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Lawyers work to negotiate lower rent for Meadows tenants

Posted at 8:16 PM, Jan 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-18 20:16:56-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — People living in the Meadows were previously paying as little as $350 per month to keep a roof over their heads.

But, with new management from Florida Sun Estates taking over, that monthly figure could be closer to $800. The significant increase caused city leaders to get involved.

"We have been out with volunteers canvassing, flyering, the tenants to connect them with resources that are being offered by the Tallahassee Housing Authority, and the Big Bend Homeless Coalition who have made emergency housing vouchers and rapid rehousing vouchers available," said city commissioner Jack Porter.

They're also connecting people with Legal Services of North Florida. Lawyers there hope to have successfully negotiated a compromise by the end of the week.

"The good news is we were able to try to work out a reasonable amount," explained staff attorney Giovanni Bush. "As of right now, it's been a couple of hundred dollars for those that actually own their mobile home outright."

Even with that compromise, many would likely still see their rent increase by around $200.

"I think it's a great improvement from where we were," Porter answered when asked if the ballpark figure was too high. "We still have work to do. That protection is only for, if I'm understanding correctly, folks who already own their mobile homes and the rental lot fee. But we have not yet made significant progress on individual renters. But I think that any help is help, and so I feel good about it but hope that we will see other victories that will make a difference as well."

Porter invites anyone in the Meadows, who has not done so already, to contact her office or the city to explore affordable housing options.

Legal Services of North Florida will also host another clinic to further assist renters on Jan. 20 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the South City Foundation Tech Hub.