Person Placing House Models On Stacked Coins

Miami is truly having its moment in the sun. Sparked by Mayor Francis Suarez’s “How can I help” campaign, our community has rallied around the idea that we’re making Miami into America’s next great technology and innovation destination. Tech investor Anthony Pompliano recently told his 1.4 million Twitter followers that, “Miami will eventually be bigger than San Francisco’s tech scene.”

This game-changing influx of new companies, investment and talent comes with a price, though. In a region that was already one of the least affordable places to live in the country, our housing market is being reshaped before our very eyes, sending the costs of living soaring.

That’s why leaders from our business, civic and government sectors are all prioritizing efforts to find solutions to this mounting challenge. While there is no singular fix to our affordable housing crisis, we should leverage innovation to add as many new tools as we can to the “affordable housing toolbox.”

One of the most important tools we must add is security deposit

insurance to modernize the traditional (and often onerous) cash security

deposit.

Everyone is familiar with the way renting an apartment works. You find a place, apply, get approved, then pay exorbitant upfront sums just to move in. The practice of requiring a security deposit prior to moving in essentially

doubles the upfront cost of renting.

This outdated model is a huge barrier to the growing number of young professionals in our community and to those we aim to attract. It’s a huge barrier for working families and those in our community living paycheck to

paycheck. It’s a huge barrier to the many refugees our community welcomes who are fleeing oppression from places such as Cuba, Venezuela, and

Nicaragua.

It’s time to challenge the way we rent in greater Miami. Instead of being forced to pay typically exorbitant sums upfront, renters should have the option to take out an affordable insurance policy, costing no more than a few dollars a month.

Security deposit insurance, offered by companies like Rhino, fully protects property owners and landlords against excessive damages and unpaid rent in the same way a traditional cash deposit would.

Security deposit insurance is already offered in thousands of Florida apartments because it’s a win-win tool for both renters and landlords.

If more renters ask their landlords for this option... and if more landlords and property owners pro-actively offer this option... the impact could be close to a billion dollars back into the hands of hard-working Floridians. Mayor Suarez made this very case in an opinion piece he wrote for CNN, saying, “We can put security deposits back into the pockets of renters, creating an instant

stimulus that can be used toward mounting bills, building emergency

savings or even paying next month’s rent, while keeping landlords

protected.”

Security deposit insurance allows renters to have more mobility, access to better jobs, and access to better schools for their children, all while having more money to contribute to the economy. Increasing economic freedom with more options and choices for consumers just makes sense.

In Miami, we are leveraging innovation to reshape our economy and unlock opportunity for our residents. Shouldn’t we also leverage innovation to help overcome our shared challenges around housing?

Armando Ibarra is public policy advisor to Miami’s most important sectors: tourism, technology, telecom, trade, real estate, construction, and hospitality.

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