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Boston Councilor Wants to Bring Back Rent Control

Boston City Councilor Althea Garrison wants rent control back in the city of Boston. 

During the regular city council meeting, Garrison requested a hearing on rent control as a way to combat the housing crisis in the city.

“There is a major housing crisis in the city of Boston,” she said. “Landlords frequently refuse to compassionately assist their tenants to adequately maintain the basic rights of housing.”

Garrison said residents are being evicted at high rates often for little to no reason and landlords need to be held accountable. She also stated that low income families are often forced to rent at extreme high costs.

However, a few of her colleagues voiced their disapproval over the idea of rent control. 

Councilor Frank Baker said rent control often hurts small landlords who rent their housing units out for under market price value and can’t afford to make upkeeps like new paint or windows. 

“They can’t afford to do anything on their house,” he said. “Just because people are landlords it doesn’t make them mean bad people.” 

“This is something that can really hurt us,” he added. 

Councilor Tim McCarthy agreed. 

“Homeowners who have a two-family like myself, or a three-family, have no incentive to put new coats of paint on or redo the floors if there’s a cap on,” he said.

Councilor Lydia Edwards stated that 65 percent of residents in Boston rent and she thinks many people would be supportive of the idea of rent control. She asked the council to have a respectful “adult” conversation on the matter. 

“This is only going to get louder. The market is out of control. Working people can’t afford Boston,” she said. 

“I think we should be clear on what we want as a city. We shouldn’t be throwing rocks at each other,” she added. 

Councilor Kim Janey invited all different voices need to come to the hearing so they can understand each perspective. 

“Right now, we need to look at all the tools and see what can work and what cannot work,” she said.