Monday, June 06, 2022

St. Augustine restaurateurs say their workforce has been priced out of town. (By Stuart Korfhage, Jacksonville Business Journal)

Our tourism worker are being priced out of the housing market. Florida law allows rent control in emergencies. Employers need to help with drafting legislation and lobbying local governments.

Have greedy corporate landlords priced our tourism employees out of the monopolistic housing market in St. Augustine, Florida?

Rent control laws are illegal in Florida, except in emergencies.  

Sounds to me like this is an "emergency."

Employers need to support emergency rent controls.

It's the right thing to do,

Otherwise, are they just playing for sympathy?  

Quo vobis videtor?

(What do y'all reckon?)

Would someone please ask the City and County Attorneys to do some legal research? 

See below for full text of Florida Statute 166.043 Ordinances and rules imposing price controls; findings required; procedures.


St. Augustine restaurateurs say their workforce has been priced out of town

IN THIS ARTICLE

In the meantime, though, restaurant owners like Gypsy Cab Co.’s Frank O’Rourke, who has also been a real estate broker for over 20 years, said the “nonexistent” affordable housing options available to workers means local restaurant owners have to raise wages even more than other First Coast businesses have in order to attract employees.

For these restaurants — whose margins have become even thinner with elevated food prices — raising wages often also forces higher menu prices. 

Deciding to raise prices, though, is not an easy decision for most restaurants.

“Price sensitivity is such a slippery slope,” O’Rourke said. “We have to stay in business, but we also can’t price ourselves out of the market.” 

To succeed on even thinner margins requires an increase in sales volume, which he admitted was not easy to achieve with fewer high-quality workers.

O’Rourke said that while it’s nice to see his employees being rewarded with higher wages for their hard work, he fears much of their gains are being canceled out by the same economic forces straining businesses.

“Even though it sounds good — ‘I’m making $3 an hour more’ — well, your rent’s also 30% higher, and gas is higher, and food is higher,” he said.




166.043 Ordinances and rules imposing price controls; findings required; procedures.
(1)(a) Except as hereinafter provided, no county, municipality, or other entity of local government shall adopt or maintain in effect an ordinance or a rule which has the effect of imposing price controls upon a lawful business activity which is not franchised by, owned by, or under contract with, the governmental agency, unless specifically provided by general law.
(b) The provisions of this section shall not prevent the enactment by local governments of public service rates otherwise authorized by law, including water, sewer, solid waste, public transportation, taxicab, or port rates, rates for towing of vehicles from or immobilization of vehicles on private property, or rates for removal and storage of wrecked or disabled vehicles from an accident scene or the removal and storage of vehicles in the event the owner or operator is incapacitated, unavailable, leaves the procurement of wrecker service to the law enforcement officer at the scene, or otherwise does not consent to the removal of the vehicle.
(c) Counties must establish maximum rates which may be charged on the towing of vehicles from or immobilization of vehicles on private property, removal and storage of wrecked or disabled vehicles from an accident scene or for the removal and storage of vehicles, in the event the owner or operator is incapacitated, unavailable, leaves the procurement of wrecker service to the law enforcement officer at the scene, or otherwise does not consent to the removal of the vehicle. However, if a municipality chooses to enact an ordinance establishing the maximum fees for the towing or immobilization of vehicles as described in paragraph (b), the county’s ordinance established under s. 125.0103 shall not apply within such municipality.
(2) No law, ordinance, rule, or other measure which would have the effect of imposing controls on rents shall be adopted or maintained in effect except as provided herein and unless it is found and determined, as hereinafter provided, that such controls are necessary and proper to eliminate an existing housing emergency which is so grave as to constitute a serious menace to the general public.
(3) Any law, ordinance, rule, or other measure which has the effect of imposing controls on rents shall terminate and expire within 1 year and shall not be extended or renewed except by the adoption of a new measure meeting all the requirements of this section.
(4) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section, no controls shall be imposed on rents for any accommodation used or offered for residential purposes as a seasonal or tourist unit, as a second housing unit, or on rents for dwelling units located in luxury apartment buildings. For the purposes of this section, a luxury apartment building is one wherein on January 1, 1977, the aggregate rent due on a monthly basis from all dwelling units as stated in leases or rent lists existing on that date divided by the number of dwelling units exceeds $250.
(5) No municipality, county, or other entity of local government shall adopt or maintain in effect any law, ordinance, rule, or other measure which would have the effect of imposing controls on rents unless:
(a) Such measure is duly adopted by the governing body of such entity of local government, after notice and public hearing, in accordance with all applicable provisions of the Florida and United States Constitutions, the charter or charters governing such entity of local government, this section, and any other applicable laws.
(b) Such governing body makes and recites in such measure its findings establishing the existence in fact of a housing emergency so grave as to constitute a serious menace to the general public and that such controls are necessary and proper to eliminate such grave housing emergency.
(c) Such measure is approved by the voters in such municipality, county, or other entity of local government.
(6) In any court action brought to challenge the validity of rent control imposed pursuant to the provisions of this section, the evidentiary effect of any findings or recitations required by subsection (5) shall be limited to imposing upon any party challenging the validity of such measure the burden of going forward with the evidence, and the burden of proof (that is, the risk of nonpersuasion) shall rest upon any party seeking to have the measure upheld.
(7) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section, municipalities, counties, or other entity of local government may adopt and maintain in effect any law, ordinance, rule, or other measure which is adopted for the purposes of increasing the supply of affordable housing using land use mechanisms such as inclusionary housing ordinances.
History.ss. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, ch. 77-50; s. 82, ch. 79-400; s. 2, ch. 88-240; s. 3, ch. 90-283; s. 53, ch. 97-300; s. 5, ch. 98-324; s. 9, ch. 99-360; s. 34, ch. 2001-201.



From Jacksonville Business Journal:



No comments: