As rents soar, middle-income Central Floridians fret

The rent is going up on Susan Tolksdorf’s two-bedroom townhouse in Lake Mary.

And the place is getting more cramped with her husband and two little girls sharing space. They hope to find a three-bedroom place soon, but Tolksdorf said they are already stretched financially.

When she moved to Central Florida in 2007, she rented a two bedroom unit for $700. Today, the same unit goes for about $1,400, she said.

“It takes a toll on our health to have to worry about how we are going to survive,” said Tolksdorf, who works as a receptionist and has a second job in retail. “We’re better off I’m sure than most, but it’s challenging.”

Central Florida rental rates have grown at about twice the national average during the past five years, according to newly released data from Apartment List’s Rentonomics.

As of April, it cost $1,280 to rent a two-bedroom home or apartment in Orlando, compared with $1,003 in January 2014.

At today’s pricing, a two-bedroom home or apartment is considered unaffordable to about 55 percent of the region’s households that would have to spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent, said Chris Salviati, a housing economist with Apartment List. In Central Florida, about 40 percent of all homes are rentals, higher than the national average of 36 percent.

The rents are even higher in the suburbs. A two-bedroom apartment in Lake Mary on average costs $1,600 a month. A two-bedroom place in Oviedo is $1,540, and Ocoee/Winter Garden is $1,460.

That’s tough for people like Tolksdorf, who loves her quiet neighborhood and the elementary school her two daughters attend. But buying a place doesn’t seem possible for her, either.

“To buy a home here that’s in a safe neighborhood starts at $300,000,” she said. “We don’t want to be house poor, either.”

Apartment builders say they are trying furiously to keep apartment prices lower by building more units, but they are struggling to keep up with the region’s growing population. The region’s population grew by 60,045 people last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“It’s a matter of supply and demand,” said Chip Tatum, CEO of the Apartment Association of Greater Orlando. “We just can’t build quick enough to keep up with demand.”

Affordable, middle-class housing is on the minds of nearly every apartment builder, Tatum said. But costs to build are high, too. The region’s 2.9 percent unemployment rate means construction workers are hard to find and command higher wages when they can be found. Impact fees on new apartments are growing to keep up with needed roads and school construction, he said.

Tatum said apartment management companies are going to set prices where the market dictates. With occupancy rates for apartments in metro Orlando at 94 percent, that means rents will probably continue to rise.

“They blame apartment builders for the traffic and the schools, but it’s the employers that are adding jobs and bringing people here,” said Steve Ogier, president of an apartment developer Contravest Builders. “People don’t move here for houses, they do it for jobs.”

Developers did start work on a record number of homes and apartments in 2018, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Nearly 13,000 apartments and 16,000 homes were started in 2018.

But Ogier said apartment builders still can’t keep up, whether because of rising costs or hurdles building in high-demand communities. Cities such as Winter Springs and Clermont have put a hold on the construction of new apartment complexes after pressure from residents. Others have raised the fees to build, he said.

“Whenever you limit the supply of something, prices are going to go up,” Ogier said. “That’s how capitalism works.”

But apartment living is going to be needed with large populations of retiring baby boomers and working millennials, said Ed Kobel, CEO of Tampa-base DeBartolo Development. His company is working on five new apartment projects in the area.

“We think Orlando is one of the better markets in the U.S. because of a lot of job growth,” Kobel said.

But he said metro Orlando’s lower than average household income also means renters are price sensitive. The sweet spot for builders, he said, are apartments aimed at middle-class renters.

“There are a lot of fabulous apartments in downtown Orlando, but not everyone can afford that,” he said.


Are HOAs Required To Have A Replacement Cost Valuation Conducted At Least Every 36 Months?

Florida Statute 718.111(11)a

Compliance Requirements: 

ALL Residential Condominium Associations Are Required By Florida Law To Have A
Replacement Cost Valuation Conducted At Least Every 36 Months 


“Adequate property insurance, regardless of any requirement in the declaration of condominium for coverage by the association for full insurable value, replacement cost, or similar coverage, must be based on the replacement cost of the property to be insured as determined by an independent insurance appraisal or update of a prior appraisal.
The replacement cost must be determined at least once every 36 months.” 

Failing to comply with Florida Statute can lead to fines by the State or penalties from
your insurance company if you have to file a claim:

“Failure to comply with the Florida Statutes and the Florida Administrative Code (FAC) can lead to action by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR)
including fines of up to $5,000 per violation.”

Whats in a Name: Lease Construction

The lease, that we provide our owners, is the best lease I’ve ever seen in my 16 year career. It has been drafted by our attorney.

What does that mean for you, an owner, considering hiring Solutions Property Management? It protects YOU and is written by our attorneys. It is custom and contains verbiage which has been selected to protect YOUR rights and interests and we only charge a minimal fee for this. For a minimal fee, YOU get the highest protection and peace of mind. We also offer discounted rates for compliance forms and minimal fees for evictions, if you utilize this service.

Bottom line, If you opt-out of this service, you may be responsible for sizeable attorneys fees (possibly thousands of dollars). Please contact Rachel DeCamp for additional information.

Ten million Florida homeowners are watching vacation rental bills

Florida is home to the largest number of residents living in a community association. 

Some 10 million homeowners live in neighborhoods with community associations and are protected by time-honored, deed restrictions adopted by a majority and, in some cases, a super-majority vote of those who pay the bills and will be most impacted by them — homeowners. 

These homeowners voluntarily pay more than $2 billion every year to protect their quality of life, home values and property rights through enforcement and compliance through deed restrictions. 

Now, renting out one’s home or a bedroom on a short-term basis is nothing new. However, our laws have not kept up. In fact, Florida actually went the other way to benefit those who exploit home-sharing as for-profit, commercial businesses under the false pretense of “property rights.” 

And guess where those unregulated, commercial businesses with no offices are headquartered?

Right inside Florida’s neighborhoods. 

Mark Anderson


These unregulated businesses then went even further and convinced our Legislature to remove what little oversight that existed — with some exceptions for cities who had existing rules — leaving our neighborhoods exposed as a last line of defense against unregulated proliferation of these commercial businesses.

Our neighborhoods, in many cases, changed almost overnight. 

A buyer’s market is a good thing, but in neighborhoods, the opposite happened. 

While some associations already had protections in place, many did not. Those which did not amended their covenants to halt further proliferation of these commercial businesses inside their neighborhoods, and those efforts continue to this day. 

In the 2018 legislative session, some of these commercial operators tried to remove any local government or neighborhood oversight. The Florida Legislature thankfully sided with homeowners and rejected this idea.

However, this year, some lawmakers are backing bills to remove the last vestiges of the few remaining local rules in place to protect the public. These bills unequivocally state that constitutional  “property rights” apply to anyone who chooses to rent their home, or multiple homes or hundreds of homes by the night, with no regard for the rules they agreed to comply with. 

They say that because vacation rentals are “residential in nature,” they therefore are permitted to exist in our neighborhoods, again, with no acknowledgment of the rights of millions of our fellow Floridians who contractually agreed to play by the rules.

At best, these bills — House Bill 987 and Senate Bill 824 — create confusion and conflict with adopted or yet-to-be adopted protections for our neighborhoods, forcing our associations to increase costs by hiring pricey lawyers to defend the rights of their homeowners. 

At worst, these bills violate deed restrictions for an entire neighborhood by allowing anyone who owns a home — or hundreds of homes they don’t live in — to disregard the rules, which they, as a homeowner, legally agreed to comply with. 

This is wrong for our homeowners, our economy and our state. 

Ten million Florida homeowners who vote, who pay their taxes and pay even more to protect their way of life are depending on our Legislators to stand up, once again, for them and oppose these bills.

And they will be watching.

Mark Anderson is executive director of the Chief Executive Officers of Management Companies, representing management of more than 14,000 homeowners associations, more than 18,000 managers, and more than 6 million homeowners.


Furnished Vacation Rental: 2-Story Townhome on Sykes Creek 3BR/2½BA

Available nightly, weekly, monthly, or long-term.
Scroll for full feature list.

104 Parrotfish Ln 101, Merritt Island, FL 32953
$2,900.00 Monthly or $1,000.00 A Week.

Come enjoy this incredible vacation home available Nightly, Weekly, Monthly, or long-term! Brevard’s newest and Premier Waterfront Community located at Stunning Cape Crossings. Property sits just off SR528, west of the Barge Canal on Merritt Island. Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral, and beaches, are just minutes away. OIA is 40 minutes away. This Stunning corner unit is located water side and a few steps from the Boat Slips and Pier. This Key West Style Two story Town Home is fully furnished and decorated with nautical flare. All utilities including wifi are included in stay. Resort Community offers pool, sauna, fitness center, and much more. Boat Slips are available for rent through the marina, Rates may vary.

Directions: SR 528 east to exit St Rd 3-Courtenay Blvd to North over Barge Canal. Make U turn to then right into Cape Crossings.

Brochure: CCR_brochureE

Property Features


  • Bedrooms: 3
  • Split Bedroom: Yes
  • Master Bedroom/Bath: Shower, Walk-In Closet


  • Baths – Full: 2
  • Baths – Half: 1

Exterior and Lot Features

  • Lot Description: Corner Unit
  • Patio
  • Porch
  • Dwelling View: Direct, Water View

Interior Features

  • Breakfast Bar
  • Built-In-Features
  • Ceiling Fan(s)
  • Kitchen – Island
  • Open Floor Plan
  • Security/Safety: Smoke Free

Building and Construction

  • Style: 2 Story
  • Style: 2
  • Construction: Combination
  • Roof: Shingle – Wood
  • Total Floors in Bldg: 2
  • Exterior Finish: Siding
  • Floor: Carpet, Tile

Waterfront and Water Access

  • Waterfront Type: Canal Navigation,Sykes Creek

Garage and Parking

  • 1 Car Garage
  • Number of Garage Spaces: 1

Heating and Cooling

  • Heat: Electric
  • Cooling: Electric
  • Water Heater: Electric


  • Electric
  • Sewer
  • Telephone


  • Dishwasher
  • Dryer
  • Range – Electric
  • Refrigerator
  • Washer

Amenities and Community Features

  • Water Amenities: Dock/Slip Community

Pool and Spa

  • Pool-Private or Community: Yes
  • Pool – Private: No
  • Pool – Community: Yes
  • Pool Features: Hot Tub/Spa, Inground

Other Property Info

  • City: Merritt Island
  • State/Province: FL
  • County: Brevard
  • Area: 250 – N Merritt Island
  • Subdivision/Condo Nm: CAPE CROSSINGS
  • Directions: SR 528 east to exit St Rd 3-Courtenay Blvd to North over Barge Canal. Make U turn to then right into Cape Crossings.
  • Tax ID: 24-36-11-00-00505.0-0000.00
  • Condo Unit #: 101
  • Front Door Faces: S
  • Property Subtype: townhouse

Rental Info

  • Rent Includes: Basic Lawn Maint, Cable, Electric, Pest Control, Pool Maintenance, Sewer, Trash P/U, Water
  • Furnishings: Full

Call Rachel DeCamp, 321-403-7155, or email