DeSantis Signs Bill Allowing Landlords to Charge Perpetual Monthly Fees

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By Giselle Balido

June 5, 2023

Opponents of the measure point out that renters would not be able to get the limitless, nonrefundable fees back after they move out.

As rental prices continue to skyrocket across the Sunshine State, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law that allows landlords to collect perpetual, uncapped monthly fees from renters instead of security deposits.

Under the controversial new measure, landlords would be allowed to offer the option of paying monthly fees instead of security deposits that can sometimes run into the thousands of dollars.

Those in support of HB 133 say the legislation provides an option to help renters who don’t have the available funds get into apartments without having to come up with the money upfront.

RELATED: Why Can’t Florida Fix Its Housing Crisis? The GOP Legislature Won’t Use This Program.

But there are no limits to the fees that landlords can charge, “so they could theoretically charge $25 per month, or they could charge $200 per month, explained an attorney for the Orange County Legal Aid Society.

‘A Poor Tax, Plain as Day’

Opponents of the measure, like Rep. Angie Nixon, a Democrat from Jacksonville, pointed out that unlike with security deposits, renters would not be able to get the nonrefundable fees back after they move out. Plus, they could still be forced to pay repairs for any damage to their apartments. 

“This bill targets low-income, working-class people, period,” Nixon said, calling the bill “perpetual junk fees.”

“This is a poor tax, plain as day,” she added. 

Thalia P. Ayala, a Miami hospitality worker for a major national hotel chain, agrees with Rep. Nixon.

“More fees for renters? Rents are high enough, and now this,” Ayala told Floricua. “Paying an additional fee puts a strain on my budget, which is stretched enough as it is. And the fees are nonrefundable, but I still will need to pay for damages to the apartment? It doesn’t feel like a good deal for us.”

A Crisis That Was Created

The state of Florida ranks number one in the US in housing unaffordability, with 56.5% of renters spending 30% or more of their income on housing. 

Rather than address the growing rental crisis in the state, DeSantis has signed legislation banning local rent control, and another bill that would eliminate local tenant protection ordinances could also become law.

RELATED: ‘It Has Come to the Point Where You Wonder if You Can Stay in This City,’ Floridians Ask as Prices Soar

Democratic House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell says state Republicans actually created the current housing crisis as well. Over 20 years ago, the Florida legislature established a trust, the Sadowski Fund, to build affordable housing across the state. But according to Driskell, DeSantis and state Republicans are using that affordable housing money as their own trust fund.

“If they decided they wanted to give some corporate tax giveaways to big corporations, they would take money from affordable housing and give it away to corporations or spend it on pet projects,” Driskell told Floricua during a one-on-one interview.  

“Anything but affordable housing.”


  • Giselle Balido

    Giselle is Floricua's political correspondent. She writes about the economy, environmental and social justice, and all things Latino. A published author, Giselle was born in Havana and grew up in New Jersey and Miami. She is passionate about equality, books, and cats.



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