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Boston State Senator Says Her Voters Want Rent Control

January 24, 2023

Should Massachusetts bring back rent control?

State Senator Lydia Edwards (D-East Boston) says that most of her constituents support it.

“I would say a supermajority of people who live in my district are renters, and many are saying the same thing:  the rent’s too high and it’s not sustainable,” she said, according to GBH News. “Many of them are leaving and they want the city, they want the mayor, they want Beacon Hill to do something about it.”

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.


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