Caspian Group team members recently attended REJournals 2023 Downtown Summit where a hot topic of discussion was rent control in the Twin Cities. Minneapolis has become one of the most expensive cities in the Midwest, with rental costs rising faster than the rate of inflation, and the affordability crisis is causing significant harm to the most vulnerable residents of the city. It is a frustrating situation that has led to many debates and discussions among policymakers, renters, and landlords. The latest effort to adopt a rent control policy was cut short, which has left the future of rent control in Minneapolis in the hands of the upcoming city council election. This blog post will examine the ongoing debate around rent control in Minneapolis and how the election could affect the city’s housing crisis.
From Ballot Question to Pending Decision
In 2019, a ballot question was passed, which allows the Minneapolis City Council to build rent control policies. But, after two years of discussion and debate, there is still no rent control policy in place. The election on November 7th could change that, as the results will determine if rent control will be put to the voters in 2024. Much heat surrounded the issue at the recent Downtown Summit, mostly referencing the “failed” attempt by sister city St. Paul to establish an equitable policy.
Controversy Surrounds Rent Stabilization Policy
Recently, the council tried to implement a rent stabilization policy, which aimed to ban annual rent increases of more than 3% with exemptions for maintenance improvements. However, the effort was cut short in June 2021 because some Muslim rent control supporters were not present during the vote after it was scheduled on a holiday. All attempts should be made by the city to create opportunities for compromise by ensuring access to all in the voting process. Additionally, many argue there should be no policy put in place, or at least ample time needs to be taken to weigh public input in crafting a new policy.
The Growing Demand for Rent Control in Minneapolis
Despite the opposition to rent control from the mayor and some landlords, more renters are now pushing for it as the housing crisis worsens. C Terrence Anderson, director of community-based research at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA), said that “rent control is on the minds of many Minneapolis residents who struggle to find affordable places to live.” The hope is that a solution can be found that would find a way to communicate the needs of the community in need while protecting both the rights and pocketbooks of both tenants and landlords.
Potential Impact and Controversies
If the election results in nine supporters of rent control on the Council, voters could see rent control in the November 2024 election. It would mean in theory that landlords could no longer increase rents without good reason, and tenants would be protected from eviction. Proponents of rent control believe that it is a necessary step to alleviate the housing crisis, while opponents argue that it could backfire by reducing the supply of affordable housing. Taking a look at the results in St. Paul was the advice of experts, and a call was made for people to take action. It is the voting of the people that will carry the most influence in changing our political environment.
The future of rent control in Minneapolis is uncertain at this point, but the upcoming city council election on November 7th could change that. Voters will decide if rent control is the solution they need to address the housing crisis in Minneapolis. Though there may be differences in opinions, residents agree that something must be done to stop the ongoing crisis. An apt solution to this multifaceted problem is yet to be found, but it is evident that a policy change is necessary, which makes the city council election a critical turning point in Minneapolis’ trajectory. Only time will tell how all of this plays out, but one thing is for certain – the affordability crisis won’t simply disappear without concerted action from all parties involved.
The upcoming election day is important to remember for many reasons, but if you are passionate about rent control on either side of the argument, make sure to vote accordingly!
Each of us is necessary to make the changes to our city that we desire. For more information on where and how to cast your vote (even ahead of time), check out the Minneapolis City of Lakes website at https://vote.minneapolismn.gov/voters/
Every vote counts!