Boston City Council will have a serious conversation about the increasing cost of housing in the city with all the options on the table, including rent control, President Andrea Campbell said on Tuesday evening Boston Public Radio.
“We have affordability problem or a crisis from certain perspectives in Boston city,” Campbell said. “I was born and raised in this city and it is much harder now than it was 36 years ago.”
Last week, Althea Garrison, Boston City Consultant, offered a town rule petition that would address the need for rent control in the city. It would limit annual rent increases by 7 per cent, among other things. If passed, the direction would require state approval.
Massachusetts voters banned rent control in 1994, but this year a group of House members intends to introduce legislation to allow cities and towns to protect tenants from eviction in a variety of ways, including the number they pay rent. Current state law allows cities and towns to enforce a six-month control period, after which it is optional for landlords.
With approximately 65 per cent of the city's residents renting, Garrison, along with Boston City, Councilors Lydia Edwards and Kim Janey, said that the council must examine the tools available to them.
On WGBH on Tuesday, Campbell promised to do that – despite pressure from other colleagues who say that rent control would not work.
“Everything should be on the table,” Campbell said. “It's a conversation that we should be there and we will do it.”