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A New, Renter-Friendly Politics Emerges
According to an article by Jenny Schuetz, politicians in some parts of the United States are beginning to recognize the political clout of renters—as evidenced by the pro-development political platforms of elected officials like California State Senator Scott Weiner and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. Typically renters have been fairly inactive compared to property owners, though Schuetz suggest that skyrocketing housing process are spurring more political action by cost-burened renters.
What does a new, renter-friendly politics look like? Schuetz considers the pros and cons of several approaches, including:
- The end of exclusionary zoning—or at least loosening the single-family residential zoning that cover most cities. Schuetz cites SB 827 in California and Minneapolis 2040 as two ambitious examples of this effort.
- Financial incentives for more abundant housing. Schuetz cites the bill proposed last week by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and the Rent Relief Act proposed by Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) as two examples of this approach.
One final platform plank under consideration here is rent control, which Schuetz describes as a "double-edge light saber." While rent control is a hit with renters and tenants-rights advocates, there's evidence rent control creates incentives for landlords to convert apartments to condominiums and creates disincentives for developers to construct new apartment buildings.