Maura Healey, Kim Driscoll Express Support For Rent Control

Printed from:

Should Massachusetts reinstate rent control?

The Democratic candidates for governor and lieutenant governor said that they would support it this week.

Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey, the Democratic Party’s nominee for governor, and Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, the party’s lieutenant governor candidate, released a housing policy plan on Wednesday. 

In it, the two candidates listed policies they’re willing to support in hopes of making housing more affordable in the Commonwealth. One of those policies is rent control, which they refer to as “rent stabilization.”

The newly-added policy page on Healey’s web site states:


Maura and Kim will empower communities to enact local policies that best address their own, unique housing challenges, while encouraging regional cooperation and technical assistance. This may include local rent stabilization policies, zoning reforms to allow housing at greater densities, specific housing production supports, and more. Maura and Kim recognize that one size does not fit all and will help municipalities be creative in their solutions to tackle housing, as well as building a larger regional and statewide strategy. They envision a Massachusetts where all residents have access to safe and affordable housing options, regardless of the region in which they live. 


Select municipalities had rent control from 1970 to 1994, but Massachusetts voters made it illegal in a statewide referendum in 1994 (51.3 percent in favor of repealing). Although Massachusetts voted away rent control in 1994, a majority of voters in cities like Cambridge (58.3 percent), Boston (53.2 percent), and Brookline (56.0 percent) voted to keep it as an option, according to the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s web site.

Supporters of rent control say tenants have few protections from landlords who want ever-higher rents from their properties, which they say is particularly troublesome in the current skyrocketing housing market in the Boston area.

Opponents of rent control say it restricts freedom of property and prevents landlords from realizing gains from taking the risk of buying homes and having to maintain their properties and find reliable renters. They also say it leads to housing shortages because with a reduced profit incentive landlords and developers do not provide as much housing as they otherwise would because they don’t make enough money from it.

Attempts to reinstate rent control have fallen flat on Beacon Hill. For the past two straight legislative sessions, state representatives Mike Connolly (D-Cambridge) and Nika Elugardo (D-Jamaica Plain) have filed a rent-control bill titled “An Act Enabling Local Options For Tenant Protections” (H.1378).

However, the bill never came up for a vote last session, and this session, it was effectively killed; the Joint Committee on Housing sent it to study on September 1, 2022.

Committee votes in Massachusetts are not public, so it’s unclear which state legislators voted to kill the bill. 

Former state representative Geoff Diehl (R-Whitman) and former state representative Leah Cole Allen (R-Peabody), the Republican governor and lieutenant governor candidates in Massachusetts this year, disagree with the Healey-Driscoll approach.

 “Wherever it has been tried, whether it’s here in Massachusetts or elsewhere, rent control has failed,” Diehl-Allen campaign manager Amanda Orland told NewBostonPost in an email message. “Rent control is designed to protect lower-income people but in the end, those are the very people who end up getting hurt by it. Geoff Diehl and Leah Allen are fully-committed to finding ways to make housing more affordable in Massachusetts, but they also believe the private market is the best system to accomplish that. Geoff and Leah both oppose bringing rent control back to the Bay State.”

The campaigns for Healey and Driscoll could not be reached for comment on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or Monday.


New to NewBostonPost?  Conservative media is hard to find in Massachusetts.  But you’ve found it.  Now dip your toe in the water for two bucks — $2 for two months.  And join the real revolution.