Broken appliances and missing smoke detectors in Gainesville rental homes may become a thing of the past in 2019.
The Alachua County Labor Coalition held a two-hour-long Renters’ Rights city subcommittee meeting at the Gainesville Regional Utilities building to discuss subpar safety standards in rental homes Tuesday afternoon, said Jeremiah Tattersall, the lead coalition organizer.
The goal is to make sure every rental unit in Alachua County has a minimum efficiency standard, such as proper air conditioning and appliances that aren’t “200 years old,” Tattersall said.
When renting a property, it is vital for citizens to be aware of their rights, City Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos said.
Energy efficiency in rental units falls under a similar conversation to the 2040 waste-free initiative in Gainesville, City Commissioner David Arreola said in September. Improving utilities in homes allows a decrease in energy usage and bills.
“The goal is to look at ensuring that every rental unit in the city is up to health safety standards and looking for different ways to achieve that,” Hayes-Santos said.
In order to ensure every rental unit would be up to a certain standard, Tattersall said the county should offer a universal landlord license for homes that aren’t in single-family neighborhoods to be licensed as well.
On Dec. 18, the subcommittee will meet to discuss energy-efficient standards and security deposits, Tattersall said. Prohibiting discrimination against those with different national origins, income levels and citizenship statuses are also topics on the table.
Subcommittee members hope to see strong ordinances passed by February 2019, Tattersall said.
“I certainly believe we’re going to get strong ordinances in places to increase not just the number but quality of affordable rental units,” Tattersall said.