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Rent Control Nationwide Legislative Update

Rent Regulation updates

Rent regulation continues to generate significant attention across the country. While there have been many bills and ballot measures promoted on this issue, the outcomes of these legislative measures continue to vary widely.

In Tennessee, Governor Bill Haslam signed HB1143 into law, and in Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker ratified AB770. Both bills preempt mandatory inclusionary zoning. Unfortunately, legislation in Louisiana to preempt mandatory set-aside requirements for new housing development (SB462) was vetoed by Governor John Bel Edwards; however, the Governor did leave the door open to signing such a bill into law during the 2019 session if no municipality in Louisiana adopts mandatory inclusionary zoning by 2019.

In other states that have been weighing rent control, it appears that attempts to enact price controls on rental housing are failing to garner the support necessary to move forward. Legislation that would have created statewide rent stabilization policies in Hawaii, SB2980 and HB2575, have been defeated for the year.

Meanwhile in the Constitution State, HB5376 failed to progress forward in the Connecticut legislature. This measure that would have limited rent increases for property owners who have received, or are receiving, state financial assistance for the construction rehabilitation or renovation of multifamily dwellings.

Minnesota lawmakers defeated HF4351, HF4346, HF2929 and SF3080, which would have repealed rent control preemption. Unfortunately, legislation that would have strengthened the state’s ban on price controls for rental housing—HF4300, HF4284, HF4099 and HF4289—failed to pass the legislature. An omnibus budget bill that would have strengthened the state prohibition against rent control, HF3656, managed to pass the legislature, but was vetoed by Governor Mark Dayton.

Overall, while many state bills that would either implement or repeal state prohibitions on rent regulation have been trounced, proponents of rent control have managed to make headway on a statewide ballot measure to repeal Costa-Hawkins in California.

On June 15, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced that the so-called “Affordable Housing Act” had qualified for the November statewide ballot. This measure will be listed as Proposition 10 on the ballot.

Developments regarding rent control are not confined to the state legislatures, it has also been capturing attention at the local level.

In the California cities of National City, Pomona and once again, Santa Rosa, tenants’ rights activists are organizing to get rent control on the ballot. Initially, National City responded to the proposal by filing a lawsuit to try and block the proposed initiative; however, the municipality recently announced that it would be dropping it’s lawsuit now that the ballot measure has qualified for the November ballot. Thankfully, the rent control proposals in Inglewood, Long Beach and Pasadena failed to obtain enough signatures to qualify. It also appears that the proposed initiative to curtail and roll back rent control in Mountain View is unlikely to qualify for the ballot—an unfortunate set-back for property owners in the city.

Activity pertaining to rent regulation isn’t limited to the West Coast. A task force commissioned by Pittsburgh has unveiled a list of recommendations that includes mandatory inclusionary zoning.

This issue very much remains in flux at the state and local level. NAA is continuing to track these proposals at they develop. To aid our affiliates and members, we are exploring additional resources to help combat rent control and mandatory inclusionary zoning. As these materials are created and finalized, we will be sure to notify members so they can take advantage of these documents.

If you are aware of a state bill or local proposal addressing rent regulations, please contact Robert Melvin, Manager of Government Affairs.