Friday, April 5, 2019

Boston Lawmakers Are Considering Implementing Rent Control

As rental prices continue to skyrocket in and around Boston, Boston lawmakers have revisited the idea of rent control. In January, Cambridge state representative David Rogers proposed a rent control bill that has since been passed to the Housing Committee. Most recently, the Boston Globe reported that other state lawmakers are intending to propose another law which would include other ways to assist tenants, including rent control. 

State representative Michael Connolly spoke about the issue to the Boston Globe, stating, "The burden of renting in so many of our communities has become so extreme. People are asking what can we do about it.”

Boston currently holds the title for the fourth most expensive city to live in throughout the entire United States. In April, the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment is expected to be about $2,400 per month.

Is rent control the answer to Boston residents struggling with high housing costs? Governor Charlie Baker disagrees. Charlie Baker believes rent control will slow down the production of new housing, which will ultimately have a negative affect on the Boston housing situation. 

What exactly is rent control? Rent control is a legal precaution that stops property owners from being able to raise rents or puts a cap on how much rents can be raised. The goal of rent control is to ensure affordable housing and prevent landlords from profiting off of extreme market pressure. 

Although the goal of rent control is to protect affordable housing, it often has unintended negative consequences on those who manage or own the properties. Some consequences include rents being higher for apartments that are not regulated, owners failing to maintain their buildings properly because the lower rents aren’t enough to help pay for maintenance costs, and renters staying in apartments because of the affordable cost, even though the home may no longer meet their needs. Although in the short term rent control appears to assist in affordability, it poses long-term affects included decreased affordability down the road, encourages gentrification and poor property management, and lowers the value of neighborhoods overall. 

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