Senate Republicans attack local control in bill to prohibit rent control

A bill that would strip voters of the right to approve rent controls moved through a second committee this week as Senate Republicans continue their effort to restrict local control. This bill would eliminate statutes allowing voters to petition their local units of government for rent control or rent stabilization.

Several members of the Minneapolis City Council are seeking to utilize this statute to enact rent control or rent stabilization measures, and the issue would go to the voters in the next general election. This bill is seen as a preemptive measure to block Minneapolis voters from deciding this issue.

Landlords supporting this bill argue that rent controls would remove profit incentives from the housing market and lead to a decrease in affordable housing availability. Supporters urge that rent control and stabilization policies will lead to landlords converting rental units to condos and invest less in maintenance of rental properties to maximize profit.

The availably of affordable housing remains a critical issue statewide. For middle- and low-income renters, rent has increased substantially while wage increases have remained stagnant. Opponents of this bill argue that this bill is a preemption proposal that limits local governments and voters from self-governance, and many argue that rent controls and stabilization would ensure affordable rental properties and provide transparency and predictability of housing costs to renters.

The bill is opposed by the League of Minnesota Cities and Association of Metro Cities. (SF 912)