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Minneapolis city council considers rent control measures

After hours of testimony from renters and landlords on Wednesday night, the committee voted to move the conversation forward to a Friday vote.
Credit: KARE
Downtown Minneapolis

MINNEAPOLIS — On Wednesday night, Minneapolis city council members listened to hours of testimony from almost 150 renters and landlords on the topic of rent control in the city.

At the meeting most renters spoke in favor of capping the maximum rent in the city, saying they'll no longer be able to afford to live there if prices keep rising.

Landlords who oppose rent control said rent control does exactly opposite of what it's intended to do, and actually reduces the amount of available affordable housing.

According to research done by local nonprofit Minnesota Housing Partnership (MHP) and cited by the Council members in a January proposal, rent was rising in Minneapolis at record levels prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, impacting the 51% of households that rent their homes.

According to the website RENTcafe, the average apartment in Minneapolis is 785 square feet, and costs $1,552. 

According to additional research cited in the proposal done by the University of Minnesota, there was not a single neighborhood in Minneapolis where a Black household with the median income for Black renters could afford the median-priced rental unit in 2016.

“Simply put, our neighbors are losing their homes because they cannot keep up with the rent,” said Council Member Ellison in a statement released in January, when these measures were first introduced. “This is a housing issue. This is a homelessness issue. And it’s time we clear the path to take serious action to protect our neighbors and stabilize our communities.” 

Wednesday night the council committee passed two measures to move the rent control conversation forward. The full city council will vote on the measures Friday. 

If they pass, the measures move to on to the charter commission, and face several more steps before potentially ending up on a ballot for voters to decide. 

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