Rent control widely debated

Oregon recently passed statewide rent control with 7% annual rent increase limits. California also recently passed statewide rent control, but with lower 5% annual rent increase limits. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders recently proposed nationwide rent control with still-lower 3% annual rent increase limits. Finally, Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren bested then all, proposing nationwide rent control that would reduce rents by 10% over the next 10 years — that might mean 1% annual rent DEcreases for 10 years.

None of these proposals deals with major repairs or capital improvements. They may or may not allow rents to be reset to market level if existing tenants move out. All of them would certainly include eviction only for a “just cause,” as all rent control systems do, which requires a hearing and greatly restricts what landlords can evict for.

The Massachusetts Legislature now has several rent control bills, the most-discussed one being HB3924, sponsored by East Cambridge representative Michael Connolly. It would give local-option rent control that any city or town could adopt, with virtually no limits on what a city or town could create. Rents could be frozen, rolled back to lower rents, or limited to inflation rate only.

SPOA will be fighting all these forms and levels of rent control with all its strength. Check out our articles on rent control to get a fuller understanding of how rent control works and how it easily, always, goes wrong.

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