Aggressive Rent Control Measure Approved by St. Paul Voters

One of the nation's most aggressive rent stabilization measures, which caps rent increases at 3 percent regardless of inflation or the age of the building, will become the law in St. Paul.

2 minute read

November 3, 2021, 9:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

St. Paul Minnesota

CC0 / Public Domain / Good Free Photos

In an article for the Pioneer Press, Frederick Melo reports the results of a closely watched ballot measure in St. Paul that proposed one of the most sweeping rent stabilization measures of any U.S. city:

St. Paul voters went to the polls Tuesday to approve a ballot measure that will cap residential rent increases at 3 percent annually, across the board and without exception for small landlords or new housing construction.

The measure also implements rent control even for new buildings—a characteristic that supersedes rent control measures in other cities, like New York and Los Angeles..

As noted by Melo, St. Paul is a majority renter city, and  insecurity about the cost of housing, which predates the pandemic but has only worsened since the beginning fo 2020, contributed to the strong support for the measure.

Planetizen has been closely watching the debate around St. Paul's ballot measure, including when the debate attracting national media attention in the final days of the campaign.

Additional news coverage of the city's rent control vote are available in an article by Greta Kaul for the MinnPost, Will Parker for the Wall Street Journal (paywall), and Max Nesterak for the Minnesota Reformer.

As reported by Melo in an October 29 article, opponents of the measure, namely "real estate developers, building owners and realtors," outspent supporters of the measure by magnitudes. "That’s nearly $4 million in fundraising for the Sensible Housing Ballot Committee, compared to roughly $213,000 in fundraising for the Keep St. Paul Home campaign and $350,000 for the Home to Stay Minneapolis campaign, according to campaign finance reports filed through mid-October," according to Melo.

A Twitter thread by the Market Urbanism account this morning provides specifics of the rent control measure, including where it outpaces other U.S. cities.

Tuesday, November 2, 2021 in Pioneer Press

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