On-Going Battle Over Rent Control Continues

The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) reports that although we’re only weeks into the new year, many states and localities have already taken steps to implement rent control policies as the on-going rent control battle continues.

Jim Lapides, Vice President, Advocacy & Strategic Communications for the NMHC, writes that, “This comes as no surprise to those tuned into these ongoing battles, but it’s no less concerning.

“As highlighted in NMHC’s 2023 Rent Control Outlook resource, we predict 2023 policy activities in this space to potentially surpass what we saw in 2022. Some of the recently introduced bills, like in South Carolina and Virginia, are unlikely to gain much traction, but others may pose a true risk,” he writes.

NMHC Tracking Rent Control Battle

  • Rent control Shutterstock_2239146267 (1) Minnesota: A bill introduced in the State Senate would lift rent control preemption, meaning cities would no longer be required to use ballot initiatives to adopt rent control. (SF 130)
  • New Hampshire: A bill in the State House would allow city or town councils to pass emergency bylaws without voter approval to lengthen the notification time and place caps on rent increases. The state currently maintains rent control preemption. (HB 95)
  • New Mexico: Like SF 130 in Minnesota, this Senate bill would lift statewide rent control preemption. (SB 99)
  • South Carolina: A bill in the State House would restrict rent increases to seven percent plus the change on the Consumer Price Index. The state currently maintains rent control preemption. (HR 3264)
  • Virginia: A measure introduced in the General Assembly provides that any locality may by ordinance adopt rent stabilization provisions. (HB 1532)
  • Washington State: A bill in the Washington State House would cap rent increases to no greater than the rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index or three percent, whichever is greater, up to a maximum of seven percent. (SB 5435 and HB 1389)
  • Montana: On a positive note, the Montana Senate introduced a bill that would enact statewide rent control preemption (SB 105).
  • Massachusetts: Our greatest threat this year may be in Massachusetts. Media reports indicate that Boston Mayor Michelle Wu is preparing to release a rent control proposal that would cap increases at six percent plus the change in the Consumer Price Index. State lawmakers would need to lift rent control preemption for the measure to be enacted.

“At a time of widespread housing affordability, it’s critical lawmakers remain focused on real, actionable solutions. Implementing “quick fix” solutions like rent control only further exacerbate housing shortages, cause existing buildings to deteriorate and disproportionately benefit higher-income households,” Lapides writes.

“NMHC is continuing to work with on-the-ground stakeholders to push back on efforts to implement rent control and to arm its supporters with the materials they need to echo NMHC’s arguments. For those in states with active battles, please contact NMHC so they can assist with your efforts,” he writes.

Source: Rental Housing Journal

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