Nov 3, 2021 - Politics

Rent control measures pass in Minneapolis, St. Paul

A for lease sign in front of an apartment building

An apartment building in Minneapolis advertises units for lease. Photo: Nick Halter/Axios

St. Paul voters approved one of the nation's most stringent caps on rent increases on Tuesday, as Minneapolis took a step closer to adopting a rent control policy of its own.

Why it matters: Proponents in St. Paul say the initiative, which won with nearly 53% of the vote, will protect renters from large increases that displace them from their homes.

  • Opponents said the measure may halt the development of new buildings and exacerbate the housing shortage.

How it works: St. Paul's ordinance would cap rent increases at 3% a year, with no allowances for inflation higher than 3% or for new development.

  • Meanwhile, Minneapolis' ballot measure, which was approved 53% to 46%, gives the City Council the opportunity to draft an ordinance.

Between the lines: What Minneapolis' eventual ordinance could look like depends on how the mayoral and City Council races play out.

  • Full results won't be available until later Wednesday due to additional ranked-choice tabulation needed in some races, but Mayor Jacob Frey, who is leading on first ballot, has said he does not support rent control.

Flashback: A special committee funded by donations from landlords and developers called Sensible Housing Ballot made a late push in both cities, texting residents and flooding mailboxes.

  • Ryan Cos., developer of the Highland Bridge project in St. Paul, said it would pause its future rental housing projects, if the measure passed.

What to watch: St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter had raised concerns about the measure but ultimately said he would vote for it and then make changes later.

  • But the city attorney said officials wouldn't be able to make substantive changes for at least a year.

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