BOSTON – A group of advocates are pushing for the return of rent control in Massachusetts, specifically the metropolitan Boston area, due to skyrocketing rents that have forced out lower income households.
The group in favor of rent control is supported by Rep. Mike Connolly. They plan to present a bill that would re-implement rent control following its abolishment back in 1994.
"When we talk about rent control, we don't necessarily mean precisely the rent control we had in the 1980s and 1990s. What we are talking about is lifting the statewide ban and making it possible for our municipal elected officials to bring renters and owners to the table to come up with solutions to stop displacement," Connolly shared.
The bill would give cities and towns the ability to "regulate the rent and eviction of tenants in multi-family housing,” as well as regulate rents for mobile housing communities.
Cities and towns would also be able to regulate rental properties being converted into condos.
Those opposed to the return of rent control feel as though it works against people of color, as white people are the ones who have historically maintained rent controlled units for long periods of time, according to Boston 25 News.
"We tried rent control, and it created a terrible disparate impact on people of color," said Doug Quattrochi, executive director of MassLandlords, a trade association.
Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone is for rent control and building additional housing to meet the increasing demands of housing, according to Masslive.
“The region needs to build 400,000 units over the next couple of decades. That’s going to take time,” Curtatone stated. “In the meantime, we have young people, seniors, veterans, people with disabilities that have been displaced, in many cases through no-fault evictions.”
While opinions are split on rent control, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker feels that the way to address increasing rent prices is to build more housing.
"I think the best way to deal with all issues around pricing is to increase supply. In Massachusetts we're decades behind where we should be with respect to building housing," Gov. Baker shared with reporters on Monday.
Adding, ”We've added 600,000 people to our population in the last 20 years. We've added a fraction of the housing that would be required to support that significant increase in our population."