Minneapolis City Council approves 2 rent control charter amendments

The Minneapolis City Council unanimously approved two rent control charter amendments Friday. 

The measures will now go to the city’s Charter Commission for review, and then could be a ballot initiative for residents to vote on. 

One of the proposed charter amendments would allow the city to impose a rent control ordinance or put a rent control question on the ballot in the future for residents to vote on. The other proposed charter amendment would allow Minneapolis residents to put a rent control question on the ballot by petition. 

Minneapolis would join a short list of major cities with rent control. Ninety percent of the cities that allow it are in New York or New Jersey. New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland and DC are the only major cities that allow rent control. Forty-six states do not have it.

At a public hearing on Wednesday, dozens of renters told stories of rent going up and then being unable to afford it, with some getting evicted. 

Opponents said rent control is a failed policy that does not work, claiming it deters investment, leads to poorly maintained properties and people staying in units needed by others, like a single person in a multi-bedroom unit.

They said the rent increases have been modest in Minneapolis and for those hit the hardest, the real issue is not rent affordability, but rather income.

The Charter Commission will take up the amendments at their meeting next Wednesday.