MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Some Minneapolis City Council members are pushing to open the door for rent control in the city.
Rent control, or rent stabilization, puts a cap on how much landlords can increase their tenants’ rent each year.

Three Minneapolis City Council members — President Lisa Bender, Cam Gordon and Jeremiah Ellison — want to bring a rent control ordinance to the city.

Before they can, the city charter first needs to be amended to even allow for the ordinance to be proposed. That would take a citywide vote in November.

According to Ellison, more than half of Minneapolis households rent their homes, and families who spend more than half their income on rent are disproportionately people of color.

Bender says rent control’s a tool to prevent eviction and stop unlimited price gouging by landlords.

Frank Ricci lobbies on behalf of landlords in New York City, the largest of the 182 U.S. cities with rent control. He says the policy helps renters short term, but there are costs as well.

“Make sure it’s fully explained before they pass anything,” Ricci said. “In the long term, what it means is that there’s limited amount of income on a building, so you don’t get the kind of upkeep on buildings you’d normally expect.”

A Minnesota group representing building owners told WCCO the council should be focusing on providing more rental options.

The association said, “It is incredible that certain members of the Minneapolis City Council have chosen further chaos. We vigorously oppose this proposal as rent control policies produce New York City-like effects on housing, housing affordability, and access.”

Next month, the University of Minnesota is expected to complete a policy study that’ll help the council determine details on a possible rent control ordinance, like which buildings it could apply to, for example.

The same three council members are also moving forward on an ordinance to protect renters from evictions, similar to one passed in St. Paul.

David Schuman