Disastrous Minneapolis rent control proposal moving forward

Last Friday, the Minneapolis city council voted on two rent control proposals. The first proposal, which essentially gives the city council legal authority to enact policies associated with rent control, was approved and will be voted on by Minneapolis residents come this fall. Currently, the city does not have the legal authority to enact rent control policies under state law.

The second proposal, which is a citizen-led initiative, “would allow city residents to gather signatures on petitions for rent control policies, which could then either be enacted by ordinance by the council or put before voters on their ballots.” As of now, this proposal has been vetoed by Mayor Jacob Frey, but it could still come into play if the city council gets the 9 votes necessary to override the veto.

It is hard to say whether Minneapolis residents will approve the ballot measure to allow the city to enact rent control or not. But rent control initiatives have gained a lot of traction in recent months and this should be concerning.

Rent control is a disastrous policy that has no proven long-term benefits and will likely make the affordable housing crisis in Minneapolis worse if enacted. As American Experiment research has shown,

Rent control is a failed idea; research agrees. For one, it disincentivizes investing in the maintenance of existing housing units. It also discourages the production of new housing rentals. Consequently,  in the long rent control hurts low-income individuals by restricting the housing supply. In short, rent control does more harm than good.

Even mayor Jacob Frey agrees that rent control “disadvantages future renters and does not help make housing affordable beyond those individual units.”

The economic evidence is clear: in the long run, rent control does not make housing affordable, just more scarce. Residents of Minneapolis should keep this in mind come fall.