Miami-Dade County Mayor Proposes Subsidizing Landlords
What Could Go Wrong?
Living in Miami is expensive. But Miami-Dade Mayor, Daniella Levine Cava, has a plan. Uh oh. Never trust a person who takes a photo with a mask on and then makes that photo their homepage. The virus doesn’t spread through the screen, people.
What’s her plan, you ask? Well, Mayor Levine Cava is proposing monthly subsidies to landlords in an effort to lower rental costs.1 You heard that right … subsidies to landlords, not renters. If approved, this program would go into effect next year. What could go wrong?
The Workforce Housing Incentive Program
The proposal, known as the Workforce Housing Incentive Program, has $10 million in subsidies on the table. The workforce program is apparently targeted towards the middle-class, not the poor. This becomes obvious by the fact that renting families earning up to 140% of the Area Median Income (AMI) could be eligible. That’s over $130,000 a year for a family of four.2 Perhaps the mayor realizes the county’s policies have been destroying the middle class over the years. But this program will likely continue the destruction by creating new welfare dependents out of the middle class.
The program would require landlords to reduce rents to “workforce” levels. What is a “workforce” level, you ask? Hell if I know. It’s subjective, of course. It’s whatever a bureaucrat feels is affordable. The proposed guidelines would set a maximum rental cap of $3,073 per month for a two-bedroom apartment.
The program works such that a landlord is compensated with a subsidy for their reduction in rent. The renters win and the landlords win. Everybody is happy, right? No. As Happy Gilmore once said, “the price is wrong, bitch!”
Like a magician hiding the true method of a trick, such a subsidy proposal only hides the method of rental payments. The cost of living won’t be reduced, it will only be hidden. So, who pays? Well, it ain’t going to be the landlords. It’ll be the middle class paying on the back-end through taxes.
According to Douglas Hanks of the Miami Herald,
Large apartment operators and builders helped design the new subsidy program, and joined Levine Cava at an Aug. 29 press conference promoting it as part of her $86 million “HOMES” housing initiative that’s also part of her budget plan.
“We actually helped draft the legislation,” Ana VeigaMilton said before joining Levine Cava at the podium. The Milton family owns United Property Management, one of the largest residential landlords in Miami-Dade. “It was a completely collaborative effort between the public sector and the private sector,” VeigaMilton said.
Read that again. Large apartment landlords helped to come up with this plan. You don’t say! Sounds legit.
The workforce program would pay landlords about $167 per month to reduce their rent. Now call me crazy cynical, but I suspect that landlords will be jacking up their rents to meet the maximum cap such that they, all of a sudden, qualify for the free money. Prepare for backfire.
But landlords shouldn’t grin just yet. If you deal with the devil you are going to get burned. Taking these subsidies means you will be under more control of those that feed you. But, perhaps it’s the landlords that are feeding the mayor. Hmmm.