May 3, 2023 - News

Rent control faces uphill battle in Minneapolis

Illustration of apartment doorbells with an intercom shaped like a dollar sign.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Minneapolis City Council members on Tuesday peppered city staff about their report that dealt a blow to a potential rent control policy in the city.

  • As some council members strategize their path forward, they'll have to navigate opposition from key players.

Why it matters: Rent control supporters say a policy would make housing more affordable, especially for people of color. Opponents say it would stunt housing growth when there's already a shortage.

Catch up fast: Voters approved a ballot measure in November 2021 to give the council the OK to come up with a rent control proposal. A working group put forward two recommendations β€” one for a strict 3% policy similar to St. Paul's, and a more lenient rent control that would allow for larger rent hikes and provide exemptions for new construction.

  • City staff chose neither, instead writing that such policies would cost the city between 10,000 and 25,000 units of housing over the next decade and $60 million to $95 million annually in property tax and building fee revenue.

The latest: Progressive council members have cast doubts on the city staff report that relies on conversations with developers and landlords, academic research and early results from St. Paul.

  • At least one, Robin Wonsley, has already signaled she will work on an ordinance, which would have to go before voters for approval.

Yes, but: Mayor Jacob Frey is opposed to rent control. He could veto any City Council action.

  • An override of his veto would require nine out of 13 votes, but at least four council members have said they don't support rent control.

What's ahead: In order to get on November's ballot, the council will have to act by Aug. 25, City Clerk Casey Carl told council members.


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