie Jackson, 1161 NW 50th St, Miami, Florida 31.) Ms. Morgan Glanola, 5835 SW 62nd St, South Miami, Florida 32.) Ms. Jessica Saint Fleur, 155 NW 64th St, Miami, Florida 33.) Ms. Shanena White, 3074 NW 67th St, Miami, Florida 34.) Ms. Gina Romero, 10933 NW 43 Ln, Doral, Florida 35.) Ms. Lily Ostrer, 120 NW 34th St, Miami, Florida 36.) Ms. Alejandra Rondon, 3309 William Ave, Miami, Florida The following individuals spoke in opposition of Item 1G1: 1.) Mr. Mario Abreu, South East Florida Apartment Association, 8255 Park Blvd., Miami, Florida 2.) Mr. Max Stamos, South East Florida Apartment Association 4730 Ne 28th Ave, Miami, Florida 3.) Mr. Daniel Guerra, Miami Realtors, 5681 SW 58th Pl, South Miami, Florida 4.) Ms. Danielle Blake, Miami Realtors, 700 S Royal Poinciana Blvd, Miami Florida 5.) Ms. Keri Pfeifer, Bozzuto Management Company, 1126 NE Post Oak way, Jensen Beach, Florida 6.) Mr. Verryck Cornelius, South East Florida Apartment Association, 2500 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, Florida 7.) Demetri Grant, South East Florida Apartment Association, 1331 S Federal Highway, Boynton Beach, Florida Assistant County Attorney, Terrence Smith announced the foregoing amendments to the proposed ordinance presented as follows: ~ Delete subsection five (5) on typewritten page 17, and renumber subsections six (6) and (7) accordingly; ~ Delete the term “temporary housing” on typewritten page twelve (12), Section 17-165, subsection two (2) and replace it with the term “transient occupancy”; ~ Add subsection eight (8) to include the definition of the term “transient occupancy” to read “Transient occupancy means occupancy when it is the intention of the parties that the occupancy will be temporary.” and; ~ Delete the term “consider” from Section 17-167, subsection 2(d) on typewritten page 15. Chairman Monestime emphasized the intent of Item 1G1 was to provide housing advocacy for Miami residents by providing tenants guidance and protection of their housing rights. He explained the item would serve to assistant tenants who were unable to afford legal counsel, and improve the relationship between landlords and tenants. Chairman Monestime stated he worked with different entities, including the Public Housing and Community Development Department (PHCD), the Miami-Dade Homeless Trust, the Property Leasing Committee, and other organizations, to gain feedback about all aspects of the housing issue in Miami-Dade County. He then asked ACA Smith to elaborate on recurring concerns raised by the public. ACA Smith clarified the private course of action clause outlined in Item 1G1 reflected the Miami-Dade Code Chapter 11A Section II, which provided the tenant the ability to take a landlord to court for a breach of contract or violation of rights. He further stated Item 1G1 would not eliminate a landlord’s ability to check public records for a tenant’s eviction history, but would prohibit the landlord from directly inquiring about eviction history on the application and/or interview. Commissioner Higgins stated the County’s residents had endured high rent increases and displacement and indicated her support for the item because it was the first step in addressing the housing and affordability crisis. Referencing comments made by the speakers, Commissioner Cohen Higgins asked the County Attorney’s Office if Item 1G1 would solve the affordability crisis and high rent spikes. ACA Smith stated the foregoing item would not address or create any form of rent control because rent control was illegal under Florida law. Commissioner Cohen Higgins noted that landlords still had the right to raise rents. She pointed out any rental increase of five percent (5%) over the original price, required a notice to be provided within a certain timeframe. Commissioner Cohen Higgins voiced her concerns about Section 17-167, Subsection 2 of the item which prohibited landlords from taking adverse action on a tenant that made repairs to the unit, and was subsequently seeking reimbursement. She cautioned the Committee that some individuals may utilize this clause to manipulate the system in order to receive an additional payout. Commissioner Cohen Higgins suggested language be added to protect landlords in this particular situation by having tenants provide evidence of repairs, creating a metric amount of funds allocated for such, and a perspective timeline for completion. Commissioner Cohen Higgins maintained that Section 17-167(2)(d), which prohibited landlords from inquiring about a tenant’s eviction history during the application process, was unfair to landlords. She emphasized the importance of landlords knowing a potential tenants’ eviction history in order to better protect themselves, and asked if additional laws would be added or implemented with the adoption of Item 1G1. Responding to Commissioner Cohen Higgins’ question, Chairman Monestime reiterated the intent of Item 1G1 was to protect tenants from unfair treatment by landlords. He stated the majority of eviction cases were not criminal, and involved tenants being unable to afford a home after large rent increases. Chairman Monestime argued that landlords should be prohibited from inquiring about a tenant’s eviction history during the application process to establish fair opportunity for all applicants. ACA Smith explained that Item 1G1 included additional tenant rights such as establishing timeframes for tenants to take a landlord to court in the event the landlord violated any conditions outlined in the foregoing legislation. Commissioner Higgins asked ACA Smith to clarify if the landlord had the right to check a tenant’s eviction history and indicated her support for banning the “box.” ACA Smith clarified that while landlords maintained the right to check the eviction history for any tenant, they would be prohibited from inquiring about the tenant’s history during the early stages of the application or interview process. He explained that the traditional “box” questionnaire format did not give potential tenants the ability to provide full details about an eviction and/or situation. Commissioner Cohen Higgins reiterated her concerns regarding the item’s language and argued a more transparent application/interview process was more beneficial to tenants and landlords alike. She expressed concerns about the use of the term “punitive damages” in Section 17-170(2) and stated more work needed to be done to create a more balanced legislation that would benefit all parties involved. Commissioner Hardemon stated that while he recognized the merits and intent of the foregoing proposed ordinance, he concurred with Commissioner Cohen Higgins’ comments regarding the impact of the item on landlords and the rental industry. He spoke about the unintended negative impact of the item on tenants, and pointed out that landlords would be more inclined to increase rental rates if they perceived the rental process as a risk. Commissioner Hardemon provided different scenarios on how a landlord could interpret the term “punitive damages”, and maintained that landlords would always select tenants, based on ability to pay higher rents and those perceived to be less likely to damage the rental unit. He stated in the event the landlord entered into an agreement with a less “suitable” tenant they would impose increased deposits to protect their investment. Commissioner Hardemon expressed his interest in advancing legislation to benefit and protect both tenants and landlords, and supported Commissioner Cohen Higgins’ request for additional protections for the landlord. Chairman Monestime maintained that he believed that landlords should not inquire about eviction history during the early stages of the application process to ensure a fair process for all applicants, but acknowledged the concerns voiced by Commissioner Cohen Higgins regarding the item’s language and agreed to further amend the item to delete the word “consider” from Section 17-167(2)(d). Commissioner Cohen Higgins thanked Chairman Monestime for the proffered amendment and stated she would support the item in light of the latest amendment. Hearing no further questions or comments, the Committee members proceeded to vote on the foregoing proposed ordinance, as amended.

Legislative Text


TITLE
ORDINANCE CREATING THE MIAMI-DADE COUNTY TENANTíS BILL OF RIGHTS; CREATING CHAPTER 17, ARTICLE XIII OF THE CODE OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA; PROVIDING INTENT, PURPOSE AND DEFINITIONS; CREATING OFFICE OF HOUSING ADVOCACY; ESTABLISHING UNLAWFUL PRACTICES; PROVIDING FOR A TENANTíS NOTICE OF RIGHTS; PROVIDING FOR A TENANT INFORMATION HELPLINE AND WEBSITE; ESTABLISHING ENFORCEMENT PROCEDURES; REQUIRING ANNUAL REPORTS; PROVIDING SEVERABILITY, INCLUSION IN THE CODE, AND AN EFFECTIVE DATE

BODY
WHEREAS, Miami-Dade County is experiencing a significant shortage of safe and stable affordable rental housing; and
WHEREAS, studies show that Miami-Dade County has the highest proportion of cost-burdened tenants in the nation by a significant margin, with more than half of tenants spending more than 30 percent or more of their income on rent; and
WHEREAS, the housing crisis has negative impacts on the health and safety of Miami-Dade County residents, including by increasing homelessness; and
WHEREAS, tenants may also be forced to live in housing with substandard conditions, including water leaks, poor ventilation, structural damage, or rodent infestation; and
WHEREAS, federal, state and local laws, including, the Code of Miami-Dade County (the ďCodeĒ) afford tenants with certain protections and rights, including, but, not limited to, laws that: (1) ensure that dwelling units are free from blight and decay, and safeguard public health, safety, morals, and welfare by setting forth minimum housing standards; (2) establish processes related to residential evictions; and (3) protect tenants from discrimination based on certain classifications; and
WHEREAS, for example, tenants and landlords have certain rights and responsibilities set forth in chapter 83, part II, Florida Statutes, commonly known as the Florida Residential Landlord and Tenant Act; and
WHEREAS, additionally, section 17-2 et seq. of the Code establishes minimum standards governing the condition, occupancy, and maintenance of dwellings, dwelling units, rooming houses, rooming units and premises which are let to another for occupancy, and chapter 11A, article II of the Code prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, pregnancy, age, disability, marital status, familial status, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, actual or perceived status as a victim of domestic violence, dating violence or stalking, or source of income; and
WHEREAS, various nonprofit entities and federal, state, and local government agencies, including the Countyís housing department, Miami-Dade County Department of Public Housing and Community Development, have resources to provide assistance to Miami-Dade County tenants facing challenges with their landlords; and
WHEREAS, despite these protections and rights and resources, many tenants in Miami-Dade County are unaware of the full extent of the laws that protect and afford rights to them, or the steps they can take to seek redress with other agencies or entities; and
WHEREAS, many tenants also lack the financial means to hire an attorney to seek redress in court or with such agencies or entities; and
WHEREAS, additionally, many tenants, who may wish to assert their rights may not do so due to fears that their landlord may unlawfully retaliate against them by increasing the rent, ending a tenancy, or engaging in prohibited housing practices, such as shutting off utilities or changing the locks; and
WHEREAS, in an effort to assist tenants, on March 3, 2021, Hillsborough County enacted a Tenantís Bill of Rights ordinance to provide additional protections to residential tenants in unincorporated Hillsborough County, including protection from income discrimination, and as a result are provided more affordable housing opportunities and offered more protection from homelessness; and
WHEREAS, additionally, on November 7, 2019, the City of St. Petersburg enacted a Tenantís Bill of Rights ordinance which prohibits discrimination in housing and makes it unlawful for a landlord to assess a late fee against a tenant without first providing written notice to the tenant(s), against whom the late fee is assessed, for each late fee assessed; and
WHEREAS, the Real Property Probate and Trust Law Section of The Florida Bar (ďRPPTL SectionĒ) serves the citizens of the State of Florida, the legal community, and its section members with the highest levels of knowledge, experience and commitment to real property, probate, and trust law; and
WHEREAS, the RPPTL Section has created a Real Property Leasing Committee (ďRPL CommitteeĒ), which is, in part, comprised of legal aid organizations and other representatives of landlords and tenants; and
WHEREAS, the RPL Committee provides information about legislative and case law developments in all areas of real estate leasing and landlord/tenant law, provides expertise and input regarding proposed legislation affecting real estate leasing areas of Florida law; acts as a resource to its members to discuss and share information about landlord/tenant and leasing practice matters; and cooperates with Continuing Legal Education Committee of The Florida Bar to educate members of The Florida Bar as to any developments in the area of real estate leasing law; and
WHEREAS, the RPL Committee recommends that local governments, such as the Miami-Dade County, when considering enacting a tenantís bill of rights, should ensure that such legislation provides residents with access to the resources necessary to exercise the tenant rights currently available under existing law, including the Florida Residential Landlord and Tenant Act and fair housing regulations; and
WHEREAS, the RPL Committee further recommends that one useful service could be guiding landlords and tenants to the proper forms for exercising their rights; and
WHEREAS, the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida and legal organizations, such as the Florida Bar, have created forms that can be utilized by tenants to exercise their rights; and
WHEREAS, the RPL Committee further recommends the County should focus on establishing a website with the pre-existing resources and information available to landlords and tenants, that any office that is created should have dedicated staff with a broad understanding of landlord tenant issues that can help Miami-Dade residents maneuver such disputes, and that such office should also have the capacity to interface with legal aid organizations, building code enforcement departments, and fair housing groups, which all work on similar issues facing Miami-Dade County renters; and

WHEREAS, this Board agrees that by providing accurate information to Miami-Dade County residents concerning existing laws that protect tenants, the rights afforded under such laws, and connecting tenants to community agencies or other entities that can assist them to seek redress will enable tenants to address certain challenges and potentially assist them to avoid eviction and homelessness; and
WHEREAS, this Board also believes that promoting access to accurate information will also improve housing stability across Miami-Dade County; and
WHEREAS, in furtherance of these purposes and beliefs, this Board approved funding in Miami-Dade Countyís Fiscal Year 2021-2022 budget for the purpose of employing housing advocates, who will be assigned to the Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources, to assist individuals with obtaining housing-related resources; and
WHEREAS, in furtherance of these purposes, this Board wishes to adopt a Tenantís Bill of Rights in order to increase tenantsí awareness of their rights and to provide guidance to tenants regarding available community resources; and
WHEREAS, this Board further wishes that an Office of Housing Advocacy or such other person or office be designated by the County Mayor to monitor the provisions of this ordinance,
BE IT ORDAINED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA:
Section 1. Chapter 17, article XIII of the Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida, is hereby created to read as follows:

ARTICLE XIII.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY TENANTíS BILL OF RIGHTS

Sec. 17-162. Short Title.

This article shall be known as the ďMiami-Dade County Tenantís Bill of Rights.Ē

Sec. 17-163. Legislative Intent and Purpose.
It is the intent of the Board of County Commissioners, in accordance with the Home Rule Amendment and Charter and its authority to exercise its police powers for the public safety, health, and general welfare, to create a Tenantís Bill of Rights to promote and further housing stability in Miami-Dade County. It is further the desire of this Board to ensure that an Office of Housing Advocacy or such other person or office be designated by the County Mayor to monitor the provisions herein.

This Board finds that Miami-Dade County is experiencing a significant demand for affordable rental housing units, and the availability of safe and affordable housing is an essential component of individual and community well-being. This Board further finds that protecting residential tenants from discrimination and unfair and illegal rental practices is fundamental to the health, safety and welfare of the community. However, this Board finds that tenants are often unaware of their rights or lack the financial resources to hire attorneys to seek redress in court or with other agencies and entities.

The purpose of this ordinance is to afford all Miami-Dade County tenants, regardless of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, pregnancy, age, disability, marital status, familial status, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, actual or perceived status as a victim of domestic violence, dating violence or stalking, or source of income, the right to have a place to call home, freedom from arbitrary eviction, retaliation and discrimination, safe and healthy living conditions, strong consumer protections, full and fair access to the courts, government policies that prioritize tenants, and respect and regard equal to that of homeowners. In furtherance of this purpose, this Board desires to make certain practices unlawful, to require landlords to provide tenants with a notice of their rights under federal, state, and local laws and regulations, to inform tenants of agencies and entities that may assist them in exercising those rights and potentially avoiding wrongful eviction and homelessness, and to promote and utilize policy advocacy to further housing stability in Miami-Dade County.

Sec. 17-164. Applicability and Exclusions.

This article shall be applicable to tenancies subject to chapter 83, part II, Florida Statutes, and which are in existence upon the effective date of this ordinance, and any extensions of such tenancies. This article shall further apply to dwelling units located in the unincorporated and incorporated areas of Miami-Dade County with the monitoring of the provisions of this article being the responsibility of the County. The County Mayor or the County Mayorís designee shall designate an Office of Housing Advocacy or such other person or office designated by the County Mayor to monitor the provisions of this article.

In accordance with chapter 83, part II, Florida Statutes, this article or the rights conferred herein shall not apply to: (1) residency or detention in a facility, whether public or private, when residence or detention is incidental to the provision of medical, geriatric, educational, counseling, religious, or similar services; (2)?occupancy under a contract of sale of a dwelling unit or the property of which it is a part in which the buyer has paid at least 12 monthsí rent or in which the buyer has paid at least 1 monthís rent and a deposit of at least 5 percent of the purchase price of the property; (3)?transient occupancy in a hotel, condominium, motel, rooming house, or similar public lodging, or transient occupancy in a mobile home park; (4)?occupancy by a holder of a proprietary lease in a cooperative apartment; (5) occupancy by an owner of a condominium unit; (6) occupancy of a dwelling unit by a squatter or any person who does not have a lawful right to occupy a dwelling unit; and (7) housing owned by the United States government, State of Florida, or Miami-Dade County.

Sec. 17-165. Definitions.

The following words and phrases, as used in this article, shall have the following meanings:

(1) The term adverse action means when a landlord brings or threatens to bring an action for possession of the tenantís residential rental unit, unlawfully raises or threatens to raise the tenantís rent, or otherwise adversely alters the living conditions of the tenantís dwelling unit.

(2) The term dwelling means any building which is let, including, to the extent not inconsistent with federal, state, or local laws, and a manufactured home or mobile home, which is wholly or partly used or intended to be used for living, sleeping, cooking, and eating, provided that [[temporary housing]]1 >>transient occupancy<< as hereinafter defined shall not be regarded as a dwelling.

(3) The term dwelling unit means any room or group of rooms located within a dwelling and forming a single habitable unit with facilities used or intended to be used for living, sleeping, cooking and eating.

(4) The term landlord means the owner or lessor of a dwelling unit, their agents and employees.

(5) The term Office of Housing Advocacy shall be the office, or such other person or office designated by the County Mayor to monitor this article.

(6) The term squatter means any individual who is occupying a dwelling unit without lawful consent from the property owner. This term does not apply to tenants.

(7) The term tenant means any person entitled to occupy a dwelling unit under a rental agreement, whether the agreement is written or oral.

(8) >>The term transient occupancy means occupancy when it is the intention of the parties that the occupancy will be temporary.<<

Sec. 17-166. Office of Housing Advocacy.

(1) The provisions of the Miami-Dade County Tenantís Bill of Rights shall be monitored by the Office of Housing Advocacy, or such other person or office designated by the County Mayor.

(2) ? The duties, functions, powers, and responsibilities of the Office of Housing Advocacy or such other designee of the County Mayor include but are not limited to:

(a) Coordinating with and referring matters and complaints to federal, state, and local agencies or organizations (including legal and other advocacy organizations) that may have the authority or expertise to address certain housing-related issues;

(b) Referring matters related to Section 8 programs and other federally subsidized housing to the Public Housing and Community Development Department or successor department;

(c) Publishing and disseminating information and educational materials relating to this article, including to landlords to promote their participation in existing affordable housing programs;

(d) Conducting trainings and outreach for tenants and landlords at a minimum of four times per year;

(e) Serving as an advisor to the County Mayor on housing related policy matters;

(f) Assisting the County Mayor to secure resources to support tenant legal advocacy, including grants;

(g) Developing resources for landlords and tenants to promote housing stability;

(h) Serving as liaison with community and professional groups representing tenants and landlords;

(i) Performing such other administrative duties related to the Miami-Dade County Tenantís Bill of Rights as may be assigned by the County Mayor or the County Mayorís designee; and

(j) Performing such other duties, functions, powers, and responsibilities to further the purposes of this article.

(3) County Attorney. The County Attorneyís Office shall serve as legal counsel to the Office of Housing Advocacy and its Office of Housing Advocacy, or such other person or office designated by the County Mayor. The Office of Housing Advocacy, or such other person or office designated by the County Mayor, shall consult with the County Attorneyís Office regarding the interpretation of the provisions of this ordinance and the enforcement thereof, and shall be bound by any opinions issued by the County Attorney's Office regarding the provisions of this ordinance.

Sec. 17-167. Unlawful Practices

(1) Existing laws affording protections for tenants. It is the intent of this Board to restate and incorporate by reference the following unlawful practices, which are presently codified in the Code and state law, and it shall be unlawful for any landlord to:

(a) Terminate or interrupt any utility service in violation of section 83.67, Florida Statutes, whether the utility service is under the control of, or payment is made by, the landlord.

(b) Attempt to collect rent payments from a tenant or take any adverse action against such tenant, if:

(i) The tenant occupies a dwelling unit located in a condominium; and

(ii) The landlord is delinquent in paying any monetary obligation due to the condominium association, and a condominium association, in accordance with section 718.116(11), Florida Statutes, makes a written demand that the tenant pay to the association the subsequent rental payments and any other rental payments until all monetary obligations of the landlord related to the dwelling unit have been paid in full to the association or the association releases the tenant from making such payments, or the tenant discontinues tenancy in the dwelling unit.

(c) Engage in any prohibited acts as set forth in chapter 11A of the Code, including discrimination on the basis of a tenantís race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, pregnancy, age, disability, marital status, familial status, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, actual or perceived status as a victim of domestic violence, dating violence or stalking, or stalking, or source of income. Any person aggrieved by this section may file a housing discrimination complaint as prescribed by section 11A-14 or may file a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction in accordance with section 11A-15 of the Code. Notwithstanding the foregoing, it is not the intent of this subsection (c) to supersede the requirements or the remedies set forth in chapter 11A of the Code.

(2) Additional tenant rights. It is the intent of this Board to afford the following additional tenant rights, and it shall be unlawful for any landlord to:

(a) Fail to timely provide to each tenant the notice of tenantís rights as set forth in section 17-168 of this article.

(b) Fail to provide to each tenant a copy of the notice within 14 days of receipt of such notice from a government entity or from a condominium association that a residential building may be unsafe as defined by chapter 8, section 8-5 of the Code or other applicable state or local laws.

(c) Fail to provide a tenant who occupies a dwelling unit on a month-to-month basis a written notice of a change in ownership of such dwelling unit where such change in ownership may result in the tenantís tenancy being terminated. Notice must be provided at least 60-days prior to or simultaneously with change in ownership.

(d) Inquire about[[, consider,]] or require disclosure from a prospective or current tenant regarding their eviction history when considering an application for admission to, or continuing occupancy of, a dwelling unit until the prospective tenant or current tenant has been determined qualified for admission to, or continuing occupancy of, a dwelling unit.

(e) Take an adverse action against a tenant who makes necessary repairs on their own and deducts the cost from their rental payment, if:

(i) The landlord has failed to maintain the dwelling unit in accordance with section 83.51, Florida Statutes, and chapter 17, article II of the Code, and the tenant has evidence of such repairs, including, but not limited to, receipts, before and after photographs of the area of the dwelling unit that was repaired, and other similar documentation; and

(ii) The tenant has withheld rent and provided a 7-day notice of the landlordís failure to maintain the dwelling unit in accordance with section 83.56, Florida Statutes; and

(iii) The landlord fails to make the repairs required under law, despite the tenantís notice.

(f) Take any adverse action against a tenant in retaliation for the tenantís use of the Tenant Information Helpline established in accordance with section 17-169 of this article, or any agency or entity to which they are referred pursuant to using the helpline. There will be a rebuttable presumption that an adverse action is retaliatory if it occurs within 60 days after a tenant utilizes the Tenant Information Helpline, and no other reasonable basis for the adverse action exists between the tenant utilizing the Tenant Information Helpline and the landlordís adverse action.

(g) Retaliate, coerce, intimidate, make threats, or harass a tenant or any other person, who aides, or assist such tenant, in the exercise or enjoyment of any right granted or protected by this article.

(3) The provisions of this section 17-167 and the rights conferred herein shall apply to lease extensions and/or renewals of such leases.
Sec. 17-168. Notice of Tenantsí Rights.

(1) A landlord of a dwelling unit shall provide to each tenant, no later than 10 days after the commencement or renewal of a tenancy, a Notice of Tenant Rights (ďtenantís rights noticeĒ), published by the Office of Housing Advocacy, as outlined in subsection (6) of this section.

(2) The tenant shall review, acknowledge, sign and date the tenantís rights notice. The tenant must return the tenantsí rights notice to the landlord within 7 days of receipt and be provided with a signed copy for the tenantís records.

(3) The landlord of a dwelling unit shall maintain the most recent tenantsí rights notice in the tenantís file until at least 60 days after the end of the tenantís tenancy.

(4) A tenant shall be provided with a new tenantís rights notice within 10 days after the renewal date of the tenantís lease. The tenant must review, sign and date the tenantís rights notice. The tenant must return the tenantís rights notice to the landlord within 7 days of receipt and be provided with a copy for the tenantís records.

[[(5) The Office of Housing Advocacy may request that the landlord furnish signed copies of the tenantís rights notice for each tenant.

(6)]]>>(5)<
(a) Information regarding existing rights for tenants under federal, state, and local laws, including, but not limited to, those provided for in the following: the Federal Fair Housing Act (42 U.S.C. ß 3601), Florida Fair Housing Act (Fla. Stat. ß 760.20), Florida Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (chapter 83, Florida Statutes), and section 17-27 and chapter 11A, including, section 11A-2 of the Miami-Dade County Code.

(b) Information regarding the tenant information helpline as provided set forth in section 17-169.

(c) A web address to a list of federal, state, and local governmental and private agencies that may have the authority or expertise to address certain housing-related issues.

(d) A printed name block and a signature block for the tenant.

[[(7)]]>>(6)<
Sec. 17-169. Tenant Information Helpline and Website.

(1) The County Mayor or the County Mayorís designee shall establish, or contract to establish, a Tenant Information Helpline and to publicly post its phone number and hours of availability on the County website. The Tenant Information Helpline shall refer tenants to any agency or entity that can render assistance to the tenant for their particular issue. The Tenant Information Helpline shall be available in English, Spanish, and Creole.

(2) Information about the Tenant Information Helpline shall be included in the tenantís rights notice to be provided to tenants pursuant to section 17-168 of this article.

(3) In addition to the information related to the Tenant Information Helpline, the County Mayor or County Mayorís designee shall include on the website additional resource information that includes weblinks to such sources, including but not limited to legal services programs, and court and other related self-help programs for tenants. Additionally, the County Mayor or the County Mayorís designee shall include on such website downloadable forms approved by the Florida Bar. Such forms shall be available in English, Spanish, and Creole.
Sec. 17-170. Enforcement by private persons.

(1) A tenant may file a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction no later than two years after the alleged violation of this article.

(2) In a private enforcement proceeding under this article, the court may issue an order prohibiting the unlawful practice and providing affirmative relief from the effects of the practice, including equitable relief, temporary restraining order, actual and punitive damages, reasonable attorney's fees, interest, costs or other relief, upon a finding that a violation of section 17-167 has occurred or is about to occur.

Sec. 17-171. Reports to the Board of County Commissioners.

The County Mayor or the County Mayorís designee shall prepare and submit annual reports to the Board of County Commissioners summarizing the activities undertaken pursuant to this article. The report shall include, but is not limited to: (1) the number of complaints that were referred to other federal, state or local agencies; (2) the outreach and training activities undertaken by the Office of Housing Advocacy, including the dates and location of such outreach and training activities; and (3) any housing policy recommendations for the Boardís consideration. The annual reports shall be placed on the agenda of the committee of the Board of jurisdiction in accordance with Ordinance No. 14-65.

Section 2. If any section, subsection, sentence, clause or provision of this ordinance is held invalid, the remainder of this ordinance shall not be affected by such invalidity.
Section 3. It is the intention of the Board of County Commissioners, and it is hereby ordained that the provisions of this ordinance, including any sunset provision, shall become and be made a part of the Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida. The sections of this ordinance may be renumbered or relettered to accomplish such intention, and the word ďordinanceĒ may be changed to ďsection,Ē ďarticle,Ē or other appropriate word.
Section 4. This ordinance shall become effective ten (10) days after the date of enactment unless vetoed by the Mayor, and if vetoed, shall become effective only upon an override by this Board.
1 Committee amendments are indicated as follows: Words double stricken through and/or [[double bracketed]] are deleted, words double underlined and/or >>double arrowed<< are added.



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