Boston Proposes Rent Control
I want to thank Skip Schloming for bringing this to my attention. Apparently Boston is bringing rent control back. See the video here. I liked PJ’s testimony at hour 4:45 and John Sheldon’s right after her at 4:49. It also struck me what councilor Kendra Lara, a self-identified Socialist, said at 4:04 that her job is to put a roof over the head of her constituents and not to make sure your real estate investment is profitable. What an uneducated thing to say. Of course, Boston should care about profitability. Without profitability there is no Boston.
Yesterday they had this 6 hour hearing and naturally the landlords were made to wait 4 hours for their turn. Also naturally only several landlords appeared. Initially about 100 people were watching live and then 70 and then 40 and then 2 by the time the Realtors and the National Apartment Association representatives spoke. Also, naturally, MassLandlords (the largest landlord association in MA) chose not to show up and represent us. They were also not there during last year’s State House hearing when 20 anti-landlord bills were proposed. Aren’t Massachusetts Landlords paying them so they can be represented on hearings like these?
I wrote this to the Boston Mayor and the City Council:
“Boston proposes a max rent increase of 10% regardless of the CPI increase. What if inflation (CPI) is 18% like it was in the early 80s? So inflation devalues our rent by 18% but we can only raise by 10%? Hmm.
It’s funny to me – it’s always “let’s cap rent prices but not real estate tax increases”. My buildings taxes were raised by 9, 12, 20, 28, 40, 44 and one building was raised 47% as compared to last year! These are actual percentages! (After I wrote this to them I remembered my plumber also raised his rates for this year with 40%!)
Capping prices of things is a bad idea. That’s what socialism in Russia (Soviet Union) and Eastern Europe tried in the last century.
Also if only “substantial” violations of the lease are enforced based on how much coffee a judge may have had that day, then what’s the point of signing leases with clauses which will not be enforced? Contract law is thrown out of the window.
And finally, please understand, the harder you make evictions, the harder you make it to qualify for an apartment because landlords are scared not to get the wrong tenant. Only people with exceptional credit reports and rental history will be able to qualify.
I know your heart is in the right place and you are trying to help residents but capping prices on businesses and making evictions harder is not the right thing to do.
You already know what the right things to do are – subsidizing more housing production or at least making it easier to build, (I forgot to mention more multi-family zoning) and covering unpaid rent to lower the number of evictions with the programs developed during Covid to reduce evictions not to slow them down or make them harder. You need to build an eviction safety net for evicted families (call it eviction insurance) not unlike unemployment insurance even if landlords pay for it – how about 3-6 months in a hotel so they can get back on their feet?”
Most of the people on the City Council are young people. The Mayor of Boston is 38 years old. Most of them were children when 30 years ago MA voted against rent control. If the educational system in America was any good these people would have been taught History (like what happened during rent control and like what happened to socialist Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Cuba, Venezuela, etc…) and Science (basic Economics anyone?) but unfortunately the educational system is not good in History and Science and this is the result.
After Boston approves it then Cambridge and Somerville follow and then the whole State.
They are having another lovely Hearing on the same topic on 3-2-23 at 2pm. Watch and participate (or not) here – https://www.boston.gov/departments/city-council/watch-boston-city-council-tv
Oh, and I have an idea – let’s call the Federal Reserve and Congress. All they have to do is pass a law capping price increases by any business in America to 2%. Inflation solved!!! (: