The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) voted to suspend its rental permit program on Tuesday since the Florida Legislature passed a law that prevents cities and counties from interfering with landlord and tenant contracts.
The vote follows an identical decision by the Gainesville City Commission last week. Gainesville started its program in October 2021, and Alachua County borrowed elements to begin its own program, scheduled to start this October. However, with the state preemption, the BOCC program will have never lifted off the ground.
Tuesday’s multipart motion directed staff to suspend the program, bring back a full repeal ordinance, reimburse landlords who had already paid the fee and examine ways to incorporate elements from the rental program into the county’s code of ordinances.
“It's not like we have a lot of options,” Chair Anna Prizzia said. “It's disappointing because I know our staff did a lot of work on this, we really appreciated all the diligence and the hard work that was put into this program to make it the best it could be for our renters.”
Commissioner Mary Alford made the motion and also suggested that staff examine how other counties with rental permit ordinances will transition.
Gainesville and Alachua County landlords spoke against the county implementing the program last year, with a group of around 70 retaining an attorney. The local governments called the program a way to crack down on substandard housing while landlords said the program encroached on their rights and would hurt renters as well.