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Boston Mayor Marty Walsh Uncertain on Rent Control – But For Local-Option Bill

January 15, 2020

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is noncommittal on bringing rent control back to the state’s largest city, but he supports a bill that would allow local communities to implement it.

Walsh pointed out during an interview earlier this week that Boston needs more housing, something rent control wouldn’t help provide.

Walsh appeared with Jim Braude, host of Greater Boston on WGBH-TV Channel 2, on Monday, January 13.

Braude, who supports rent control, noted that Walsh has proposed capping rents for tenants 75 years of age and older, but he wondered why Walsh wouldn’t go further than that.

“Why is it O.K. to cap rents for people over 75 years old, and you seem to be against rent control proposals that cap them for people under 75?” Braude asked.

“I’m not necessarily against,” Walsh replied.

“But you’re not for ‘em,” Braude said.

“I’m not necessarily for them, I’m not against them. I think more information has to be looked at,” Walsh said, saying he is interested in a rent control scheme in Los Angeles.

“… So I think it’s something that’s worth looking at. But the issue also is … it’s about supply and demand as well. It’s not just about rent control right now. It’s also about creating more supply. The demand is so high. So, it’s not simply — A lot of people think that the silver, kind of bullet fix is rent control. That’s not the silver bullet fix. Because we have such a demand for people moving into the city of Boston. So it has to be a little bit of both,” Walsh said.

Braude pressed Walsh on proposed legislation in the Massachusetts Legislature that would allow cities and towns to implement rent control, which Massachusetts voters abolished statewide in 1994 through a ballot question.

Walsh said he supports local control.

“I would support that bill tomorrow,” Walsh said Monday, referring to a rent control bill that had a hearing before the Joint Housing Committee of the Massachusetts Legislature on Tuesday, January 14.

(The rent control discussion starts at 4:43 of a video of the interview published online by WGBH.)



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