ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Orange County officially opened its new Office of Tenant Services Wednesday, the same day that the county’s new Tenant’s Bill of Rights took effect. The new office is responsible for enforcing that bill of rights, as well as a rental notice ordinance that took effect last August.  

What You Need To Know

  • Orange County implemented a Tenant’s Bill of Rights Wednesday

  • A new ordinance requires landlords to provide tenants written notice at least 60 days in advance of any rental increase above 5 percent

  • Residents can seek help from the county’s Office of Tenant Services by emailing or by calling 407-836-RENT

​That rental notice ordinance requires landlords to provide tenants written notice at least 60 days in advance of any rental increase above 5 percent. It applies in all areas of Orange County. 

But the new Tenant’s Bill of Rights, which landlords are now required to provide to their tenants, only covers areas of unincorporated Orange County. That means it doesn’t cover other municipalities in the county, like Apopka or Orlando. 

“The County started this process for just the unincorporated areas due to not being able to enforce ordinances for the cities, such as code enforcement,” an Orange County spokesperson wrote in an email to Spectrum News. “The Office of Tenant Services has no plan to turn anyone away that needs information, the County just won’t be able to enforce other City ordinances beyond our jurisdiction.”

The City of Orlando’s Chapter 57 ordinance includes housing discrimination protections, a city spokesperson told Spectrum News. 

Orange County’s Administrator of Tenant Services Amy Michaels laid out the new office’s objectives Wednesday during a press conference.

“The goal of this office is to bridge the gap between tenants and landlords,” Michaels said. “We want this office of Tenant Services to be a trusted resource within our community.”

It comes when eviction rates are rising. In Orange County, nearly 31 percent more evictions were filed in 2022 compared to 2019, according to our Watchdog team’s analysis of data from the Florida Housing Data Clearinghouse




The new office won’t offer any direct monetary assistance or legal advice, Michaels clarified. Rather, it will help provide county residents with referrals for those kinds of services, as well as outreach, education and case management whenever somebody allegedly violates the new ordinances. 

Orange County renter Mike Bustillos welcomes the county’s renewed focus on renter rights. He said his rent recently went up by 10 percent. But he knows many others who have seen their rent rise by even more, sometimes up to 60 percent. 

Although he was provided with proper notice of his rental increase, Bustillos said he knows it doesn’t always happen that smoothly for other renters.

“It’s important for everyone to be on the same page, so you can have equitable interactions,” Bustillos said. “If you know what your rights are, and they know you know what your rights are – presumably, you’re less likely to be taken advantage of.”

Bustillos says he and his wife both used to be teachers. Although they loved the work, they ultimately left the teaching profession because of financial pressures. 

“The biggest hurdle was financial. Teacher salaries are just not enough to make it in Orlando, to pay Orlando rents, and be able to save up anything for the future,” Bustillos said. “We just couldn’t get ahead, even with both of us teaching, on teacher salaries in Florida.”

Orange County’s new Office of Tenant Services has staff members who speak Spanish, French-Creole and Portuguese. For any residents who speak different languages, the office will identify translation services to accommodate them, Michaels said.

Residents can seek help from the county’s Office of Tenant Services by emailing or by calling 407-836-RENT. Michaels said staff will respond to residents’ inquiries within one business day.