The rent’s too high
Could St. Petersburg actually halt rent increases for one year? | Dec. 17
The Tampa Bay metro area has seen a 24 percent rent increases in the last year, pricing many out of their homes and onto the streets. Working families simply cannot afford this massive jump in prices. This rapid increase in rent can be explained very clearly: maintaining/increasing profit margins. Over the last year, many landlords have had to contend with some small protections for renters in the form of eviction moratoriums and money from the federal government to pay back rent. After these protections were lifted, we’re seeing higher rents than ever. A rent freeze is the least we can do to stop the bleeding of the working class. Capping rent to 30 percent of a tenant’s income would be even better. These are short-term solutions to the problem, however. We must ensure that housing is a human right for everyone in the Tampa Bay area. Our local governments have the ability and the resources to do so.
Jack Wallace, St. Petersburg
How to enforce inspections
Why wait 40 years to inspect buildings? | Editorial, Dec. 27
In Florida condo construction, concrete is reinforced with rebar — basically a iron rod — and over time cracks will open, allowing moisture/water to be in contact with the support rods, while at the same time slowly deteriorating the concrete. For wooden structures, mold and rot from Florida humidity result in heath and integrity issues. Inspections are typically lifted up to a condo board by its management company. However, inspections can be kicked down the road if the board doesn’t pass to proceed. If a building has a high percentage of renters, the unit owners are many times are out of sight, out of mind, and spending dollars on unsexy items like inspections is not important. In my opinion, 30-year inspections are a joke in Florida’s environment, 15 years is better and 10 years best. As for enforcing, insurance companies can require proof of certified inspections, or coverage is dropped. It’s that simple.
Darryl David, St. Petersburg
Count each vote
Making elections safe | Letter, Dec. 26
In response to the letter from the president of the conservative Public Interest Legal Foundation, I would say that one legitimate vote denied is one too many.
Kenneth Key, Tampa