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Boston rent control bill will have to wait until the Fall session

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(The Center Square) – The debate on rent control in Boston will have to wait until the fall.

House Bill 3744, an Act Petition For A Special Law Authorizing The City of Boston To Implement Rent Stabilization and Tenant Eviction Protections, has been tentatively placed on the fall calendar for the Joint Committee on Housing, Rep. Samantha Montano, D-Jamaica Plain, said in an exclusive statement to The Center Square.

The bill has received full support from Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and the Boston City Council. It would allow for the city to implement rent stabilization and protections from tenants being evicted.

Montano said that Boston, much like other cities, suffers from a housing shortage that is affected by population increases.

“It’s not just housing, though; we have not expanded public transit options or created fast and reliable access to the suburbs,” Montano told The Center Square. “Additionally, in the United States, we use housing as a way to build wealth, thus concentrating ownership and incentivizing scarcity to raise profits.”

Montano said the bill would “help regulate and slow” the “exponential rent increases” that Boston residents face.

“This will help folks stay housed longer and ideally be able to save should they like to buy a house,” Montano said. “We also want to provide options for folks who may not want to own a house and prefer renting. Housing is essential. Shelter, water, and food are human essentials. This bill aims to slow the bleed of residents from our cities and allow for better economies and diversity.”

Meanwhile, one public policy group is urging the Legislature to reject the bill.

“Just because 12 Boston politicians want to take control of private property that doesn’t belong to them doesn’t mean we should undo the will of the voters and let them reestablish rent control,” Paul D. Craney, spokesman for Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, said in a statement. “We’ve been down this road before, and we know from that experience that it doesn’t work. Massachusetts is at a crossroads right now regarding our future and our competitiveness in our national economy.”

MassFiscal Alliance said that while the City Council passed the measure for rent control, it was sending another message.

“The Boston City Council’s passage of the rent control bill sent a clear message that the city is no longer open for the business and investment that has fueled its renaissance over the last three decades,” Craney said in a statement. “The Legislature needs to send a firm message that this is not the case for the rest of the commonwealth and that people that want to live, work, invest, or retire here have nothing to fear.”

Even though the city has approved seeking rent control through the legislative process at the city level and is seeking state consent, Massachusetts voters said in 1994 they did not approve of such a law through a ballot referendum.

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