St. Paul’s rent control ballot measure was approved with 53% of the vote in last week’s election.
This is a disappointing result as the Saint Paul Area Association of REALTORS® (SPAAR) and its coalition partners through the Sensible Housing Ballot Committee worked very hard to educate voters about the pitfalls of such a policy.
When SPAAR’s advocacy team heard in the spring that a petition was being circulated to get a rent control proposal on this year’s ballot, SPAAR immediately came together to discuss how best to address it. It was uncertain whether rent control would make it onto this year’s ballot until Ramsey County’s certification of the petition in June. Once the petition was certified, it was unknown exactly what the language on the ballot would be, which was determined by the City Attorney on August 20.
Between the petitions certification and the finalization of the ballot language, SPAAR engaged in many conversations that included member leadership, the Government Affairs Committee, and staff about how SPAAR should approach this policy proposal.
Members were clear in their desire to engage this issue. Advocacy staff explored a variety of options and presented two to SPAAR’s Government Affairs Committee and member leadership. The first was for SPAAR to run a campaign with a local consulting group. The second was for SPAAR to join a coalition with the Minneapolis Association of REALTORS®, Minnesota Realtors®, National Association of REALTORS®, the Minnesota Multi Housing Association, chambers, unions and other individuals and groups wanting to prevent rent control. SPAAR decided to join this coalition, the Sensible Housing Ballot Committee.
After a hard-fought campaign that included polling, digital advertisements, lawn signs, door knocking, mailers and more, the Sensible Housing Ballot Committee was unable to convince enough St. Paul voters of the unintended consequences of this rent control measure.
Much remains uncertain. What we do know is that there are stakeholders, including the mayor and members of the City Council, eager to amend this policy. SPAAR will engage these stakeholders and remain part of the discussion as the policy moves forward.
We look forward to working with the City of St. Paul on shaping the ordinance to limit impacts on property rights and preserves housing opportunities.