MIAMI (WSVN) - With South Florida locked in the country’s worst housing crisis Miami-Dade’s mayor is taking action aimed at helping residents struggling with their rent.

A tenant bill of rights is now on the books in Miami-Dade.

“We are working tirelessly to ensure that housing is more affordable, that it’s available and it’s accessible to all of those who call Miami-Dade County home,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.

It’s a move county leaders hope eases the pain or at least helps somehow with soaring housing costs in South Florida, with the state being recently named one of the least affordable in the country.

“I love my apartment,” said renter Lauren Bergman.

Bergman decided to stay despite the double digit percentage increase on her rent for a 1 bedroom condo in Edgewater.

“I’m on the luckier side,” said Bergman “but it’s still over 20% in a year.”

Berman’s rent rose roughly $400 per month, but some in Miami’s metro area have seen their rents double and even triple, all because of surging demand to live in paradise.

According to reports, the average rent increase in Miami is just below 40%.

“I think it’s criminal, to be honest. I think people who have lived here all their lives are suffering now because of the expense of everyone moving here,” said Bergman.

It might not be criminal, but it is a crisis the county is trying to address.

Under Miami-Dade’s new tenant bill of rights:

  • Allows tenants to deduct costs of neglected repairs from rent.
  • Ban landlords from asking about past evictions.
  • Establish office of housing advocacy.
  • Landlords are required to notify tenants of new owners.
  • Protect tenants from retaliation if they seek government help against their landlord.

This year, a new ordinance requires landlords to give 60 days notice when they increase rent by more than 5%, and although it won’t cap rent hikes…

“There’s new rights, there’s new programs, and we’re working as hard as we can to make sure that everybody can safely and affordably stay here,” said Levine Cava.

The bill of rights officially goes into effect May 14.

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