Housing Advocates Seek to Limit Rent Increases in the Twin Cities

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The Minnesota Housing Partnership reports that one-third of Twin Cities households live in rentals, with 45% of them paying more than they can afford on housing.

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Feven Gerezgiher reports:

In Minneapolis and Saint Paul, housing advocates are seeking to limit rent increases in order to make the Twin Cities a more affordable place to live.

The Minnesota Housing Partnership reports that one-third of Twin Cities households live in rentals, with 45% of them paying more than they can afford on housing.

“We need our rent to grow at a rate that is predictable and stable, so that our families, our communities don't get displaced from the homes and the communities that we helped create,” said Tram Hoang, the campaign manager for Housing Equity Now Saint Paul, a diverse coalition of groups and residents that collected over 9000 signatures to get rent stabilization on the city’s ballot.

The proposed ordinance would limit rent increases in Saint Paul to 3% per year, which Hoang says is more than the average rent increase in the region over the past 20 years. She says a 3% cap would allow for property tax growth and maintenance needs, but there would also be a process for landlords to request exceptions if they need more room for major improvements.

Hoang says rent stabilization is critical in a housing system that has historically disenfranchised certain communities from the stability of homeownership.

“Egregious rent increases, statistically speaking, are more likely to be experienced by low wealth renters and renters of color,” she said.

Cecil Smith with the Minnesota Multi Housing Association opposes the measures in both Saint Paul and Minneapolis, where the proposed ordinance simply gives city council the power to regulate rent in the future.

“Rent control is not the solution that we need for our affordable housing challenge. It hasn't worked anywhere else to provide housing affordability and housing availability. And we need other solutions,” said Smith.

He says increasing housing production and supply are better strategies for creating rental price stability.

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