TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A group of Democratic lawmakers in Florida sent a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis this week asking for him to expand next month’s property insurance special session to also include rental relief.

The request comes about three weeks before the start of the special session, set to begin May 23. The letter was drafted and shared by Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando, and cosigned by 27 of her colleagues. The Orlando lawmaker announced the letter in a tweet. On her official website, Anna for Florida, Eskamani also hosts the letter, lnking to various data and stories from across the state covering the widely-reported increases in housing costs for residents.

The letter contains a list of bills filed during the 2022 regular legislative session that did not pass. There were 11 mentioned by Eskamani and her colleagues in the letter.

● SB 1322 / HB 1131- Court Records of Eviction Proceedings
● SB 1776 / HB 1335 – Infant & Children Housing Security
● SB 1620 / HB 1587 – Residential Tenancies
● SB 648 / HB 511 – COVID-19 Eviction Information
● HB 6005 / SB 582 – Eviction Court Access
● HB 6017 / SB 580 – Rent Stabilization
● HB 6057 – Repeal of Developer Incentive Requirements
● SB 1134 / HB 819 / HB 1485 – Landlord’s Maintenance Responsibility
● HB 933 / SB 1394 – Toxic Mold Protections
● HB 6075 / SB1898 – Tourism Tax Revenue
● SB 1900 / HB 6113 – Restoring Local Freedoms Act

Eskamani asked DeSantis to consider “providing real relief” to Florida renters, and said she and her colleagues were “open to considering any proposals from Legislative leadership or that you may have as governor that could lower costs for those who are struggling to have the freedom to afford a roof over their heads despite their hard work.”

The special session on property insurance issues have largely been a priority of Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-Pinellas. During the regular session, Brandes pushed hard for lawmakers to address what’s been called a property insurance crisis, with rates rising exponentially over the past year. When the bills to address it failed, Brandes used a statutory mechanism to have his fellow lawmakers create a special session, forcing the issue instead of waiting for the governor to call lawmakers back to Tallahassee.

While enough letters to the Florida Secretary of State from state senators and representatives arrived, the effort did not gain enough votes to get the full three-fifths of the Legislature it needed to order a special session. Instead, DeSantis called for one on April 26.

The session will last for five days, from May 23 to May 27.

Eskamani wrote in her letter that Florida Democratic lawmakers are also waiting for DeSantis to address the housing crisis more generally.

“It is time to put an end to the price gouging that is occurring in the rental market and we believe it is within your power as governor to take this important step for the people of our state,” Eskamani wrote. “Every Floridian who works hard and does the right thing for their family should have the comfort and safety of a warm bed at night.”