A special MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
april 29, 1976
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners convened in Special Session on Thursday, April 29, 1976, at 10:00 a.m., in the Fourth Floor Courtroom, Courthouse, Tavares, Florida to discuss the rent regulation concerning Mid Florida Lakes and other mobile home villages in Lake County. Present were: Thomas J. Windram, Chairman; C.A. “Lex” Deems; Glenn C. Burhans; James R. Carson, Jr.; and J. M. Hoskinson. Others present were: James C. Watkins, Clerk; Christopher C. Ford, County Attorney; Mike Willett, Planning Director; and Andrea Gambrell and Dinah Williams, Deputy Clerks.
The Invocation was given by James C. Watkins, Clerk, and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Thomas J. Windram.
Commr. Windram established ground rules that the meeting would follow. He also asked if there would be a specific spokesman for Mid Florida Lakes and was informed that there would be three spokesmen. He asked that these spokesmen explain to the members of the Board the basis of the problem.
Mr. Albert Elleck, President of the Village Club of Mid Florida Lakes, appeared before the Board, informing them of the history of Mid Florida Lakes. He stated that Mid Florida Lakes was owned by AMREP Corporation until 1974 and then was sold to Deanza Corporation. After this transfer of ownership, the rents increased 95 to 100 percent. He also stated that the degree of services and maintenance provided to the residents had been decreased under the new management.
Mr. Gordon McMahn, Vice President of the Village Club of Mid Florida Lakes, appeared before the Board and presented information regarding Deanza’s expenditures and prospective revenues. He stated the revenues were based upon those funds received from the increased rentals. He specified that the residents of Mid Florida Lakes feel that DeAnza Corporation should receive their fair profit, but the rent increase amount is unjustified.
Mr. Hubert Stevens, President of the Mid Florida Lakes unit of the Mobile Home Owners Association of Florida, appeared before the Board and concurred with the feelings of the previous spokesmen.
Commr. Windram at this time asked if there was a representative of DeAnza Corporation present in the audience.
Mr. Bill Sellers, Manager of Mid Florida Lakes, appeared before the Board and stated that according to information he has received, he did not know of anyone whose rent had been increased 100 percent. He did say that the rent increase would be in the range of 50 percent. He also stated that he was opposed to local rent control, because he believed the cost involved in establishing such a commission would be a burden on mobile home owners.
The following people voiced their opinions to the Board concerning the rent increase:
R. L. Jarvis
Charles Johnson – Hawthorne
Jesse Grosdorf – Mid Florida Lakes
Robert Bruhns – Mid Florida Lakes
Leo Lawson – East Lake Harris Estates
Leonard Boast - Mid Florida Lakes
A. Besbeck - Mid Florida Lakes
Julius Saxo - Mid Florida Lakes
Vincent Drexler - Mid Florida Lakes
Harry Spots - Mid Florida Lakes
Harold Haus – Palm Garden Park
Helen Stark – Hawthorne
The points of discussion of concern to them were that the rent was increasing an unrealistic percentage, yet the services and maintenance, which is included in the rent, are dwindling. The residents of these mobile home parks have invested more on their lots than the owners of the parks, and yet they have no protection regarding the escalation in rent.
Commr. Windram at this time asked Christopher C. Ford, County Attorney, to report to the Board and public on the information he has compiled through his research concerning the question of rent control on a local level.
Mr. Ford stated that there are two Florida Supreme Court cases which he will use for examples. The first one was in 1972 that actually held point blank that you could not have city rent control ordinances in Florida. The legislature of the State of Florida passed what was called the Municipal Home Rule Act, which is very similar to what counties operate under if you are a non-charter county which is a home rule type county The Supreme Court of Florida then said that you could pass a rent control ordinance; however, in that case it held it unconstitutional and laid down the guidelines for the rent control ordinance; it was stated that there has to be a public emergency to be lawful, for example a housing shortage.
Mr. Ford also stated that the Attorney General in Florida has also written an opinion on April 3, 1975 concerning local rent control. The Attorney General states that he is aware of no statute which authorizes the Board of County Commissioners of a non-charter county to adopt rent control ordinances or of any express grant of authority in which the power of a Board to enact a rent control ordinance can be implied. The Attorney General also stated that it would not be lawful for the Board of County Commissioners to propose an ordinance establishing local rent control.
Commr. Hoskinson stated that the proper avenue for the people to follow would be to support enactment of statewide legislation.
Mr. Thomas Grizzard, President of East Lake Harris Estates, a licensed mobile home dealer and a member of the Leesburg Board of Realtors, appeared before the Board and stated that he is very much opposed to local government establishing rent control. He also feels that there is no rental problem regarding mobile home parks in our area to justify local rent control.
Mr. Owen Hietpas, Manager of Corley Island, appeared before the Board and concurred with the feelings of the Mobile Home Park Management.
Commr. Hoskinson presented to the Board a copy of the Bill introduced by Representative Langley for statewide rent regulations. This bill states that a State Mobile Home Tenant Landlord Trust Fund will be created, and it will require mobile home parks, which contain 100 or more dwelling units to register with the commission and pay a $1.00 fee per dwelling unit that is occupied
The Board suggested that the people should contact other mobile home park residents in the State of Florida and have them contact their local Representatives requesting them to take an interest in this proposed bill. The Board also stated that they will study this bill and contact the Lake County Legislative Delegation expressing the Board’s feelings concerning the bill regarding rent regulations.
On a motion by Commr. Hoskinson, seconded by Commr. Carson and carried unanimously, the Board recommended that our legislative Delegation pursue statewide legislation in this area.
There being no further business to be brought before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 12:00 p.m.
C.A. “Lex” deems, chairman
James C. Watkins, Clerk