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More States Look to Expand Tenant Protections

Cities and states around the country are reconsidering decades-old bans on rent control.
March 20, 2019, 11am PDT | Elana Eden
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In light of Oregon becoming the first state to implement statewide rent control and just-cause eviction protections, Governing's J. Brian Charles looks at momentum in New York, Chicago, and Colorado to overturn bans or restrictions on rent regulation policies.

The issue is partly informed by a movement toward local control. In New York, only 51 of nearly 1,000 municipalities in the state are allowed to apply rent control to any form of housing, Charles reports; a package of bills in the state legislature would allow all cities to choose whether to implement rent regulations.

In Chicago, activists say the city's 22-year-old ban on rent control is also an issue of racial and economic justice. Nearly two-thirds of Black residents in the state are renters, according to Governing, compared to 27 percent of white residents.

Colorado's statewide ban on rent control goes back about 30 years. There, proponents of overturning the ban say cities should be able to turn to rent regulation as one option in a policy toolkit aimed at providing both short-term relief and long-term housing affordability.

Even in California, where a move to repeal statewide limitations on rent control recently failed, a package of rent reform bills is continuing the policy push toward statewide tenant protections.

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Published on Monday, March 4, 2019 in Governing
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