Rent control ordinance amendments approved by St. Paul City Council

After approving an ordinance last November to cap rent increases by landlords at 3% going forward, the St. Paul City Council has approved amendments that will offer exceptions to the approved restrictions.

During Wednesday’s meeting the council approved the Rent Stabilization ordinance by a 5-2 vote.

Previously the council had approved several amendments, including a 20-year exemption for new construction (or reclassification from non-residential to residential), and a "partial vacancy decontrol" policy, which allows landlords to "bank" up to 3% rent increases over a period of time, and then reset rent after a vacancy – up to 8%, plus the current consumer price index of inflation.

Prior to voting on the ordinance, stakeholders created a 41-member Rent Stabilization Task Force to examine the potential policy changes, and the city's rent stabilization practices. The group met 15 times throughout the year, and provided recommendations for changes.

Debate prior to the vote has been contentious, with low-income renters expressing concerns about rents rising already in the wake of the November 2021 vote.

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter has said he will sign the reworked rent control ordinance once the city council sends it to him.