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

Black and white Rideshare Pick-Up Zone sign

The Slow Death of Ride Sharing

From the beginning, TNCs like Lyft and Uber touted shared rides as their key product. Now, Lyft is ending the practice.

June 1, 2023 - Human Transit

Urban sidewalk shaded by large mature trees

Cool Walkability Planning

Shadeways (covered sidewalks) and pedways (enclosed, climate controlled walkways) can provide comfortable walkability in hot climates. The Cool Walkshed Index can help plan these facilities.

June 1, 2023 - Todd Litman

Traffic on the 405 interstate freeway through the Sepulveda Pass at Getty Center Drive in Los Angeles, California

Congestion Pricing Could Be Coming to L.A.

The infamously car-centric city is weighing a proposed congestion pricing pilot program to reduce traffic and encourage public transit use.

May 30, 2023 - Los Angeles Times

Empty Muni underground train platform

Activists Mourn Potential Death of Bay Area Transit With Mock Funeral

In an action meant to draw attention to the financial crisis facing California’s public transit agencies, activists held a mock funeral for BART and Muni, citing the cause of death as ‘neglect.’

1 hour ago - SFGate

Close-up of phone screen with Airbnb app screen

Proposed Short-Term Rental Tax Would Fund Affordable Housing in California

A state bill would impose a tax similar to a hotel tax on short-term rental owners, with the revenue funding affordable housing projects.

2 hours ago - Cap Radio

Elderly woman enters house with help from caregiver who is holding her hands

The Challenges of Aging in Place

Seniors in one Bay Area community want to stay in their communities, but many find the cost of living and maintaining older homes prohibitive.

3 hours ago - Palo Alto Online

Project Manager III

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency

UDO Transportation Planner

City of Charlotte - Charlotte Area Transit

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.