GNV to repeal rental inspection program  

John Gates, a city codes enforcement officer, documents issues with a rental unit as part of the city's rental permitting program.
John Gates, a city codes enforcement officer, documents issues with a rental unit as part of the city's rental permitting program.
Courtesy of City of Gainesville

The city of Gainesville rental unit inspection program has been invalidated by a new state law and will need to be repealed, city staff told the City Commission on Thursday. 

Mayor Harvey Ward called the inspection program “collateral damage” from HB 1417, a state effort aimed at controlling other tenant-landlord regulation.  

“It’s a result, frankly, of sloppy bill writing—again,” Ward said. “Circumstance after circumstance we are finding that to be true both locally and across the state. It’s remarkably disappointing.” 

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The commission initially authorized the inspection program in September 2020 and it went into effect in October 2021. The program requires rental properties to meet a set of health, safety and maintenance standards. It also requires the units to meet U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) standards for energy efficiency. 

Gainesville staffers had been invited to other cities to discuss the program, and the DOE even honored the city for being the first city in the nation to include the home energy score in its rental housing ordinance. 

“This was a program that was designed to eliminate substandard residential units by creating a permanent inspection program where we go out and do quadrennial inspections of rental properties that are between one and four units,” Andrew Persons, a special adviser to the city manager on sustainable and equitable development, told the commission during a housing presentation at the general policy committee meeting. 

But a new law that went into effect on July 1 says that the state regulates residential tenancies and the landlord-tenant relationship and that local government regulations are preempted by state law. 

“Given the adoption of this law, we believe after some discussion with the [city] attorney’s office that the program as it exists, the ordinance as it exists, has been invalidated,” Persons said.  

Shuttering the program will cost 11 jobs currently dedicated to the program, and City Manager Cynthia Curry said the city would lose an estimated $900,000 in revenue in fiscal year 2024. 

Curry also said the human resources staff is looking for positions for the affected employees, who will remain employed at the city through Sept. 30. She said the city’s general codes enforcement department only had one current officer vacancy. 

In addition to the rental inspection program, the city will need to alter or drop other parts of city code that regulate rentals, including the city’s occupancy limit, which prevents rentals to more than three unrelated people.  

City Attorney Daniel Nee said he doesn’t think the city’s program was particularly targeted by the state but that the law “has certainly swept up our program in the preemption.”  

However, Gainesville still can enforce the minimum housing standards, Nee said. 

“We aren’t going to be able to really regulate landlords,” said Commissioner Reina Saco. “It’s going to come down to what can we do as far as land use and zoning. … I think we have to really buckle down and accept the reality that we live in.” 

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Jeffrey Shapiro

Ms. Broadway is doing an excellent job reporting on Gainesville’s mandated actions in following state laws that are causing economic and organizational havoc for the city and its residents.

Gainesville Dad

Speak for yourself, Shapiro. No one in Gainesville was in favor of the wasteful and intrusive inspection programs, including tenants, and the majority of citizens and TAXPAYERS in this city are in favor of the State finally coming to defend us from these local petty tyrants that have all but destroyed our once great city.

The city has been mandated to cut the budget and to stop STEALING from taxpayers through the GRU “transfer fund” (slush fund), and the cuts so far have been pathetic. Looks like we can cut 11 more useless jobs from the bloated workforce of more than *1600* city employees.

You know local government is truly inept and corrupt when local citizens are actually cheering for the state to come in and save us.

Jeff Gehmann

You are clearly upside down on this! GNC ccom has almost destroyed the nice place we once had through radical liberal policies and overzealous spending, trying to turn this city into a little Seattle, Chicago, or San Francisco.

Les Smith

State government seems really intent on concentrating power in Tallahassee by eliminating local control.

Jeff Gehmann

Another example of city Comm overreach into something unneeded…for fees! Key concern from city Mgr.:”city would lose an estimated $900,000 in revenue”, duh…one of the main reasons to begin with as well as having power over people. GNV is not an island on its own. It IS part of the state of FL, and part of the US governed by the Constitution. No, you can’t do away with gun rights, legalize illegal drugs, raise utility rates to unaffordable levels without being shut down (they tried all 3!). The state SHOULD take over city hall and remove the entire city commission, replace with sensible appointees, the elect one city commissioner per year until it is replaced.

Cynthia binder

Strange all this
The Gainesville area approximately 9 years ago is not the Gainesville fl today. Trust me I ride a bicycle, the air is even better…..then..🏚 now🏠.
Quality life is great when listen ,act upon a result thats improvements.
Rundown over ruined by neglect maybe there or here. Cleaning up remodeling is necessary as decades past. Before visionary what right is better for living.
Appointed by a governor DeSantis honestly behind closed doors . Gainesville utilities has been around before the Civil war……….railroads too. Telegraph too.
Whos the outsiders now….🚪


Good. This was a ridiculous ordinance which would have required things like low flow toilets which are NOT economically a good idea. Liberal City Government overreach. No other city in Florida requires these so called “energy efficiency “standards.

Darlene Pifalo

Yes the city went crazy with what they wanted and many people already sold their rental properties….and bought other homes in other counties too… let’s see if any come back to that will help renters…!!!


I wonder when they will refund to the owners the monies they had to pay for this inspection program….that’s the bigger question. As for the state, they don’t bother to inspect anything. With so many living in campers, sheds and cars–we need affordable housing in this county. The only thing the building in G’ville has done is put in more high cost apartments without any regulations requiring rent control…plus they are all rent by the bedroom which does not support families.


I know someone that is being kicked out of rental because the landlord is an 85 yr old woman who has to now do repairs before the tenant can stay there and it will take time . the tenant is fine living there but is now looking at unaffordable housing and afraid they will be homeless. Oh but wait the city has a program for the homeless… Shame on the city for not thinking about how these laws will affect people’s lives and not having a plan for people who are ok to live and work with their landlord in an effort to not be homeless

Dennis Blay

The headline was misleading. The objections to this ordinance were based on the socalled “energy efficiency” standards. The State already has health and safety laws like requiring smoke detectors or not having rats or mold. The City was pushing for things like low flow toilets which cost a bundle with very little savings and of course the cost would be passed on to the tenants to make property more UNaffordable.
By the way, this only applied to 1-4 units or small business landlords. Apartment complexes which are usually the biggest violators of health and safety standards were NOT included.
A very BAD idea that would once again GOUGE the little guy.

Neal Devine

I agree that just as much or more focus should be on the larger units. But as a property manager for dozens of historic properties from 2 to 7 bedrooms, I welcomed and applauded this program, even as it was a bit tedious on start up. One reason it wasn’t difficult for us is because we already kept our houses to proper standards. Places all around ours are often substandard – many landlords get away with way too much here in Gainesville. They charge (sometimes) lower rents, but with a wink wink to “don’t expect us to keep minimal standards of upkeep and safety”. I get so many tenants coming my way by word of mouth because they hear that I do keep basic standards and the slightly higher rent is way offset by quality of life improvements. And they are floored by the idea that I would come the next day to meet most of their concern/repair needs. Sure the program pinched us a little here and there but nothing unreasonable was expected and the result is we were helped along in getting our places to where we wanted to be anyway. In fact, for any inconvenience in time and money that the program cost us, will be quickly offset by the returns. With the end of the inspection program the losers are again the tenants. The old humanizing housing stock and neighborhoods will continue to decay, being milked for all they can, and owners can eventually sell off to high rise and other de-humanizing development.