Theresa Dolata’s voice broke when she urged Minneapolis city leaders to support amendments that would give council members the authority to regulate rent prices in the city.
“I don’t want to end up homeless again, I don’t want to be pushed out,” said Dolata, a resident of the Windom neighborhood, speaking at a February 23 city council meeting.
Following testimony from Dolata and other local citizens, Minneapolis City Council members unanimously approved a proposed charter that would allow the city to impose rent control (or put the issue to a future ballot).
“The fact that landlords can increase rents with very little notice is impacting people’s lives and their housing stability,” said Council President Lisa Bender.
Rent Control Is Back in a Big Way
Minneapolis is not the only US city (or state) where politicians are seeking to impose rent control in an effort to keep housing prices from rising.
From Downey, California to Ashbury Park, New Jersey and beyond, rent control policies are once again being debated at the local level. According to the Minneapolis City Council, some 180 local governments across the country have passed rent control in some form or another. Meanwhile, in 2019 Oregon passed the first statewide rent control law in the US.
In most cases, rent control policies are a response to an economic reality: rent prices are often high, especially in urban areas, eating up 40-45 percent of the median salary on average in some cities.