In what’s becoming a national trend, Boston and Massachusetts are among the latest city and state to see new proposals to institute rent control before legislators. But as in many other cases, the bills circulating through City Council and the statehouse face significant obstacles before they can be signed into law, raising doubts about whether they are even worth pursuing.
Boston City Councilor-At-Large Althea Garrison presented the most recent local proposal, which calls for limiting rent increases to no more than 7 percent annually, as well as increasing protections for month-to-month tenants and banning any measure to compensate landlords with public funds for losses related to rent restrictions.
But even if Councilor Garrison’s bill were to receive approval from the full City Council, it still couldn’t be enacted. That’s because Massachusetts is one of several states where most forms of rent control are banned. Therefore, the City Council’s bill would need to earn approval from the state legislature, too, as a home rule petition. Massachusetts does allow cities and towns to enact short-term rent restrictions, but does not allow for the enforcement of those restrictions for more than six months at a time.
Other proposals winding through Beacon Hill could make Garrison’s bill