Housing Equity Now Saint Paul (HENS) Rent Control Effort
There is an effort to implement Rent Control in the City of Saint Paul. In Minnesota, rent control is prohibited (with an exemption), “No statutory or home rule charter city, county, or town may adopt or renew by ordinance or otherwise any law to control rents...” The exemption explains that a city must change their charter by putting it to voters and receiving a simple majority. If the charter is amended, the rent control policy would also have to be approved by voters.
Housing Equity Now Saint Paul (HENS) has started a petition to use this exemption to get Rent Control on the ballot in November, this is their proposal: “No landlord shall demand, charge, or accept from a tenant a rent increase within a 12 month period that is in excess of 3% of the existing monthly rent for any residential rental property.”
HENS’s goal is to obtain 10,000 signatures by June 1st of this year, despite only needing about 5,000 signatures.
HENS says the reason behind their proposal is, “that the present shortage of residential Rental Units and the prevailing Rent levels have a detrimental effect on the health, safety, and welfare of a substantial number of Saint Paul residents, particularly persons in low and moderate income households, and persons on fixed incomes who reside in the City; that residential Tenants constitute over 50% of the residents in Saint Paul; that residential Tenants suffer great and serious hardship when forced to move from their homes; that the community is impacted by housing instability when rent increases outpace incomes; and that the welfare of all persons who live, work, or own Property in the City of Saint Paul depends in part ensuring that Saint Paul residents have access to affordable housing.”
Rent Control is widely believed by economists to be ineffective. “According to the basic theory of supply and demand, rent control causes housing shortages that reduce the number of low-income people who can live in a city. Even worse, rent control will tend to raise demand for housing — and therefore, rents — in other areas.” This Rent Control proposal will guarantee a 3% rise in rents, it will likely result in landlords taking their rental properties off of the market, which will reduce the much-needed supply of housing.
If you would like your voice to be heard regarding this move to implement Rent Control in Saint Paul, please fill out this survey!