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Ending Rent Control Changed Everything in Massachusetts. What Happens If It Becomes Legal Again?

Two proposed bills would roll back a statewide prohibition on rent control in Massachusetts. The city of Cambridge, how of the anti-rent control movement in the state, is now a poster child for the housing crisis.
April 30, 2019, 11am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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A debate about rent control is gaining steam in Cambridge as well as the rest of the state Massachusetts, according to an article by Tim Logan. The issue hasn't gotten traction since 1994, when "Massachusetts voters narrowly outlawed restrictions on what landlords could charge tenants," explains Logan.

Cambridge's formerly strict rent control laws provided some of the inspiration for the statewide ballot measure in 1994, and the city has transformed radically since Massachusetts voters approved that law. "A study by three economists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2014 found that ending rent control boosted the value of residential real estate in Cambridge by about $2 billion over a decade, even after accounting for broader growth in the city’s economy and housing market," according to Logan.

Now faced with those skyrocketing property values, a growing chorus of voices is calling for rent control to ease the burden of housing costs. Two bills proposed in the State Legislature would undo the 1994 law, though according to Logan the prognosis for those bills is unclear.

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Published on Monday, April 29, 2019 in The Boston Globe
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