Rent Control In Boston? City Council Debates

althea garrison boston city council

(City of Boston/YouTube screenshot)

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — The Boston City Council discussed the merits and drawbacks of rent control Wednesday after City Councilor Althea Garrison filed a measure to explore bringing some form of the policy to the city.

Garrison, who took former Councilor Ayanna Pressley's seat in January when Pressley left to represent Massachusetts' 7th Congressional District, said too many people in Boston are being evicted without cause because they can't afford to live in the city—and she believes some form of rent regulation may be the solution.

"While the Massachusetts Rent Control Prohibition initially narrowly passed on the ballot in 1994, 25 years later is a long time, and we find ourselves in a much worse housing crisis in our city today," Garrison said.

But Councilor Tim McCarthy doesn't think rent control is a good idea. He believes rent control policies would hurt homeowners like him and his wife, who rent out part of their home.

"Our idea was that Maureen was gonna work, I was gonna work, and the house was gonna work for us," he said. "And I don't think government should tell me how hard my house should work."

He said that homeowners who rent out spaces would have no incentive to make improvements to those spaces if there's an artificial cap on rent.

"I keep my house beautiful obviously," he said. "I have great tenants, and my rent is under what I could be getting—and I think there's more people like me who want good tenants, who want to re-do the paint, and who want to keep a great yard, than there are the opposite."

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WBZ NewsRadio's Carl Stevens (@carlwbz) reports

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