To study rent control, Minneapolis should look at St. Paul

First, it was St. Paul. The city spent thousands of taxpayers’ money studying rent control, an effort which as of now has yet to bear fruit. Although with the ordinance’s implementation date fast approaching, it is highly unlikely that any outcome from the Rent Stabilization Stakeholder group will have any impact on the ordinance itself.

Now comes Minneapolis, which is also beginning its deliberations on rent control. According to the Star Tribune, the city might spend $150,000 from pandemic relief funds to support the efforts of a rent control advisory group. The advisory group will be tasked with studying rent control and making recommendations to the City Council as it crafts Minneapolis’ rent control policy.

Minneapolis will create a work group of landlords, tenants and others to develop rent control policies that could go before voters.

City Council members approved a proposal Thursday that creates an advisory group to study and make recommendations that will be included in a policy that protects tenants from displacement, holds landlords accountable and bolsters the city’s 2040 plan.

“I am convinced that we need a process to engage key stakeholders in this work,” said Council President Andrea Jenkins, who introduced the proposal.

“We need to proceed with haste, but we must be deliberate,” Jenkins said, promising a transparent, accessible process. “We must act with the best long-term interests of our entire community, not just react to certain parts of our community.”

The 25-member group will be made up of renters, landlords, developers and organizations, including some whose work is focused on tenant advocacy and legal support. It will be tasked with analyzing the impacts of rent control and the costs of implementing the policy. A dozen of the committee members — six renters and six landlords and developers — will be appointed by the mayor and council.


The City Council also recommended adding an outside facilitator to help with the process and may tap $150,000 from city pandemic relief funds to support the effort.

Spending money to study rent control is a waste of money and time. The research evidence is clear; rent control has negative consequences on the housing supply. Moreover, rent control does not seem to help its intended targets. Recent events from St. Paul should provide Minneapolis with more evidence of just how harmful the policy is.

The best thing for the city is to scrap the policy altogether and focus its efforts on removing the excessive fees and regulations that impede the construction of housing.