The Hillsborough County Tenant Bill of Rights: March 2023 Update.

The Hillsborough County Tenant Bill of Rights: March 2023 Update.

In 2021, Hillsborough County, Florida, passed a “Tenant Bill of Rights,” and it was a hot topic in the property management world. Our April 2021 blog post on the topic discussed the key provisions of the ordinance, such as prohibiting discrimination based on source of income and mandating a minimum notice period for rent increases. We also covered the new ordinance’s potential impact on tenants and landlords in Hillsborough County. Nearly two years later, many wonder how the bill has impacted the property management industry and landlords. 

We sat down with Vintage Real Estate Founder Dave Sigler, who provided valuable insight into how the Bill has impacted the housing industry.

Interview with Dave Sigler, Property Management Expert

What is your opinion on the Tenant Bill of Rights, and are you seeing any issues with it since it was passed?
I think the Bill is ultimately a good thing because it puts everybody on the same page in a landlord/tenant relationship. We’re already seeing that regulations established at a state level don’t match what is happening locally. There is no consistency between city, county, and state guidelines in some cases regarding things like timelines and compliance requirements for landlords. There needs to be continuity, or it will be a mess.

Do you have any specific examples of landlords' challenges with implementing the Tenant Bill of Rights?
Specifically, guidelines are inconsistent regarding how long an eviction takes and the cadence of raising rental rates. These are significant issues that need to be addressed, and landlords could get in big trouble if they’re not compliant, even if they’re not aware of the legislation.

Do you think most landlords even know about this bill?
No, most landlords do not know about the Tenant Bill of Rights. Most landlords in Florida are “mom & pop” types;  they manage their own properties and are either unaware of these changes or think they don’t apply to them. With professional property management organizations like ours, it’s part of our business to stay on top of these things and ensure our landlords comply.

How are landlords who self-manage their properties expected to know about these regulations? Do they have to get a license before renting out their property, or are they just on their own?
They just have to watch the news, there is no licensing requirement and, therefore, no formal notification system of legislation changes, which puts them at huge legal risk. They have to manage and educate themselves regarding rental regulations.

Most of them probably aren't doing that, which leaves them vulnerable to lawsuits, right?
Yes, especially discrimination lawsuits since a big focus of the bill is related to Section 8 tenants. A huge part of our job is mitigating legal risks for landlords; by having us manage the property, they are protected in many ways.

What steps is Vintage Real Estate taking to comply with the Tenant Bill of Rights?
We provide the Bill of Rights to all applicants and tenants up front. It communicates their rights and responsibilities as well as ours and the landlords. We had a process rolled out right after the bill was passed.

How have you seen the Bill of Rights impact costs for landlords and property managers?
We haven’t seen an immediate significant surge in costs, no, other than assembling and distributing literature on the topic. The potential financial consequences would come if a landlord can’t evict a non-paying tenant quickly or if they are non-compliant and get sued. 

Is the Tenant Bill of Rights finalized? Have there been any changes?
It’s an evolving document which is why it’s so complicated. There are lots of potential issues with a document that changes over time. We are being told it will be frequently updated as necessary with additional rights for tenants.

What changes have been made thus far?
There has already been a change to the bill in the section regarding the source of tenant income when applying for rentals. When the Bill first became law, there wasn’t much in the way of guidelines around source of income discrimination, and now there are.

Do you think any people are trying to take advantage of the Bill?
There was a huge influx of calls around right before, and right after the Bill passed that felt like phishing; people asking very specific questions about our application process and Section 8. It felt like a setup. Luckily, we are compliant.

What real-life examples of compliance issues that a landlord might unintentionally miss?

You have to provide written information to your residents on their rights, including an overview of the Tenant’s Bill of Rights and where the tenant can go if they feel their rights have been violated. This must be provided in English and Spanish before they submit an application for your property.

Another compliance issue you might miss is providing written notice concerning late fees before the fee is assessed. It’s now illegal to charge a late fee without giving them prior written notice that you’ll make that charge. The notice must include the justification for the late fee charge and the amount that will be charged in addition to rent. You’ll also need to stipulate whether that late fee will continue to accrue until the rent is paid. This written notice must be provided every time you charge a late fee. It’s not enough to put this information in the lease agreement; a notice has to be provided before the late fee is charged.

You also cannot deny an applicant based on their source of income. For example, Section 8 is now considered “income,” which must be considered when processing an application, using an inheritance is now a legitimate way to pay rent, and someone whose job pays cash is legitimate (as long as it’s legal and verifiable). If you refuse the application simply because of the tenant’s source of income, you will be discriminating against that applicant.

Does Vintage Real Estate do evictions as a first service?
Absolutely. Our first contact with customers is often because they need help with an eviction. We assist them with that as a service, then help them place a good tenant and manage the rental. 

Rental Compliance Advice in Tampa: 

If you’re a Tampa Bay area property landlord and need help with an eviction or general property management services and compliance, contact Vintage Real Estate today.


Dave Sigler, MPM RMPC

Owner/Broker Vintage Real Estate Services

David Sigler is a Florida native who grew up in Fort Lauderdale Florida. He attended the University of Central Florida where he received his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. David has since become a licensed General Contractor & Real Estate Broker. He has been active in Florida real estate and construction for over 15 years. During the Great Recession he was forced to refocus his ambitions and landed on property management. Starting with a handful of homes that could not be sold, he grew his portfolio and eventually bought the brokerage. With his experience, knowledge, and resources, his company prides themselves on successful turn-key residential investment solutions. He now manages hundreds of homes covering 5 counties and his construction company provides maintenance services to his management company as well as other local managers. David is an active member of the National Association Residential Property Managers and has served on the Florida State Board for over 6 years in many different roles; most recently as the NARPM Florida Chapter President (2019). Active in the GTR community, he has served on the property management subcommittee for over 4 years and recently as chair of the group. He is also active in local and state legislation that affects the property management industry. His unique understanding and perspective of property management and its associated maintenance has provided him with numerous public speaking opportunities. Outside of work, not only is he an avid outdoors man and a board member for several local Non-Profit organizations, but first and foremost a Father and Husband.

Director of Property Management Committee for Greater Tampa Realtors Association
2019 NARPM State President